Best Casino Movies Ever

Posted on September 9th, 2008

We were kicking a bit of banter around the OnlineCasinoKing office today, and talking about the state of the economy and the US presidential election, as you do. And then we thought: “Hang on- this is a dull conversation, from Dulltown in Dullsylvania. What is the top casino movie of all time?

Bad move- 3 hours of debate later and we are still not in agreement. But we do have a list of potential contenders. Thoughts anyone?

The Cincinnati Kid.

Well, we had to have one film with Mr Cool in it:  Steve McQueen. This is not strictly a casino movie, as it´s about poker (whoops, could have signed its death warrant there), but it´s all about Mt McQueen who plays a poker wanabee Eric ‘The Kid’ who goes after poker shark Lancey ‘the Man’ Howard played by Edward G. Robinson. Jewison directed this and he is a master at building the suspense through the movie. If you ever want to approximate the stress that goes with playing high stakes poker, this will give you an excellent insight.

Casino Royale

We couldn´t band about a list of the top casino movies of all time without having a Bond in there could we? And we have gone for a relatively recent outing for Ian Fleming´s 007- Casino Royale which came out in 2006. This is High Stakes Poker where the stakes are your life. Daniel Craig puts some edge back into the character- Bond is back to his day job of being a ruthless cold hearted hard man who is a hit with the ladies.

Compared to the original Casino Royale staring David Niven, this is a Bond film out of the top drawer.

Ocean’s 11

I know, I know, the obvious one- but with this cast you have to consider it. Not just George Clooney, but Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts all thrown in together on a Las Vegas escapade. A gang of 10 plus the Clooney Man head to the bright lights in the desert to take out three Vegas casinos in one go. Talk about taking the house to the cleaners. And of course the film spawned Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13- but not worthy of the list in our opinion as the plot had run a bit dry by then.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Mr Madonna´s career may have gone down the pan since this, but in his day Ritchie was making great movies that really stood out from the crowd. Let´s hope he gets his touch back.

In Lock Stock, Ritchie´s cockney geezers lose half a million pounds to Harry ‘The Hatchet’ Lonsdale in a game of 3-card brag. The film tracks the geezers as they try and get hold of the dosh before the pig loving gangster removes all of their fingers and starts on their other appendages. A classic performances from Wimbledon hardman Vinne Jones (what happened to him?) and a term that has since lodged in the national conciousness, widening that north-south divide: “you f*!kin´ norvan munkees”.


Not one of Martin Scorsese´s best films, but not one of his worst either. And it makes the list because it´s about casinos and it was directed by the Maestro! Scorsese favorites Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci join up to manage a Mafia owned casino in Las Vegas. There´s a memorable outing from Sharon Stone, as Ginger, who falls for her former pimp  played by James Woods and the action gets crazier and crazier, as you´ll often see with Scorcese´s masterpieces. And a great soundtrack that leads you through the action over a period of 10 years. If you don´t like foul language then avoid it, however, as Casino has the world record for the most obcenities spoken during a movie.

The Croupier

This isn´t the glamourous world of gambling on display- it s a hard and edgy thriller and that´s what make it stand out.

Mike Hodges directed this one and he tells the story of Jack Manfred, a struggling writer who gets sucked in to the world of casinos. There´s no aires and graces to this film- just a thriller that will hold you spellbound until the credits start rolling.

The Cooler

This film got alot of votes as it stars the one and only William H. Macy of Fargo fame. I don´t know what he brings to a movie, but he certainly makes it stand out.

Macy is joined by Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello in this dark film about Vegas. Baldwin is the Casino boss and Macy is the ‘cooler,’ a guy with such bad luck that anyone he sidles up to catches an immediate losing streak.

But then he meets and falls head over heels for a cocktail waitress and his Cooler Skills turn into a Midas touch- and chaos reins.


Anyone who´s interested in blackjack will love this movie. Its based on the true story of 6 card counting legends from MIT who took many a casino to the cleaners with their blackjack system. Directed by Aussie Robert Luketic and stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth. Pure gambling history on the silver screen.


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