There is something about the casino environment, or even watching the act of gambling that captivates audiences globally. With this in mind, films about gambling and casinos can rise and fall by their ability to communicate the rush, thrill, and suave sophistication of the casino environment, even if just for a single scene. Here is a list of classic films based on or filmed in real casinos.
The Daniel Craig era Bond thriller sees James out to stop ruthless terrorist financer Le Chiffre over a game of Texas Hold ‘Em with a 10 million dollar buy-in. This adrenaline-charged, high-stakes battle occurs at the ‘Casino Royale’ in Montenegro. However, filming for the scenes set at the Casino Royale occurred at the Grandhotel Pupp in the Czech Republic, home to one of Europe’smost beautifully sophisticated casinos. The Casino offers a fantastic setting for games such as Roulette, Black Jac, Novomatic slots, and Russian Poker. Nobody told James Bond you could play games like these without so much death-defying drama online at Jackpot Village.
Of course, no list of casinos would be complete without the Oceans Eleven classic. In this slick heist comedy, the legendary character Dany Ocean leads a crew through a complex robbery of three of the most famous and well-established casinos in Las Vegas. The first is the Bellagio, a luxurious hotel resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The Bellagio is famed for its beautiful casinos, restaurants, and galleries. Next up in the heist plan is the Mirage, once one of the world’s largest hotels known for its architecture incorporating beautiful plant life and waterfalls. Finally, the biggest hotel in the world, containing over 6,852 rooms, luxury resorts, and casinos, is the MGM Grand Las Vegas. Oceans 11 is a true casino classic; Danny Ocean’s crew are as slick as the casinos they seek to swindle in this fast-paced comedy. A prequel to this classic will start filming soon, starring Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie.
No list would be complete without Martin Scorsese’s 1995 Mafia drama Casino. Based on the story of the Stardust Resort and Casino, the name was changed to Tangiers Resort in the film. The film is one of the best casino films of all time and is amazingly sleek and intense. The casino is a story that follows the difficulties of running and managing a casino and the slow unraveling that occurs when the mafia gets involved. The Stardust Resort no longer exists, but its legacy is infamous due to its mafia affiliations.
Starring Jessica Chastain as the famous Molly Bloom, Molly’s Game tells the true story of a skiing athlete who ended up running high-stakes card games in Los Angeles. The film follows a similar story to Scorsese’s Casino. Molly Bloom runs high-stakes poker games for these high rollers, celebs, businessmen, and sports personalities; before long, the mafia starts to muscle in, and things start to take a nasty turn. Molly’s Game, much like Casino, is a film that deals with the more complex sides of being a real-life high roller around the wrong kinds of people but makes a fantastic adrenaline-filled watch for those who enjoy the art of gambling for what it should be—a bit of fun.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
We go Back to the Stardust Resort and Casino for the last entry on this list. In the 1998 comedy adventure film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the infamous Stardust was used as a substitute for the Circus Circus Casino. Fear and Loathing is based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson. In the film, Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo go on a wild adventure through the Nevada desert to cover a motorcycle race, stopping at the hotel and casino on their odyssey.
That concludes this list of best films based on real-life casinos. There are always films about casinos and gambling being made, but these are some of the ones centered around real places and authentic experiences, both famous and infamous.