Top Five Casino Movies of All Time Ranked

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  • 15 Sep, 2023  |
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1 Top Five Casino Movies of All Time Ranked

The glamour and thrills of the casino have often been an inspiration to filmmakers, and over the decades, there have been dozens of movies created around the theme of the casino, including sophisticated spy thrillers, heist movies, comedies, and gambling-focused stories.

That fascination with casinos has survived to the internet age, and online casino fans are able to play many casino classics at their convenience. In fact, if you check the various sites which compare casinos you’ll see hundreds of online sites offering the online casino experience.

Still, for those who prefer the world of the physical casino, there’s a certain atmosphere that the online version can’t usually convey, and which has inspired some of the best movies in the history of cinema. Here are the movies that we feel rate as the top five in casino-related filmmaking.

5. The Card Counter (2021)

The newest movie on the list, but one of the best pure casino movies ever made. Oscar Isaac turns in a mesmerising performance as a professional card player, who moves from casino-to-casino gambling, while hiding from his past. The lengths that Isaac’s character goes to in search of control over his life and redemption for his past, along with the rising tension of the gambling scenes, make for a compelling story that is hard to forget.

4. Croupier (1998)

There are plenty of movies that focus on the perceived glamor of the casino, but fewer take an in depth look at the human side of casinos. Croupier stands out from the other movies on this list, as being set in London, and that means some of the jargon used by the characters will be less familiar to US audiences, although that ultimately may be to the movie’s advantage.

Essentially, this is a study in character, inspired by the neo-noir genre of filmmaking and focuses on Clive Owen’s character Jack Manfred, who takes a job as a croupier at a gambling establishment. Intelligent, and slick, Croupier was controversially excluded from the Academy Awards but remains one of the best casino movies of all time.

3. Casino Royale (2006)

No, not the 1954 US live TV version, notable mainly for the performance of Peter Lorre, or the 1967 movie, which featured a stellar cast wrestling with a bizarre script. The ultimate Casino Royale take, at least so far, is the 2006 version, which represented the debut of Daniel Craig as Bond.

It was an appropriate way for Craig to kick off his time in the iconic role, and to mark a new direction for the franchise, offering a Bond who is far more vulnerable than he his typically portrayed. The movie also swaps the high stakes baccarat game of the original book for the more 2000s-appropriate Texas Hold ‘Em, but the casino scenes remain the tensest part of this well received renewal of the franchise that is arguably the best of the five Craig movies.

2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

The sequels produced diminishing returns but the 2001 reboot of a 1960 classic (itself heavily influence by a French movie released in 1956) is fresh enough to be engaging 20 years on.

This Steven Soderbergh production is certainly one of the most famous casino movies ever made, and one of the most successful, netting an astonishing $450 million from an $85 million budget. Drawing on the influences of earlier heist movies, as well as the slick charm of the late 1990s Guy Ritchie movies, it ticks all the boxes, utilizing an impressive cast list including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia.

The tale of this heist involving three casinos is played mostly for stylish laughs and while lacking the psychological impact of the previous three movies, delivers in sheer entertainment.

1. Casino (1995)

Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas may all be rated more highly, but 1995’s Casino deserves a place in the top five Martin Scorsese movies, and we feel is the greatest casino-related movie of all time.

In one sense it is a sprawling and entertaining mob movie, with the Las Vegas location lending it a little of the feel of a Western, but it also serves as a tale of hubris and nemesis as the lucrative casino operation set up by Sam Rothstein, played by Robert de Niro, is eventually undermined by the hot-headed Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci). Pesci and Sharon Stone in particular deliver immense career-best performances and Stone received five award nominations for her role in this all-time classic.

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