You don’t get to see movies about gambling every day. So, it’s easy to conclude that there’s nothing like an excellent casino movie. If you have such a mindset as well, you must know that, sadly, you’re missing out on a lot. Firstly, contrary to popular belief, several gambling-based movies hit the industry every year. It’s not enough to just note that there are many out there; they are also very rich movies. Films based on casinos are usually spiced with suspense, intrigue, action, and, of course, vital knowledge of casino art. That said, you can begin exploring this genre with the casino movie list below.

Top Gambling Movies to Watch Today

Gambling-themed movies or series can add many touches, so it depends on what you like. You can anticipate a calm, moody one with a vintage backdrop or a heated, action-packed escapade or heist. You just have to pick your poison. Here are the best casino movies for you:

The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler comes with an irresistible twist that remains in the memory of every casino lover. The movie begins with the character study of a recovering gambler who is still deeply in debt to a domineering boss. This phase is both deeply depressing and still humorous, especially with the tough-guy casino boss being played by Alec Baldwin.  As the movie climaxes, we see that the gambler is paying off his debt by serving as the boss’ go-to ‘cooler.’ However, the love of a good woman (Maria Bello’s worn-out cocktail waitress) may just turn his luck. Employing elements of realism and drama, the movie weaves in romance, taming the shrill suspense of gambling vigor.

Casino (1995)

Vegas gambling isn’t as exciting as it may seem, and this film will teach you just that. In this iconic movie by Martin Scorsese, we see a captivating combination of Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci. In Casino, you’d witness the glamour and extravagance of Las Vegas, as well as a nasty, sordid underbelly teeming with the mafia. All these are intelligibly depicted through Ace and the betrayal by his friend and a woman with ulterior motives.  “Casino,” based on a Nicholas Pileggi novel, is an exciting criminal thriller that will captivate you. It is one of the greatest casino films ever made and was nominated for several Golden Globes and Oscars. On Rotten Tomatoes, it received a staggering 93% of the vote from viewers and 79% from reviewers.

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Bugsy (1991)

Not many are freaked out by movies that study a person. However, if it’s the life of an interesting mobster like Bugsy Siegel, then it’s definitely worth it. In the movie, Bugsy visits the desert, believing he has glimpsed the mob’s future. This would eventually be the founding tale of the raging Las Vegas. Even while Siegel undoubtedly takes some significant risks, Bugsy is more about the tumultuous beginnings of Sin City. It remains intriguing, despite the film’s glossy, prestige-picture trappings being a little too restrictive.

Casino Royale (2006)

“Casino Royale” would rank fourth if you were to rank all of the James Bond films from best to worst reviewed. With the debut of Daniel Craig and his superb poker face, this cherished series offered us a sophisticated, reimagined James Bond. He faces off against Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelsen, a cunning figure who provides funding to terrorist groups. With plenty of excitement and action, it’s undoubtedly one of the best casino films available. “Casino Royale” has a 94% review score on Rotten Tomatoes and made $167 million at the box office in the United States. Also, audiences adore it, awarding it a 90%.

Atlantic City (1980)

Legalizing gambling is now a desperate attempt to salvage the finances of failing cities like St. Louis, Detroit, and others. Nevertheless, Atlantic City was the first to do so. This tragic but endearing movie by Louis Malle portrays the hopelessness of the impoverished dreamers who remain hanging about the city’s periphery. It also renders vividly the decay of Atlantic City, which ultimately led to the legalization of gambling there in the first place.  Atlantic City was written by John Guare and starred Burt Lancaster, which automatically makes it a must-watch. A teenage Susan Sarandon also gives a captivating performance as a casino waitress who aspires to be a dealer.

Killing Them Softly (2012)

First off, Brad Pitt is right here, looking all young and full of energy, and as always, his performance is simply outstanding. This enticing story by Higgins is set against the U.S. presidential election and the 2008 financial crisis.  Plus, there is the narrative of a Mafia poker game heist and the hitman hired to “deal with” certain criminals. With these subplots that take on additional significance when set in this era and location, a pro-crime thriller is unleashed.

The Hangover (2009)

Who could have thought a gambling movie would take a mysterious twist? You should check out The Hangover. The movie center’s around four men who come together to celebrate a fun-filled bachelor’s night. However, on awakening the next day, they realize one of them is missing and has no memories of the previous night. Inspired by real events, this movie captivates the audience by picturing all the debauchery men can commit in one swoop. It also stars Bradley Cooper, among others.

Molly’s Game (2017)

Molly’s Game is also based on a true tale, featuring an amazing cast and an engrossing narrative. Molly Bloom, portrayed by Jessica Chastain, is an Olympic skier who hosts a private poker game for celebrities and the rich. One night, the FBI arrests her and becomes entangled in a high-stakes probe of her players. For Molly’s Game, Chastain and filmmaker Aaron Sorkin were nominated for an Oscar, a BAFTA, and two Golden Globes. It also received an 84% viewer rating and an 82% critic grade.

Mississippi Grind (2015)

For this masterpiece, we’d be doing the honors of leaving the suspense fresh. In this contemporary film, Ben Mendelsohn’s character Gerry, a gambling addict, embarks on a road trip. He is accompanied by a new companion who is played by the hilarious Ryan Reynolds. Together, they travel to New Orleans for a ground-breaking casino match. However, with a 91% rating from critics and just a 55% rating from viewers, “Mississippi Grind” is a somewhat polarizing film. It’s best to get a feel of it by seeing it yourself.

The Gambler (2014)

There’s a thrill that comes with a crime thriller when life is genuinely ‘at stake.’ You can picture a gambler who borrows money only to place his life as collateral. The picture gets even clearer and more enticing when Mark Wahlberg portrays it. However, the film suggests that a large portion of his gambling is an extended attempt at suicide. It’s seen as Jim’s attempt to terminate his life, or his life as he knows it, rather than the joy of winning.

Uncut Gems (2019)

The reason why Josh and Benny Safdie’s thriller is so nerve-wracking isn’t discussed enough, despite being a well-deservedly intense thriller. This is because Howard, whom Adam Sandler brilliantly portrays, is a hopeless gambler who won’t give up until he completely ruins himself. Uncut Gems’ genius lies in Howard’s ability to submerge us in his illness. He gives us the fleeting impression that sure enough, he might be able to pull off his crazy moves, as the movie portrays. Playing on senses and emotions, you can’t miss this one.

The Card Counter (2021)

The elegant, dark, tortured drama- The Card Counter- is more lighthearted than Paul Schrader’s usual fare but no less profound. The story revolves around a professional card player, played exquisitely by Isaac Oscar. He goes from casino to casino, trying to have some peaceful control over his life and escape the shame of his past.  In the movie, the gambling sequences occasionally clash with Schrader’s customary tone of anguish and guilt. However, they also provide life and vitality to the movie and Schrader himself.

Conclusion

We’re sure you’ve been taken aback by some of the brilliant actors and intriguing storylines on this list. However, this is only the beginning of the journey; more amazement lies in waiting when you have them on screen. You can pick any that catches your interest and begin watching; you’ll have zero regrets!

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