No matter whether you love playing online casino games, or are just a casual player, it's always fun to watch a good gambling movie. But what are the best gambling movies? Find out as we discuss five casino flicks that'll have you wanting to watch again and again.
Based on the real story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and the mob-inflicted Stardust Casino scandal, Casino tells the story of elite handicapper Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert De Niro), and the Vegas-based Tangiers casino that he manages. Ace originally runs the casino as legitimately as one can for a mob-based operation. But things become muddled when the mafia sends Rothstein's childhood friend, Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) - a mob enforcer - to help with the operation. Rothstein's life becomes further complicated when he launches a sports handicapping talk show and falls in love with call girl Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone). Directed masterfully by Martin Scorsese, and featuring brilliant acting performances by De Niro, Pesci and Stone, Casino is arguably the best gambling movie ever.
This isn't exactly a feel-good movie, but it's a gambling flick that's left a lasting impression for its gritty look at gambling addiction. Axel Freed (James Caan) is a New York University professor who becomes obsessed with gambling and other thrill-seeking ventures. Freed eventually goes on a sports betting losing streak and owes his bookie $44,000. Despite getting $44k from his mother to pay back the debt, Freed ends up gambling it all away in Las Vegas and has to sink to even lower depths of depravity to cover the losses, or suffer a beating from his bookie's men. Caan's incredible performance really captures the highs and lows of what Freed feels with each win and loss.
Rounders had such an influence on poker that it helped jump-start the game's boom in the early 2000s. Centering on Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), Rounders offers a look at New York City's once-thriving underground poker scene, where players compete for huge pots in illegal clubs, mansions, and even law-enforcement social gatherings. This film follows McDermott's furious quest to pay off the debt of his friend, Lester "Worm" Murphy's (Edward Norton), to local mobster Teddy "KGB" (John Malkovich). Aside from excellent acting by Damon, Norton and Malkovich, John Turturro also does a spot-on job with Joey Knish, McDermott's mentor in the underground poker scene.
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is a struggling writer who takes a job at a London casino to make ends meet. Despite not wanting to get ingrained into the casino life, Mandred finds himself falling further and further into it by drinking with a fellow croupier who's cheating the casino. Manfred also cheats on his girlfriend with another croupier and also becomes intertwined with a female gambler. Manfred ultimately engages in an inside job with the female gambler that could lose him a job and land him in jail. Croupier presents an interesting look at life behind the other side of the table, and the temptations that come with it.
Although not strictly a casino movie, Casino Royale presents the best take on gambling from any James Bond film. Played by Daniel Craig, Bond must infiltrate a $10 million buy-in poker game at Le Casino Royale in Montenegro in order to stop the evil Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). The poker game takes up a sizable portion of the movie and really makes you feel what it'd be like to have so much money on the line - even if it's only MI6's cash. There's also plenty of action sprinkled in to keep your adrenaline moving as Bond plays one of the most-important poker games in history.