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Glitz and Glamour on the Big Screen

The alluring world of gambling is a common theme in movies and one of the biggest factors that's shaped its perception in popular culture. Watching the scenes of large, sophisticated casino floors busy with activity and excitement has always kept viewers hooked to the screen. Of course, the glam is often followed by action, intrigue, and even the harsh truth behind the flashy casino life. All in all, getting immersed in the exciting atmosphere of casino venues never gets old, and the following list of movies proves they can get you there in no time.

Las Vegas movies

What Makes Casinos so Captivating?

People from different cultures have been attracted to gambling for ages, and identifying with iconic film characters as they engage in some of their favourite games is a thrill. There's a particular kind of excitement involved when watching a character take risks in a game of poker, roulette, or blackjack. The tension of waiting for the outcome of a high-stakes table game keeps viewers hooked, and the popularity of on-screen gambling has also helped the growth and proliferation of online operators across the globe. Today, fans can find equally immersive and entertaining games in one of the latest online casinos in South Africa, as well as in other countries around the world. Whichever your favourite game, you’ll be able to scratch that casino itch as soon as you're done watching them.

Casino Royale (2006)

If you’re interested in seeing an action movie that pairs glamorous casino life with espionage and other secret agent activities, Casino Royale is not to be missed. Directed by Martin Campbell, it showcases the world of exciting high stakes, wealth, and class, combined with the usual danger and risk involved with the spy genre. The plot revolves around James Bond who's portrayed by the steely-eyed Daniel Craig. The agent finds himself on a mission to prevent Le Chiffre from winning a high-stakes Texas Hold ‘Em poker session at the glamorous Casino Royale in Montenegro. Like all other James Bond movies, it features a turbulent mix of intrigue, violence, romance, and clever mind tricks.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven was directed by Steven Soderbergh, one of the most iconic heist movies out there. The leading character Danny Ocean (George Clooney) gathers a group of talented individuals in order to pull the biggest Las Vegas heist of all-time. The team is on a mission to steal from the three biggest establishments in the city - the Bellagio, the MGM Grand, and the Mirage. Throughout the movie, you can see scenes of luxurious life in the three legendary Vegas casinos, and even Danny Ocean’s band of thieves is always impeccably dressed, supporting the idea of the sleek spirit of Sin City. Another point that adds to the film’s appeal is the star-studded cast, which includes: Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, and Elliot Gould. And if you like this version of Ocean's Eleven, you should also check out the 1960 original, where Danny Ocean is portrayed by none other than Frank Sinatra!

Casino (1995)

Even though Martin Scorsese may not seem interested in gambling in particular, his profound interest in people helped him craft an exciting film called Casino. The story revolves around two mobsters (Ace Rothstein and Nicky Santoro) portrayed by equally iconic and eccentric actors - Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. The movie is set in the early 1970s, and Ace is a low-level gangster who was sent to Las Vegas to run the Tangiers Casino. Initially, he is very successful with the job, but after a few years, problems arise. Ace falls in love with an ambitious woman who is not to be trusted (Sharon Stone) and eventually ends up in conflict with Nicky Santoro, his hotheaded pal, and a number of corrupt politicians. Not only do we get to see the rise-and-fall of most of these characters, we’re also treated to a fantastic representation of what the evolution of Sin City was like from those early days until today.

21 (2008)

21, directed by Robert Luketic, is a true story about a group of brilliant MIT students and their mentor (Kevin Spacey) who came up with an elaborate card-counting scheme that's supposed to make it impossible for them to lose. Their plan was to enter the tumultuous Las Vegas casino scene and score millions by using what seemed like a bulletproof blackjack strategy. In the beginning, it all runs smoothly, but as the scam continues, the group’s scheme unravels and their lives become much more complicated. While their plan remains effective for nearly a decade, during which time the characters are involved in many high-roller sessions, the arrival of casino enforcer Cole (played by Lawrence Fishburne) threatens to put the whole operation in jeopardy.

People have been drawn to the extravagant world of casinos and casino games for decades, and the movie industry seems to be finding endless inspiration from the subject matter. With the four films listed above, you’ve got a solid base from which you can springboard and discover the many other productions that have since been inspired by and will undoubtedly continue to inspire writers and filmmakers to keep coming back to the casino!