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The Best Movies with Casino Themes

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The casino is seen as one of the most classy places you can go to. With people dressed in their finest clothes, high class alcohol and food everywhere, classy casino games being played and some of the most famous people in the world performing shows. It’s truly where the upper echelons of society are seen to be. So it’s no surprise that so many great movies choose to have casinos as one of their main locations. Some even base the entire theme of the movie around the casino. We’ve put together a list of the greatest movies based around casinos. Not only are these great movies, but they’re great casino movies.

Casino

Casino is one of the all time great movies. It’s built around the Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci partnership that worked so well in Goodfellas. The movie features De Niro being brought in to run a casino and Pesci slowly introducing criminal elements over time. It is often cited as one of the greatest travesties in modern cinema that Casino didn’t win an Oscar, with many people feeling that it’s a superior movie to Goodfellas.

What makes Casino such an engaging movie is that the characters are based on real people, giving all of the scenarios that take place a bit more of an edge. While it shows off the glitz and glamour of casinos, it also shows the dark side that used to be prevalent in the 1970s. If you choose to watch a single movie off this list, make sure that it’s this one.

Leaving Las Vegas

Before Nicholas Cage was known for putting out an endless stream of direct to DVD movies, he was one of the most promising young actors around. His range of ability is shown in Leaving Las Vegas which is often thought to be his best movie. It’s centered around the city of Las Vegas and two people who’re on self-destructive paths. Each character is extremely well crafted and acted perfectly by Cage and Elizabeth Shue.

Due to being set in Las Vegas there are obviously lots of casino based sets. While it doesn’t show the gambling side as much as a movie like Casino does, it still shows how amazing the city looks at night. It’s like the incredible setting frames the sad story of the two characters. Leaving Las Vegas is a movie that will hit you right in the chest, that’s how big its impact is.

Croupier

This is a movie that isn’t really that well known. Part of the reason for this is that it was shown on TV in the Netherlands which meant that it was disqualified from Oscar consideration. This is a huge shame as it’s a movie that nails absolutely every aspect perfectly. The setting is incredible, the characters are all believable and the plot is paced brilliantly. There’s no dead time on the screen, everything means something.

It was also the breakout role for Clive Owen. Here he plays the part of a croupier in a casino superbly. It’s no wonder this was what alerted him to producers for bigger roles. As the movie is based around a croupier a lot of it is set inside a casino. The sets are fantastic, everything looks very real, which really helps when it comes to getting drawn into the movie. While it might be one of the lesser known titles on this list, it’s definitely up there in terms of quality. Do yourself a favor and check out Croupier, it will be a very pleasant surprise.

Ocean’s 11

This is the first in a trilogy of movies that feature George Clooney and his band of A-lister friends. While Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13 are definitely movies to avoid, the first one is an excellent heist movie. Taking cues from the original that starred Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, it offers a stylish and well-plotted story that sees Danny Ocean, played by Clooney, trying to rob three of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas at the same time. With lots of twists and turns, it’s definitely one that will keep you watching all of the way to the end. The star power that’s involved here also means that the acting quality helps to cover up any little holes in the plot.

Because it’s based around the robberies of three big name casinos, the setting and theme of the movie obviously has a lot of casino influences. It really shows the bright lights of Sin City to be a hugely impressive sight. It’s one of the most fun and exciting movies based around casinos that there is. Just ensure that you only watch the first in the trilogy, the two follow ups certainly tarnish the legacy of this genuinely excellent movie.

Casino Royale

How could we have a list of casino themed movies and not include James Bond? It was actually a difficult choice. Both Dr No and Casino Royale have excellent casino based action, but we decided that the reboot was the one to choose. There are two main reasons for this. The first is because casino is in the title, there’s no mistaking that this movie is going to have some casino action. The second is because Casino Royale was, quite rightly, seen as a return to form for the Bond movies. After a number of lacklustre efforts, this got people talking about James Bond in a positive light again.

The movie itself is full of twists and turns and fantastic action. Daniel Craig is excellent as Bond and the casino based action really works well. Although it’s central to the plot, it doesn’t take away from the story by making it all about the casino. Important but not overwhelming is probably the best way to describe it. Make no mistake, this is a rip roaring James Bond effort and definitely a return to form for the franchise.

While there are plenty of other high quality casino themed movies out there, these are the ones that we feel are the absolute top of the pile. If you’re planning on enjoying a weekend of casino movies, then these five are definitely the ones that you should be stocking up with.

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