Gambling is a popular theme in movies, and plenty of great films explore the world of casinos, poker, and betting. In this list, we’ll take a look at ten of the best movies about gambling. From classics like The Sting to more recent hits like 21, these movies will surely get your heart racing.
The Holy Grail of Gambling Movies: The Sting
There are plenty of great gambling movies, but The Sting is often cited as the best of the bunch. The 1973 epic depicts the story of a group of con artists who plan and execute a massive con on a mob boss. The film is chockablock with clever twists and turns, and the gambling scenes are expertly executed. The Sting is a must-watch if you’re looking for a gambling movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
It’s a precursor and inspiration for films like Oceans Eleven because of the intelligent misdirecting the audience and villains receive.
Casino is a thrilling 1995 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. The film is based on the true-life book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi. The author also co-wrote the script for the film with Scorsese.
The film tells the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), a leading Jewish American
gambling handicapper summoned by the Italian Mob to oversee the operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Pesci plays Nicky Santoro, Ace’s friend and a top enforcer for the Mob. Sharon Stone plays Ginger McKenna, Ace’s wife and a former prostitute.
The biopic shows the rise and fall of Ace Rothstein and Nicky Santoro, their relationship with Ginger McKenna, and the Mafia’s involvement in casino gambling. The film is set in Las Vegas from 1973 to 1980.
Casino was a box office success, grossing $116 million worldwide. Principally, it was showered with positive reviews from critics, with praise for its direction, screenplay, acting, cinematography, and soundtrack. However, many felt that violence was glorified in the film.
Owning Mahowny is a 2003 film that tells the true story of bank manager Dan Mahowny. Mahowny became addicted to gambling and ended up stealing $10 million from his bank to fuel his addiction. The film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in the lead role.
The film is a well-written and acted drama exploring gambling addiction’s dark side. Hoffman gives an outstanding performance as Mahowny, and the film shows how gambling can ruin a person’s life. Owning Mahowny is a must-watch for any fan of gambling movies.
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid is a Norman Jewison-directed 1965 American drama film starring Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G. Robinson, and Rip Torn. The film is about a young poker player who tries to dethrone a veteran player in a high-stakes match in New Orleans.
The movie is full of tension and features some great poker scenes. It’s a battle between the charisma of Steve Mcqueen and the towering screen presence of Edward G Robinson. If you’re a fan of gambling movies, The Cincinnati Kid is definitely worth checking out.
The Cincinnati Kid was well-received by critics upon its release. It was praised for its performances, direction, and writing. Plenty of critics considered it one of the best films about gambling. It was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Actor (Steve McQueen) and Best Supporting Actor (Edward G. Robinson).
This 1996 film is about a young man named John who takes a job with a professional gambler named Sydney. Sydney takes John under his wing and teaches him the ropes of the gambling world. However, things worsen when John’s luck starts to run out, and he owes money to a dangerous bookie.
The movie stars John C Reilly as John, Philip Baker Hall as Sydney and Gwyneth Paltrow as John’s girlfriend, Clementine. Hard Eight is a well-written and suspenseful film that explores the dark side of gambling. It’s worth watching if you’re a fan of gambling movies.
The Cooler is a 2003 movie about a man who works at a casino and has the power to make people lose money. The movie stars William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin.
The film was hailed as brilliant by critics and was nominated for several awards, including a Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar (Macy).
The Cooler is an excellent movie about gambling because it shows how one person can be perceived to impact the game’s outcome significantly. But unfortunately, it also shows how casinos can be very ruthless places, where people can lose a lot of money quickly.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is a 2003 American biographical drama film directed by A.W. Vidmer. The film follows the life of professional poker player Stu Ungar, who is considered to be a legendary player.
The film covers Ungar’s early years as a gambler and his eventual rise to the top of the poker world. It also covers his personal life and struggles with addiction.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is a fascinating look at the life of a gambling legend. It is well-acted and directed, giving insight into the mind of a man considered one of the best at his pastime.
Bugsy is a 1991 American biographical drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Warren Beatty as Bugsy Siegel. The film chronicles the life of Siegel, a notorious gangster who was instrumental in the development of Las Vegas.
The film received both hot and cold reviews from critics but was a box office success, grossing $45 million against its $40 million budget.
Eighth Place: Bugsy is a 1991 American biographical drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Warren Beatty as Bugsy Siegel. The film chronicles the life of Siegel, a notorious gangster who was instrumental in the development of Las Vegas.
With mixed reviews from critics, the film hardly set the cinema alight, grossing a mere $45 million against its $40 million budget.
Rounders is a 1998 American drama film revolving around the underground world of high-stakes poker, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. The story follows a young player who gets caught up in the world of gambling after he loses his entire life savings in a game. He then joins forces with an experienced player to try and win back what he lost.
Rounders was well-received by critics and was a box office success. It has since become a cult classic among poker fans.
The Hustler is also a classic gambling movie that was released in 1961. The film follows a young pool hustler who takes on the best player in the world. Like The Cincinnati Kid, The Hustler is full of tension and features some great gambling scenes. If you’re looking for a classic gambling movie, The Hustler is an excellent pick.
With Paul Newman in his prime, it’s slick and smart fun. FYI: Newman later reprises the role of Eddie Felson in The Color Of Money, in which he teaches a young Tom Cruise the tricks of the trade. While it’s a pale imitation of the original, this 1986 sequel is also worth watching.
Lucky You is an American drama film helmed by Curtis Hanson in 2007. It stars Drew Barrymore and Eric Bana. The film is about a professional poker player who falls in love with a singer.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. However, many people enjoyed the film’s depiction of the gambling world. Lucky You was a box office success, grossing over $84 million worldwide.
So, grab the popcorn and start watching your favourite gambling movie tonight!