7 best gambling films in cinema history

emily Casinopedia

Casino, as a theme, has maintained a prominent presence in film over time. This has given viewers the thrilling experience of gambling, and some insight (with a little extra for dramatic effect) into the exhilarating lifestyle of a gambler.

As an individual who takes utmost pleasure in both gambling and film, there is no better way to celebrate this pair than to watch these 7 classics. Enjoy!

21 (2008)

Based on a true story, 21 is about a young math-whiz with the simple dream of going to university. His dream is unfortunately hindered by his financial state, and as a result, he turns to gambling to achieve it. The youngster then finds himself engulfed by the casino world, chasing the soul-stirring sensation of winning. 21 tackles money, greed, and the game; however, it also depicts the weaknesses in human nature, and how easy it can be to lose control.

The Gambler (1974)

Axel Freed is a Harvard-educated university professor struggling with an extreme casino addiction. As The Gambler progresses, a complete loss of control becomes evident, and Freed seemingly enters a downward spiral that is continually perpetuated by the need to satisfy his habit. The professor, played by the captivating James Caan, represents the darker side of gambling in relation to addiction, while also portraying the spellbinding beauty of casino. A tragic story, yet a compelling watch.

Rounders (1998)

With a star-studded cast featuring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovic, this film is about an entrepreneur who, in a bid to pay off university fees, gets caught up in the gambling scene. Rounders achieves a magnificent portrayal that few casino films can conquer, between the complex depiction of poker strategy and unparalleled table dialogue, the observer is kept completely engaged. The marvellous performance of the actors makes for an incredible film; Norton’s performance being particularly remarkable with a sense of authenticity.

Casino Royale (2006)

This film certainly needs no introduction. As an iconic take on Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories, Daniel Craig hurls viewers on a journey to hunt down the villainous casino mogul, Le Chiffre. Director Martin Campbell’s Casino Royale offers outstanding poker scenes, a continual sense of apprehension, and a variety of unforgettable scenes and conflicts. A modern classic and an indelible tale.

The Sting (1973)

The story of a mentor and his apprentice in the art of conmanship: Paul Newman and Robert Redford form an exceptional duo in The Sting. Together, they target a high-end criminal who revels in the gambling world. The plot contains several twists and turns of an unpredictable nature, keeping viewers on their toes throughout. This thriller engenders sensational performances, a complex plot, and a guaranteed sense of exhilaration.

Casino (1995)

Possibly the most renown and loved of all gambling movies would be Casino. The film is carried by a phenomenal cast, including Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. De Niro plays a casino owner with direct ties to the mafia, and Pesci as an unhinged enforcer, whose turbulent behaviour begins to endanger their lives. The director, Martin Scorsese, does an astounding job of paying particular attention to detail and pacing character development, making this film one of the greats.