Something about the high stakes action of gambling, the luxury and decadence of the night-time world of casinos, and the vast amounts of money at stake enthralls us. For most, it seems like some unobtainable wonderland – a place that the timid and sensible amongst us will never quite dare to go.
Maybe it’s this mystery, this indefinable sense of otherness, that makes the adrenaline-inducing action of betting such great fodder for films. Brought to life by the silver screen, stories about gambling and risk-taking tend to be instant box office hits, as these four fantastic flicks prove…
Telling the tale of a young entrepreneur funding his university fees through the poker table, Rounders
is quite possibly the most successful gambling flick of all time. Starring a youthful Matt Damon in its lead role, it offers a sterling cast of acting talent, a fantastic script, and a gripping and original story. Brilliant from start to finish, its greatest moment comes at its close, when a dazzling high stakes game decides the fortunes of our irrepressible protagonist once and for all. Wonderful as it is, we suggest those who want a taste of the action themselves opt for something slightly less high stakes but still enthralling – the Starbust or Crystal Rift online slots would be a good bet (pun most definitely intended).
Rounders is great, but it does have one obvious rival for top spot in any list of ultimate gambling movies: the cinematic tour de force that is Casino. Starring a cast of amazing acting talent that includes Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, it offers breath-taking performances and the most enthralling of storylines. Charting the epic tale of mob-controlled casino gambling in Vegas, it’s gritty, occasionally gruesome, and undeniably great. There are only a handful of films we could watch over and over again, and this is definitely one of them.
Everybody loves a Bond flick, and Casino Royale is one of the best to date. Combining the acting talent of Daniel Craig with the towering performance delivered by Eva Green, this inimitable movie classic follows the world’s most famous spy as he pits himself against yet another boo-hiss villain: poker-playing, torture-loving Le Chiffre. Probably our favourite scene in the movie is the incredible showdown between Craig’s character and his despicable adversary, with the two going head-to-head in an all-or-nothing game in Monte Carlo. We just know you’ll enjoy it.
Last but not least, a slightly less well-known flick: The Cooler. Starring William H. Macy, this exquisitely good offering from Wayne Kramer follows the story of the eponymous ‘cooler’ – a man with famously bad luck who’s employed to stand near those on hot streaks. Exploring one of the oddest and most enduring gambling superstitions around, it considers what would happen if such a reliably unlucky soul suddenly experienced a reversal of fortunes and became the lucky charm of every gambler in Vegas. It’s fun, it’s frivolous, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously – just what you need on a hungover Sunday afternoon.
Which of these four fantastic flicks will you watch first?