Top Selection Of The Best Gambling Movies Ever Made

Gambling Movies

It’s impossible to deny the appeal of gambling. As rapidly as the ace of spades and jack of hearts falling next to the queen of diamonds in a blackjack game, a little bit of luck may turn your life around. The best gambling movies tend to go in the same direction. They tend not to be immediate hits and frequently portray a very particular genre on a shoestring, but they leave a lasting impression on anybody who appreciates the rush of taking a chance to turn their life around.ย 

Most frequently, these movies are largely filmed in a casino in Las Vegas, with countless poker games and rounds taking place, and usually, the story revolves around a poor man with a gambling addiction, who turns into a pro gambler as the storyline progresses and ends up winning a huge sum of money. 

If you want to read about the greatest gambling movies of all time, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ll talk you through just what makes these uncut gems on our list so great. After that you can check our selection of the best UK betting sites!

Mollyโ€™s Game (2017)

Based on the true story, this is the 2010 version of The Social Network, a gambling film written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, which makes sense given that Sorkin also wrote the historical drama on the Facebook founder. In Molly’s Game (2017), however, the screenwriter made his directorial debut, tracing the life of former Olympic skier Molly Bloom and her experiences.

Molly was given control of an underground poker game in the Viper Room in Los Angeles after a career-ending injury to her spine severely disrupted her life. Jessica Chastain plays the lead part in the movie, and Michael Cera and Idris Elba provide supporting turns. Furthermore, every actor gave a highly praised rendition of Sorkin’s well-known dialogue. Thanks almost completely to Sorkin’s humor in the screenplay, it’s an immensely sophisticated movie that will probably please any gambling junkies searching for a realistic movie about poker.

Rounders (1998)

This is the only movie on the list that has been regarded as a real cult classic, and it was directed by John Dahl. Critics gave it mixed reviews when it was first released, and when it was shown in cinemas throughout the globe, it didn’t even come close to meeting its $12 million budget. And even with Matt Damon, who is coming off a highly praised run of critically acclaimed films, including Good Will Hunting (1997), playing with Edward Norton, who had just finished a phenomenal run of movies a few years before, including Primal Fear (1996), for which he was nominated for an Oscar. 

However, let us reiterate: Despite those originally unfavourable figures, Rounders is regarded with great respect now. After all, cult masterpieces usually operate that way. The two actors also develop a compelling relationship that enhances the overall quality of the movie as they play two buddies who hit the poker circuit to pay off debt. It is undoubtedly still relevant today.

Casino (1995)

Robert De Niro plays the gunslinging boss of the Casino (1995) locale in this film, which is essentially an epic movie about gambling akin to a huge western directed by Sergio Leone or Howard Hawks. In this instance, Martin Scorsese directed the epic, making it one of his most ambitious movies to date.

Though it wasn’t as well-received when it was first released, it had a plot with Scorsese’s previous Mafia films, such as Mean Streets (1973) and Goodfellas (1990). The two actors that had the best performances were Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone, the latter of whom won the Golden Globe for Best Actress after being nominated for the Oscar in the same category. 

The Hustler (1961)

This gambling film, along with The Sting, is the second one on the list that, when seen only critically, virtually transcends the gambling genre. This Robert Rossen-directed movie, which starred Paul Newman as “Fast Eddie” Felson, is, of course, the one that inspired Scorsese and company to make The Color of Money. Furthermore, The Hustler (1961), while being a critically praised film in its own right, has all but been forgotten.

After receiving two of its nine nominations for Academy Awards, it was chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Film Registry. The initiative is led to unparalleled success by Newman and George C. Scott, the headliners of this sporting program, as Fast Eddie tries to pit his skill at pool hustling against the professional player “Minnesota Flats.” It has received such excellent reviews for a reason. 

Hard Eight (1996)

Hard Eight (1996), a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, would surely top the list of the greatest underappreciated gambling films ever produced. Together with a stellar supporting ensemble that includes John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, it stars Phillip Baker Hall. Each of them has a significant part to play in the complex story. Except for Hoffman, who nearly stole the entire movie in one moment.

The movie follows Sydney, played by Hall, as he mentors John, played by Reilly, and teaches him the ins and outs of working as a professional gambler in Las Vegas. There, Paltrow’s character John meets and falls in love with a waitress named Clementine. From there, the story takes a turn toward a criminal thriller as the three end up embroiled in a precarious position that might land them all in jail for a long time.

Croupier (1998)

An interesting thing to note right away about this production is that screenwriter Paul Mayersburg and director Mike Hodges used inner monologues to mimic the neo-noir or detective film genre. Though there is technical jargon wherever you look at the British gambling establishment where the movie is set, Croupier (1998) also offers a wealth of knowledge into the workings of a casino.

