One of the more common themes in the ’60s and ’70s, casino and gambling related films have always been some of the most imaginative and thrilling. It makes sense, just as gambling is about beating the odds, the heroes and villains in these films fight odds themselves, so it was inevitable that films which combine these two factors could end up just as popular and gripping. Entertaining story and compelling characters certainly don’t hurt, either.
A remake of the classic 1960 heist film, this modern version includes some major A-List talent into a film which is both fun, and funny. In Ocean’s Eleven, Danny Ocean gathers a team of eleven accomplices in their plan to commit the largest theft in Las Vegas history. The kicker? The plan is rob not one, but three separate casinos at the same time. Great editing and fantastic chemistry between the cast help propel this movie into our top list. This gives us high hopes for the upcoming all-female spinoff – Ocean’s 8.
Loosely based on real events, 21 follows six MIT students who were selected for their intelligence and attention to detail and trained to count cards in order to beat the odds in blackjack. As a couple of interesting side notes – it is an open secret in the industry that this behavior is actually quite common. Rumors even persist that there was an increase in attempts at counting cards after this film was released. We know it seems fun and easy, but maybe try to stick to legal alternatives instead, as there are some websites like Oddschecker that can help track down bonuses instead, for outcomes which are better for everyone. No, we aren’t speaking from experience. No, really.
Released in 1998, this film starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton follows a man brought back into the world of gambling in order to help his friend in paying off increasingly vicious loan sharks. While the film was met with a mixed reception at the time, its placement in a time of growing interest in poker games, especially Texas Hold’em, has helped it become a cult hit.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
This biopic is based on the life of famed real gambler Stu Ungar, his backstory and his struggles with drug addiction, and the breakup of his marriage. Despite having won around $30 million in his career as a gambler, Ungar died with nothing to his name, from what doctors assume was brought on by years of drug abuse. Stu Ungar was one of the biggest names in the gambling business, so if you have an interest in gambling history then you owe it to yourself to check out this film.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Source: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels via Facebook
Guy Ritchie’s classic comes into the fray with this 1998 film. One of his earliest projects, this heist film follows a card player who loses £500,000 in a rigged game of three card brag. In order to cover the debt, the man and his friends decide the best course of action is to rob a gang. Naturally, this does not go as well as planned, as things escalate and all control of the situation go out the window.
With the trademark Ritchie dialogue and style, this film has not only stood the test of time but was so popular that it managed to launch the career of Ritchie into what it is today. As a side note – it also helped popularize Jason Statham as an actor and brought former professional football player Vinnie Jones into the limelight as a film tough-guy.