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Casino Themed Movie Remakes That We Would Like to See


These days pretty much every movie ever made seems fair game for a remake. In recent history, classics like Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, and Ghostbusters have all had the full reworking treatment. For movie makers, remaking a vintage favourite allows them to show (or more appropriately, sell) an existing title to a whole new audience. However, those who fondly remember the original content, are often disappointed with the new representations of their old-time favourites.

That said, some movie remakes excel. Thanks to advances in special effects over the years, directors are given a whole new tool box with which to work. Modern audiences might struggle to enjoy something that was spectacular to their parent’s generation because they’re used to far more immersive visual effects on film these days. It’s reasons like these that make the concept of retelling a story appealing to directors and producers alike.

Despite their usual lack of outlandish special effects work, casino-themed movies haven’t been exempt from the remake treatment. Take Ocean’s Eleven for example. The classic casino-heist flick was given a new lease of life in 2001 with megastars Brad Pitt and George Clooney taking the lead roles. In fact, some remakes have been so popular that game developers have launched video games and slot machines that are available for free.

There’s an absolute stack of great gambling movies out there from yesteryear that we feel should be high on directors’ lists of potential candidates for a twenty-first century revamp. We’ve rounded up some of the best below.

Casino (1995)

It’s probably sacrilege to mess around with a movie as well-loved as Casino. It’s one of the most well-known casino films out there, and topping the original would be a tall order. However, the Martin Scorsese classic is over twenty-two years old now. Perhaps it could be revamped for the modern day. Unfortunately, the Stardust Casino and resort shut its doors for the last time in 2006, so that probably rules out Las Vegas for a remake...

Here’s a wild idea. What about a modern version of Casino based around a gaming facility outside of Vegas. Now, where else has enormous resort-style gambling complexes, as well as sprawling metropolises and more than their fair share of vice? Of course, South Africa springs to mind. Imagine a Casino remake set in Johannesburg at Gold Reef City. It’d be marvelous. If any native movie directors are reading this, we reckon our homegrown favourite, Charlize Theron, could more than fill the role of Sharon Stone’s iconic character, Ginger McKenna.

A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)

There’s loads of scope with this one. Poker being as popular as ever, and the original being set in the Old West, a modern version could see the action unfold in twenty-first century Texas. Rather than cowboys, the high rollers could be oil tycoons or other such magnates. We reckon the story of a feisty female taking it to the boys at a typically male-orientated game would go down beautifully with modern, liberal audiences. There’s no shortage of potential leading ladies for such an empowering role either – we’re thinking someone like Emma Watson would be ideal.

The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

Set in 1930s New Orleans, The Cincinnati Kid’s title character is played by legend of the silver screen, Steve McQueen. As with many of McQueen’s iconic portrayals, Eric Stoner is a heartthrob to ladies and a threat to gentlemen. The original theatrical trailer described the character as one whose “luck is a temptation to every woman... and is a challenge to every gambling man.” Whilst unmistakably cool, The Cincinnati Kid is a bit dated now.... it’s over 50 years old. A complete remake is surely in order. The sentiment of this tale of a plucky young underdog taking on “The Man” is pretty timeless, and modern audiences might get a real kick out of it.

Thanks to poker’s enduring popularity, particularly following the online boom at the beginning of this century, the world could probably use another silky-smooth operator at the tables – we’re sure there would be many actors in Hollywood who’d relish the opportunity of playing one of McQueen’s personas too!

California Spirit (1974)

California Spirit is one of our lesser known picks, but it’s a cracker nonetheless. The story is of Billy Deny and Charlie Waters, the former a part-time gambler, and latter a full-time small stakes player with the bravado to convince others he’s in the big leagues. Friendship blossoms between the two over their love of cards and gambling. It’s over a wrongful accusation of collusion at a casino that they really bond though. The movie is a classic tale of two gamblers’ travels between rags and riches. They decide to pawn everything and head out to Reno for the game of a lifetime. It’s there that they encounter poker legend Amarillo Slim (playing himself). It was largely the cameo from Slim that prompted us to include this somewhat hidden comedic gem in our list of casino-movie remakes. Just imagine Daniel Negreanu or Phil Ivey filling the role of Reno’s resident card shark!

Cool Hand Luke (1967)

Directed by Stuart Rosenburg, this pick is less of a casino or gambling movie. It does have some action in it, however. It’s also just too good for us not to include here. The film stars Paul Newman, George Kennedy and JD Cannon. It tells the story of a man who refuses to conform to the rules in a local prison. It’s basically one of those classic 1960s rebellion flicks that remain popular today.

Now, there’s only one scene of card playing but it’s a real iconic one. It’s also vital to the legendary movie’s plot. The game is five-card stud, and the inmates involved all show their naivety to the nuances of such a game. The finale of the hand we witness between Luke and fellow prisoner Koko has some dubious reraising with almost no hand whatsoever – that’s just how “cool” Luke’s hand is. The bluff is epic with the benefit of hindsight but Koko turning down his pot odds of 13/1 (give or take a little) is shameful strategy that he probably deserves locking up for.

Critiques over the way the two play the iconic hand aside, the scene is great and full of suspense. We can’t be too rough on the players either. They’re prisoners after all, not hustlers. The scene is of course the one, which prompts the movie’s title and our hero’s nickname. The unbridled rebellion, and of course the nail-biting card scene are just two of the reasons we think this one would make a cracking remake.