Its sophisticated aesthetic and clever writing translate into a performance that establishes English actor Clive Owen’s career by delving deeply into the complexity of the human experience. Jack Manfred ought to go down as the most captivating lead character to have ever appeared in a gambling film because of the way its intriguing narrative turns into a kind of character study. Furthermore, many more factors contribute to Croupier’s exceptional qualities. 

Mississippi Grind (2015)

American directors Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden brought this comedic drama, which starred Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, to the big screen. As Gosling’s character, Curtis becomes friends with Mendelsohn’s character Gerry, a gambling addict, and believes Curtis to be a lucky charm, the movie has a road movie feel to it. To play a high-stakes game of poker, he so convinces Curtis to go across the nation to New Orleans.

You will chuckle throughout Mississippi Grind (2015) at the ridiculousness of its characters and their numerous dubious choices. It is dark at points, poignant at others, and funny all at once. In keeping with the chemistry of the performers themselves, the two protagonists also form a genuine relationship. By themselves, their performances are worth seeing if you haven’t already.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

Many movie fans would rank this Norman Jewison-directed picture as the best gambling film ever made. But compared to other songs on this list, its tempo hasn’t aged as well. Although The Cincinnati Kid (1965) filmmaker Norman Jewison didn’t come in first, the number five rank is still respectable. Nevertheless, he had a winning hand.

Here, Steve McQueen plays the role of Eric “The Kid” Stoner, a young poker player from New Orleans. Set in the midst of the Great Depression, it follows The Kid’s quest and interest in gambling as he takes on seasoned card player Lancey “The Man” Howard, played by Edward G. Robinson. Up to the very end, the writing contains plenty of humor, and each performer does a fantastic job portraying the poker players.

The Gambler (1974)

No one in the history of motion pictures may have done a better job of depicting actual gambling addiction than James Caan’s title character in The Gambler (1974). If he finds a pickup basketball game in the park during his afternoon stroll, he will bet a substantial amount of money on it, whether it be on a professional football championship with his friends or a game of poker in Las Vegas.

Along with being an English teacher and writer, Axel Freed is most known for his role in the crime thriller The Gambler. Aidan Caan did a fantastic job portraying him. For his role in this movie, the well-known American actor really earned his second Golden Globe nomination. He was the main driving force behind the picture in many ways. He played one of the greatest parts in gaming history, and it is a film that should live on forever. 

The Sting (1973)

The Sting (1973) is perhaps the most praised movie on the list, having won seven Academy Awards out of 10 nominations. It’s also a Best Picture winner, and we’re not surprised by that fact. Additionally, the film has a 92% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has been chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Its cast’s chemistry might also be said to be a major factor in the majority of the praise it received from both reviewers and fans. 

This makes sense considering that the film’s principal performers, Paul Newman, and Robert Redford, collaborated with director George Roy Hill in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Each highlighted frame of the film showcases the performers’ undeniable chemistry with the director. It’s the tale of two seasoned con artists who get together to deceive a mafia leader and exact revenge for the passing of their mutual acquaintance. It is ranked seventh here and holds up in every way that can be imagined.

House of Games (1987)

Joe Mantegna’s portrayal of Mike Mancuso, a crook, is the focus of David Mamet’s heist thriller, which centers on Lindsay Crouse’s character Dr. Margaret Ford. A patient approaches the psychiatrist, who recently completed a book on OCD, for assistance with their debt to the aforementioned criminal lord and their association with him.

So she meets him in the made-up pool hall that served as the inspiration for the 1987 movie title, House of Games. When Dr. Ford discovers that Mike is trying to deceive her, they get close and have a deeper bond than most characters on this list as they learn about the negative aspects of gambling. The story is still incredibly compelling even after all these years. 

The Color of Money (1986)

Reuniting as “Fast Eddie” Felson, a character first introduced in Robert Rossen’s 1961 film The Hustler, is Paul Newman in Martin Scorsese’s sports drama. Despite being far more popular in cinemas than its predecessor, The Color of Money (1986) doesn’t quite measure up in terms of criticism.

Its ensemble, which included actors like Forest Whitaker, Tom Cruise, and John Turturro in addition to Newman, was largely responsible for that. Furthermore, the storyline of the film is captivating: Tom Cruise’s character, Vincent Lauria, is a newbie to the gambling world, who is mentored by Newman, who is a former pool hustler.

California Split (1974)

George Segal and Elliot Gould, as Bill Denny and Charlie Waters, respectively, are the two main protagonists in this gambling thriller. Following their thrashing of another gambler and theft of their money, the two become buddies. The two then start gambling together after he beats them up.

