From high stakes betting games to anything-goes Las Vegas mayhem, the world of gambling has always been a winner for Hollywood. Here are 5 great betting films that you can back all the way to the finish line.
Casino chronicles the true story of a faction of the mob who ran a gambling empire in Las Vegas, focusing on the fractious relationship between Nicky Santoro, a mafia underboss, and Ace Rothstein, a casino owner, played by Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro respectively. At the centre of the dispute of the best friends is a trophy wife played by Sharon Stone, who wields a fair amount of power as greed, deception, money, power and murder take centre stage. Following Goodfellas, director Martin Scorsese brings the highly effective De Niro/Pesci duo together again to adapt Nicholas Pileggi's book and screenplay.
Robert Redford and Paul Newman had fantastic chemistry as evidenced in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the follow-up, The Sting. Playing a small-time hustler, Johnny Hooker, Redford teams up once again with fellow underdog outlaw, Newman as Henry Gondorff. Together with director George Roy Hill, this classic pairing ensured that this entertaining caper won Best Picture Oscar in 1973. Pegged as a comedy, it's more like edge-of-your-seat betting game thanks to Hill's sleight of hand direction. It's just a pity (possibly a saving grace) that the stars didn't collaborate again in another film.
"Some winners are born to lose." This paradox inspired The Hustler, a sports drama about self-destructive pool player, Fast Eddie Felson, who goes under the tutelage of a Brett Newman in order to challenge a long-time champion in a high stakes game. It's a dark, beautifully shot and complex sports drama, packed full of great performances, amazing trick shots and led by star-making roles for Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. It's a must-see for anyone whose ever dreamed of competing in the world of sports betting as a pool shark.
The Bond franchise needed to be reinvented in order to be taken seriously. Who better to lead the charge than Daniel Craig, whose dashing looks, rogue physique and blonde hair made him a royal shakeup for the martini drinking gentleman? Starting with Casino Royale, a Bond film that originally came to be associated with Peter Sellers, the franchise was out to set a few records straight. Recruiting Martin Campbell to direct gave this Bond reboot its edge and while Daniel Craig seemed like a sketchy choice at first, he proved his naysayers wrong with an explosive performance opposite the likes of Bond girl Eva Green, arch nemesis Mads Mikkelsen and Judi Dench as 'M'. Riddled with question marks, who would have bet that this Bond film could be arguably the best?!
Ocean's Eleven is one of those rare remakes that actually trumps the original. Instead of a crooner cast, it's a Clooney cast as the star-studded ensemble draws names like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon and Casey Affleck. Front and centre is George Clooney as Danny Ocean, who wants to take revenge on the casino owner who had him incarcerated. Fresh out of prison, he assembles a hotshot crew of 11 in order to rob three casinos in one night. Slick, charming and full of Las Vegas glitz, Steven Soderbergh's comedy caper is always entertaining and keeps the audience in on the wink.