Have you ever watched gambling movies and thought: “I could totally do that!?” Maybe you saw “Rounders” and decided to quit your day job to become a professional poker player. Well, before you go selling all your belongings to fund your gambling dreams, let’s discuss the impact of the best casino movies on gambling culture.
And let’s be clear about it – the impact of the best gambling movies on pop culture really exists. You can see it everywhere, from popular quotes to TV commercials. Read on to learn how and why that’s even possible.
History of Casino Movies
Good gambling movies have been around for almost as long as Hollywood itself. Some of the early gambling films were about gangsters and their illegal gambling operations. These films often portrayed the casinos as smoky dens of iniquity, where dangerous criminals gathered to engage in illegal activities.
As the years went on, the depiction of casinos in movies began to evolve. Top gambling movies became more glamorous and sophisticated. They featured beautiful people in expensive suits and evening gowns sipping martinis as they played high-stakes games of blackjack and roulette.
In the 1960s and 1970s, good casino movies took on a more serious tone. For instance, “The Cincinnati Kid” and “California Split” explored the psychology of gambling and the thrill of the chase.
Movies about casinos exploded in the 1980s and 1990s, especially when “Rain Man” and “Casino” became box office hits. Today, you can see new casino films each year. They discuss modern online casinos and AmericanGambling offers that take gambling to a higher level than ever before.
TOP 5 Best Gambling Movies
Ok, you get it already – casinos are fruitful art themes, but what are the best gambling movies of all time? Movie critics can’t seem to make a single casino movies list, so we’ll recommend five films that make an impression on most people.
1. Rounders (1998)
“Rounders” is the best gambling movie for us because it’s so incredibly realistic. It’s a classic film that tells the story of two friends who need to come up with a large sum of money to pay off a debt. “Rounders” accurately portrays the different mindsets in pro-level games.
Favorite quote: “Listen, here’s the deal. If you can’t see the sucker in your first half-hour at the table, then you are the sucker.” Mike McDermott (played by Matt Damon)
2. Casino (1995)
Martin Scorsese directed one of the top casino movies. This one’s about the casino owner and his rise to power in Las Vegas. The movie doesn’t shy away from the darker side of gambling, including the corruption and violence that can be found in the world of casinos.
Favorite quote: “In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and to keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose, and in the end, we get it all.” Sam Rothstein (played by Robert De Niro)
3. The Hustler (1961)
“The Hustler” is about a pool player who wants to become the best in the game. As one of the finest movies about gambling, “The Hustler” will keep you on the edge of your seat – even if you’re not a fan of pool.
Favorite quote: “Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” Eddie Felson (played by Paul Newman)
4. The Sting (1973)
Are you up for a movie about con artists who plan to pull off a massive heist? “The Sting” is set in the 1930s and features some of the most iconic gambling scenes in movie history. We don’t want to spoil it for you, so make sure to watch it.
Favorite quote: “You’re nothing but a two-bit grifter working out of a cheap hotel room.” Doyle Lonnegan (played by Robert Shaw)
5. 21 (2008)
“21” takes a scientific approach to gambling. A group of MIT students uses their mathematical skills to count cards in blackjack. “21” is special because of its focus on math and counting card strategies.
Favorite quote: “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” Ben Campbell (played by Jim Sturgess)
How Casino Movies Shaped the Gambling Industry
These movies have done more than just entertain us with fast-paced action. They have glorified the high-stakes world of gambling and made it seem like the coolest thing since sliced bread. Think about it, who wouldn’t want to be like Danny Ocean from Ocean’s Eleven or Ace Rothstein from Casino?
That’s why more people have been drawn to gambling, hoping to replicate the success of their favorite movie characters. And let’s not forget the impact these movies have had on fashion trends. After all, who hasn’t wanted to wear a sharp suit like James Bond while playing baccarat in Casino Royale?
Modern Influence of Gambling Films
Gambling films have an impact on popular culture beyond the casino world itself. The themes and motifs of these movies have been referenced in countless other films, television shows, and even music. For example, the 2019 film “Joker” drew heavily on the imagery and themes of classic gambling movies like “The Gambler” and “Casino.” We expect to keep seeing it even more in the next few years.
If you like films, you just have to watch the ones we mentioned above. But before you start dreaming of hitting the jackpot like your favorite casino movie characters, remember that these films are meant to entertain and not necessarily provide a blueprint for success. As they say, “the house always wins,” and unless you have a photographic memory like the MIT students in “21,” the odds are not in your favor.