California Split (1974), a fantastic character study that explores the perils of gambling addiction, is the outcome. This film is unquestionably a classic in the genre of gambling movies. It may not have held up as well as some of its more established peers, but its grounded story and palpable tone will always make it memorable. 

The Cooler (2003)

Even though The Cooler earned millions of dollars in theaters upon its debut, it is still considered one of the lesser-known movies on the list when seen from a contemporary standpoint. There’s no denying the awe the performances inspired. Maria Bello and Alec Baldwin received nominations for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, at several reputable award organisations. 

These honors, rather than the movie’s critical praise or box office receipts, are a better measure of the movie’s true caliber. Playing the title role of Bernie Lootz, William H. Macy represents the casino as a type of evil entity that brings misfortune to other players by placing him there as a cooler. In addition to revealing the inner workings of Vegas, it genuinely delves deeply into its personalities.

Casino Royale (2006)

Widely regarded as one of the best movies ever made about gambling and Las Vegas casinos, we believe that the most action-packed gambling film ever produced is Casino Royale (2006). It’s alson one of the most well-known installments in the James Bond film series.

Among current fans, this is especially noteworthy because Daniel Craig plays the title role in the first picture in the trilogy. Cari Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die (2021) was his final appearance in the series. Later on, he went on to play the part four more times. Casino Royale was the beginning of the admiration that moviegoers had for Craig’s portrayal of the British spy. 

Uncut Gems (2019)

Adam Sandler, an American comedian, had a career revival because of this film, which was written and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. As the gambling addict Howard Ratner, who runs a diamond store in New York City’s Diamond District, he won critical acclaim for the part.

The whole 2019 film Uncut Gems not only received positive reviews from critics but also generated a respectable amount of money in theaters; at the time of its release, it was the highest-grossing picture from production firm A24. The whole tone of its sound design and cinematography radiates a particularly unsettling quality that is still a major topic of discussion among supporters. 

Oceanโ€™s Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001), directed by Steven Soderbergh, is among the most well-liked gambling films ever produced, along with The Hangover and a few others. Of course, the main site of the heist is a casino in Las Vegas, but the movie is also about heists.

Although it was budgeted $85 million, the movie made $450.7 million and has an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Its stellar ensemble plays a major element in the film’s commercial appeal, which has resulted in the biggest gross difference of any movie about gambling in Las Vegas ever produced. 

Actors such as Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, and Elliot Gould front a supporting cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. Even if all of its characters ultimately hamper the overall tempo (and reality, for another time) of the picture itself, this cast is perhaps the best that any gambling film has to offer. 

Bugsy (1991)

Lead director Barry Levinson earned an Oscar nomination for Best Director for this legendary gangster film, which starred Warren Beatty as the title character. For Bugsy (1991), that was one of 10 Oscar nominations. While Jonathan Demme won Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design for Silence of the Lambs (1991), Levinson was unsuccessful. However, the movie as a whole came out on top. 

For those who do not know, the story revolves around real-life, influential Jewish gangster Bugsy Siegel as he develops what became the Las Vegas Strip in the 1920s. Of course, a lot of people consider this to be the global center of entertainment, and the main character in the project at hand had a big part in making that claim. It’s well worth your time and a good gambling movie as well. 

Killing Them Softly (2012)

After working on the revisionist western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), lead actor Brad Pitt collaborated with writer-director Andrew Dominik on this film, which marked their second collaboration. Their past work together paid off in Killing Them Softly (2012) when they clicked. In the project, a heist that occurred during a Mafia poker game is followed to its conclusion. 

Screenshots of the theft are presented, but the real action starts when Jackie Cogan, played by Brad Pitt, enters the picture. It has back-and-forth, continuously excellently written conversations. Overall, the project was a success even if there were some dubious editing decisions and nothing particularly noteworthy in the technical aspects of camerawork.

The Hangover (2009)

One unambiguous comedy film on the list is The Hangover (2009). That being said, there is hilarity in a few other posts. Still, this contemporary success has earned favourable reviews from critics and even won the Golden Globe for Best Musical or Comedy, proving that it is a real film of high caliber.

Additionally, it made $469.3 million on a $35 million budget, making it an enormous hit in cinemas. As they head to Las Vegas for Doug’s bachelor celebration, Phil, Alan, Stu, and Doug’s story is told. They are all played by gifted actors, the majority of whom excel in humorous parts โ€“ Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Heather Graham, among others.  Of course, it also features Bradley Cooper, which helped establish him as a juggernaut of the industry.

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