Movies are a favorite pastime for many people. They bring many different genres to the big screen, meaning that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Casinos can often be given the same kind of praise – being able to provide something to cater to all types of gamers. Slots. Roulette. Poker. Blackjack. Whatever your favorite kind of gambling offering is, casinos are usually able to offer it. That’s why it’s always nice to see a merger of the two: casinos and movies. That’s why we have brought together a collection of the best casino movies, uniting two of the most entertaining pastimes into one. So, read on to discover some of these.


We couldn’t possibly leave a movie with this title off this list, which is why we put it here first. Casino was released in 1995, directed by Martin Scorsese. It stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci in the most prominent roles. It’s based on a book with the title of Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, which was written by Nicholas Pileggi. In the movie, De Niro portrays a character known as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, who is a Jewish-American gambling handicapper. He is employed to oversee the operations of the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Pesci, on the other hand, plays Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro, who is sent to Vegas to skim money from the Tangiers Casino. The movie was responsible for earning Sharon Stone a Golden Globe for her performance as Ginger McKenna, the self-absorbed wife of Ace. Even though it was criticized quite a lot for the intensity of the violence in it, the movie went on receive mostly positive reviews upon its release.

Ocean’s Eleven

Heist films are still a huge draw in the cinema world, and this 2001 offering from Steven Soderbergh was no different. Ocean’s Eleven stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and a whole host of other famous faces. It went on to become the fifth-highest-grossing film of that year, raking in $450 million. In it, Clooney’s character, Danny Ocean, violates his prison parole by going on a casino heist with Rusty Ryan, played by Pitt. Pitching their heist plan to a wealthy friend, they intend to simultaneously rob the Bellagio, Mirage, and MGM Grand casinos in Las Vegas. For this, they bring in several other experts in the field, and the movie grows in intensity and thrills from there on out.

Hard Eight

Being released in 1996, Hard Eight is a neo-noir crime thriller film starring Philip Baker Hall, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson. Baker Hall portrays a gambler in his 60s by the name of Sydney, who comes across a man known as John, portrayed by John C. Reilly. He is trying to find $6,000 to be able to pay for his mother’s funeral. Sydney proposes to drive John to Las Vegas, where he can teach him how to successfully gamble in the casinos there. Although John is skeptical to begin with, he goes along with it, and the movie picks up in pace from there on out. It wasn’t specifically a box office smash, but Hard Eight still provides a compelling story and set of characters who are expertly acted by the cast.

Casino Royale

If you’ve seen James Bond movies before, then you’ll know that the secret agent frequently finds himself in casinos. The plot of this 2006 movie, which sees Bond starting out his career as Agent 007, sees Daniel Craig on an assignment to bankrupt the terrorist financier Le Chiffre by playing a game of high-stakes poker. Casino Royale was the first Bond film to feature Craig in the popular role and also features appearances by Eva Green as Vesper Lynd, Mads Mikkelsen as the villainous Le Chiffre, Judi Dench in her role as M, and Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. In the movie, the high-stakes poker game is played at the titular casino in Montenegro, where multiple rounds of Texas Hold’em poker take place.


Released in 2008, 21 is a movie directed by Robert Luketic and starring a great cast which includes Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, and Kate Bosworth. The plotline of it is actually inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. The story is about a math major known as Ben Campbell, who is portrayed by Jim Sturgess. He is accepted into medical school but doesn’t have the funds to pay the $300,000 fee for his studies. After walking away, he meets with Spacey’s character – Micky Rosa. Campbell completes a set of non-linear equation classes, leading Rosa to invite him onto his blackjack team. After a bit of resistance, he finally joins the team and learns the system of card counting with his team. It is through this method that he intends to win at blackjack and earn enough money to put himself through medical school.

The Gambler

In 1974, The Gambler was released in cinemas, directed by Karel Reisz. James Caan plays the lead role as Axel Freed – a role for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. Caan’s character is an English professor at Harvard University, but he has a gambling addiction. This begins to get out of control, leaving him with huge debts to pay to his bookie, Hips (played by Paul Sorvino). After obtaining $44,000 from his mother, Axel goes to Las Vegas with his girlfriend, Billie, portrayed by Lauren Hutton. There, he gambles the $44k in casinos and turns it into a small fortune but loses it all by turning to basketball betting. This movie takes a delve into the potential negative side of casinos and gambling, with stunning acting from all involved.


Clive Owen takes center stage in this 1999 British neo-noir movie. In fact, it was the movie that helped to launch Owen’s career in North America, despite the fact that it was disqualified from the Academy Awards following being shown on Dutch television. Owen portrays the character of Jack Manfred, who is an aspiring writer with little exposure. To earn some money, he opts to take a job in a casino as a croupier. Jack becomes enamored with the casino world, with his position as a croupier beginning to dominate his life. Through the movie, he gets involved with other croupiers, including Bella, who is portrayed by Kate Hardie, and goes drinking with cheating croupier Matt (Paul Reynolds). Things quickly turn criminal in the movie, with a casino robbery set to take place that puts Manfred in the driver’s seat.

The Lady Gambles

We’re going to be taking a look back to 1949 for this film noir drama, directed by Michael Gordon and starring Barbara Stanwyck. It tells the story of a woman called Joan, who is badly beaten after utilizing loaded dice in a back-alley game. This brings David Boothe (Robert Preston), her husband, to look back on how she arrived at such a juncture in her life. This sees him look back to their time together when he was on a reporting assignment at the Hoover Dam. He and his wife stay in a hotel in Las Vegas, which is where a casino owner known as Horace Corrigan (portrayed by Stephen McNally) introduces Joan to gambling with a few chips on the house. It is at this point that Joan loses $600 of David’s money and pawns a camera. The movie goes through the ups and downs of winning and losing in casinos, and some still call this one a hidden masterpiece to be seen.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story

This 2003 movie is actually a biopic that focuses on the life of the professional poker and gin player Stu Ungar. Michael Imperioli portrays the titular character, and the movie incorporates appearances from some of the world’s most high-class professional sports and poker players, such as Andy Glazer and Al Bernstein. The movie plot is told in flashback scenes, featuring Ungar in a motel room on the last night of his life. There, he is telling his personal story to a stranger, including him growing up as the son of a bookmaker and his career playing gin in multiple tournaments before moving into poker playing. The film comes to a climax with his participation and third victory in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.

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