Casino culture is a fascinating topic that has been explored in various forms of art, such as painting and literature. You would often find casino news that connect to one form of art or the other showcasing the latest expressions of this culture. But perhaps the most popular medium through which casino culture has been explored is film.
Film has the ability to aptly capture the mood and atmosphere of what goes on at casinos, and that is why filmmakers often choose to draw inspiration from this particular theme. With that said, here are some of the best films ever made that were influenced by casino culture:
Casino (1995) is a crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. The story follows Sam “Ace” Rothstein (De Niro), a Jewish American gambling expert who is sent to Las Vegas to oversee the operations of the Tangiers Casino on behalf of the Chicago Outfit. Along with his friend Nicky Santoro (Pesci), Ace quickly finds himself in over his head as he struggles to keep the casino afloat amidst mob interference, corrupt politicians, and an ever-changing landscape of Vegas nightlife. With its intense violence, strong language, and dark themes, Casino has become one of Scorsese’s most iconic films and remains a classic in the gangster genre.
Rounders is a 1998 American drama film about the underground world of high-stakes poker, directed by John Dahl and starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton. The story follows two friends who need to quickly earn enough cash playing poker to pay off a huge debt. The film was well received by critics, with many praising its realistic portrayal of the game of poker and its exploration of the moral implications of gambling. It also gained a cult following among fans of the game, who appreciated its accurate depiction of the strategies used in professional play.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven (2001) [a remake of the 1960 original], is an American heist comedy film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Ted Griffin. The film stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy García, Julia Roberts, and Bernie Mac. It follows Danny Ocean (Clooney) as he assembles a team of eleven criminals to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. The film was a commercial success, grossing over $450 million worldwide. It received positive reviews from critics for its direction, screenplay, and performances by the cast. The film spawned two sequels: Ocean’s Twelve in 2004 and Ocean’s Thirteen in 2007.
21 is a 2008 American heist drama film directed by Robert Luketic and starring Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, Aaron Yoo, and Kieu Chinh. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as told in Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. In the movie, five MIT students are trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently take Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. The team is led by professor Micky Rosa (Spacey) who teaches them how to count cards and keep track of their winnings. As they become more successful at winning money from casinos around the world, they must also deal with internal conflicts that threaten to tear them apart.