Gambling is one of the oldest pastimes in the world, and there’s a reason why people love it. Whether you’re at a poker table, playing BlackJack, or even gaming online, you get a thrill that is just so hard to replicate with any other hobby. For the same reason people love gambling, they love gambling movies. Since the dawn of Hollywood movies, directors have produced thrilling and action-packed movies centered around casinos and gambling, and today we’re looking at some of the biggest and most popular films ever made.
Let’s take a look at some of the all-time best gambling movies ever made!
Directed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1995, Casino is one of the most famous casino movies ever made. It starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, and was based on the book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. The film was received well by critics, and members of the cast were nominated for and won a number of awards. Sharon Stone won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. Martin Scorsese was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director. The movie is also often compared to Goodfellas but has been considered a more “mature” film by critics.
Casino Royale is the film adaptation of the classic James Bond book written by Ian Fleming. It was directed by Martin Campbell and written by three film writers. The film was the first time that actor Daniel Craig starred as James Bond, and it featured legendary actors Eva Green Judi Dench, and Jeffrey Wright. Casino Royale was released in 2006, was made with a budget of $150 million, and took $599 million in the Box Office.
The plot centers around a tournament at the Casino Royale of Montenegro, which MI6 agent Bond enters.
Released in 1961, The Hustler is an American movie directed by Robert Rossen and based on the original novel by Walter Tevis. The plot of the movie focuses on Fast Eddie, a character with a desire to make it in the world of professional hustling and high-stakes wagers. It starred Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie, and sees the main character traveling the country with his friend Charlie, where they make big wagers and risk thousands to make it big.
To this day, the movie still receives rave reviews and high percentages on review aggregator websites.
The Cincinnati Kid
Another movie from the 1960s – 1965 in fact – is The Cincinnati Kid. It’s the story of a young kid from the Depression-era, names Eric Stoner (and known as “The Kid”) who tries to become the best poker player in the country. As the plot develops, he meets Lancey “The Man” Howard, a player much older than him who becomes another protagonist in the movie.
The work features actors Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson, and Karl Malden, with Robinson and supporting actor Joan Blondell receiving nominations for awards. It originally took in $7 million in the box office and has since been cut to have various endings.
Released in 1974, The Gambler is a casino-related movie with a cult following even all these decades later. Starring Lauren Hutton, James Caan, and Paul Sorvino, the movie focuses on protagonist Alex Freed, and author who graduated Harvard and developed a serious gambling addiction. Through the story, you learn about Freed’s personal life, his relationship with his family, and the debt he has accrued over time.
Originally a screenplay by James Toback, the movie was awarded Robert Ebert’s highest review of four stars.
Finally, no collection of the best gambling-related movies of all time is complete without Seabiscuit. Produced in 2003, the movie is based on the book Seabiscuit: An American Legend written by Laura Hillenbrand. The original book was based on the life of a thoroughbred racehorse known as Seabiscuit who became a Depression-era legend. It starred Tobey Maguire, Chris Cooper, Jeff Bridges, Elizabeth Banks and Gary Stevens, and took in $148.3 million at the box office. Randy Newman and John Schwartzman won accolades from the ASCAP Film and Television Awards, and American Society of Cinematographers Awards.