There’s a certain thrill you get from sitting down in the cinema, streaming a great movie from Netflix or popping a good DVD into your player at home. Setting aside a couple of hours to take in a film is a feeling that can’t really be matched by any other entertainment. People who enjoy gambling, playing poker and slot machines may say that the sensation they have at the gaming tables comes close – that sense of anticipation, excitement and intrigue of how events will turn out.
Casino and gambling-themed movies have long been a Hollywood mainstay. The glitz and glamour of this world is reflected in box office smashes like George Clooney’s Ocean’s Eleven trilogy, while grittier and more personified tales are taken on in The Cincinnati Kid and Rounders. Movie heavyweights such as Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Alec Baldwin, Robert de Niro, John Malkovich, Nicholas Cage and Kevin Spacey have all appeared in this genre of films and few critics argue against the quality of their output. Rain Man, which was one of the biggest releases of the late 1980s and starred Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, successfully stepped into the realms of gambling while also revealing a touching story between two estranged brothers.
Online gaming offering fun and thrills at the poker and slot machines has revolutionized the gambling scene in recent years, meaning you could watch a classic casino flick on TV while playing a classic casino game at the same time on your tablet or smartphone. Here are a few of those that will please the punters.
Released in 1996 and starring Philip Baker Hall, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly, Hard Eight will spring to mind to many movie goers as a casino-themed film that ticked all the right boxes. The plot centres around a veteran casino regular called Sydney Brown who befriends a younger prodigy called John Finnegan. The movie goes on to cover tales of deception, murder and lust – the latter thanks to Paltrow’s strong performance as a cocktail waitress turned prostitute that they discover in Nevada. The casino scenes range from the dark to the ridiculous while Sydney and John keep viewers constantly on edge. Samuel L. Jackson’s post Pulp Fiction contributions are also of note. Hard Eight was not big budget but over the last 20 years it has grown to be a big hit.
Based on a true story, Philip Seymour Hofmman plays Canadian assistant bank manager Dan Mahowny who goes on an epic casino ride that results in him ending up on the wrong side of the law. Set in the early 1980s, this 2003 movie delves deep into Mahowny’s flawed character that flits between him being a success in public to his colleagues and friends but a completely different beast in private at the casino table. Supported by casino manager Victor Foss, played by John Hurt, and with Minnie Driver in the role of his confused girlfriend Belinda, Mahowny’s life begins to unravel as the drama on the casino floor is matched by the multi-million dollar fraud case that builds against him.
For many film buffs, Casino is the ultimate gambling movie – and not just because its title leaves no one in doubt as to the subject it covers. This 1995 movie revels in the glory, and frequently the gore, of the Las Vegas casino world in the 1970s and ’80s. The Italian-American mobsters ruled the scene back then and Joe Pesci’s portrayal of tough guy Nicky Santoro is perhaps the film’s defining legacy. Casino boss Sam Rothstein is played by the magnificent Robert de Niro. Rothstein’s own illegitimate business practises in Vegas are undermined by Santoro and complicated further by his alcoholic and drug-fuelled wife Ginger, played by the superb Sharon Stone. This A list cast does a stellar job of delivering Martin Scorsese’s screenplay in such a way that Casino probably out-muscles Goodfellas as Scorsese’s finest work of the 1990s.
Casinos are naturally a place of entertainment, fun, adventure and escape. Perhaps the only way to match it is to try some live casino action using online casino websites such as 888casino from the comfort of your own home. The live experience is something that comes as close as you can get to the action of casino floor without having to venture there yourself allowing you to play with real dealers whilst enjoying the rush of the big win. The live dealers even greet you as if you were a movie star as you arrive at the table and you know you can’t be scanned like in Ocean’s 11 as it’s all played with real roulette wheels and card shoes as opposed to computer algorithms.
The best casino films offer all these emotions too and much more but could the big screen see the arrival of live casino scenes in the future or possible a step further and using VR? When the two are combined it very rarely fails to deliver on the big screen.