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What are the five best gambling movies of all time?

Whether it is glitz and glamour at a casino in Las Vegas or spit and sawdust in a wild west saloon, there is something decidedly Hollywood about gambling. The potential to win big against the odds – or to lose everything on the turn of a card – is something that is always going to capture the imagination and make for classic film entertainment. There are plenty of films that have gambling as a central theme, but which are the best? Here are five that could definitely be considered for the accolade.


Gambling doesn’t have to be about cards or roulette. Seabiscuit tells the real-life story of a horse, a trainer and a jockey who came together in the most improbable of circumstances. It’s one of the best rags-to-riches tales of the underdog coming through victorious that you will ever see, and even if you know nothing about horse racing, you’ll be glued to the screen from beginning to end.


The Sting

Paul Newman and Robert Redford, the stars of so many great films, came together again for the caper movie to beat all caper movies. Gambling is the central theme, from the card game on the train at the beginning when Newman’s character, Henry Gondorff, sets up his “long game,” to the bookmaker’s office at the end where we finally receive our payoff. The plot contains more twists and turns than a garden hose, and the ragtime soundtrack by Scott Joplin, which includes the movie theme, The Entertainer, is just perfect.


Casino Royale

James Bond and casinos – it is a relationship that goes back to the earliest days, and there are plenty of movies we could choose from. These days, we all enjoy a game, whether it is at LeoVegas slots online, or perhaps at the bricks and mortar casino in our home city, and as we spin the reels, who can resist occasionally imagining themselves being at Monte Carlo, wearing that signature dinner jacket, vodka martini in hand? Casino Royale was the book that launched the Bond phenomenon, and many see the 2006 movie adaptation as the ultimate Bond flick.



From the world of fantasy to another film based on true events. 21 stars Kevin Spacey and tells the story of the MIT blackjack team that took on the house in Vegas and won. The true story is compelling enough, and the additional intrigue, hedonism and treachery is not just Hollywood embellishment – according to those who were there at the time, it really happened.



For the ultimate gambling movie, though, many look to this 1995 classic. Directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci and featuring a plot about organised crime and New York’s lurid but seductive underbelly, it just sounds like a match made in heaven. The film scooped multiple awards, and Sharon Stone picked up a Golden Globe for Best Performance. All are richly deserved, as each of the 178 minutes is absolutely mesmerising.

What are your favourite films that involve gambling?

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