Listing a Few of the Best Gambling Movies of All Time
Hollywood has made films covering every topic, from romance to action, and of course fantasy and science fiction. However, a rather popular topic, to this day, remains the “gambling film.” The best part about it is that gambling films don’t necessarily fall into any genre. It can be a comedy, a romance, an action-thriller, or just a slice of life story. So, let’s look at a list of some of the best gambling movies of all time.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man is a classic road trip story, and a classic film. Starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. The film is about two brothers, Charlie (Cruise) and Raymond (Hoffman). One is a selfish, self-centered, car dealer and scam artist, while the other is an autistic, yet mathematically gifted shut-in. Charlie decides to use his brother’s gift for mathematics, in order to win big money at Las Vegas’ casinos.
Raymond uses his understanding of math to count cards, though he does so unwittingly. Card counting is a popular blackjack strategy, and is implemented today by some of the best blackjack players of all time. By the end of the movie, Raymond realizes his brother has been using him, and Charlie learns a lesson about family and respect. Heartwarming, funny, engaging, and a true classic, anyone who hasn’t seen Rain Man ought to remedy that mistake.
Casino Royale (2006)
Based on Ian Fleming’s novel series, the James Bond film franchise is one of the longest, most beloved, and most profitable in film history. Dozens of actors have starred in the role, with Idris Elba being the latest prospect. In 2006, the franchise underwent a soft reboot, with Daniel Craig in the starring role.
The result was Casino Royale. A spy-thriller/gambling film which sees James Bond face off against Le Chiffre, an infamous arms dealer who organizes an annual game of Texas hold ‘em at the world-famous Casino Royale. Bond must not only outsmart Le Chiffre, but outgamble him. A difficult prospect considering Le Chiffre is a master gambler.
One of the most beloved James Bond movies to date, Casino Royale is worth checking out, not just by gambling fans, but also by fans of James Bond, spy-thrillers, and action films in general. It is certainly a good time.
One of the most famous teams in blackjack history is the MIT team, which operated in the 80s and 90s. Consisting of MIT students and alumni, the team dominated the Las Vegas casinos, and broke the code to win. Ben Mezrich, a member of the team, detailed their exploits in many of his books, most notably Bringing Down the House.
In 2008, Robert Luketic’s 21 hit cinemas. Inspired by the exploits of the MIT team, the film tells the story of six students who train card counting with their teacher. The film stars Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey, along with quite a few other talented actors, who truly capture the experience of the casino.
It is worth noting that, while the film is based on true events, most of the story takes artistic liberties with characters and events. While a few are based on real people, most are composites, blends, or outright fabrications. However, if you look at the movie as what it is, a fictionalized retelling of a real event, it does strike a chord. Certainly worth checking out for any fans of gambling, and blackjack.
Uncut Gems (2019)
Josh and Benny Safdie are two of the best directors working today. Their 2014 film, Heaven Knows What is a masterpiece of psychological cinema. The follow-up, Good Time, has one several film awards, and of course, Uncut Gems can comfortably be called a masterpiece.
The film stars Adam Sandler, who plays the role of Howard Ratner, a compulsive gambler and sports bettor. Ratner’s life is chaotic, but he still has hope. His jewelry store has just gotten a black opal worth a lot of money. However, Ratner wagers said money to repay his gambling debts.
The film is chaotic, and anxiety-inducing, but purposefully so. We watch a man whose life is a mess trying to pick up the pieces and failing at every turn. By the end, we are simultaneously annoyed and enamored by this person, who does not give up under any circumstances.
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