Best Casino Movies

The bright light city is one photogenic venue, and it sports a big variety of attractive filming locations. Add that to an ongoing reputation of the place to go to just to cut loose, and here’s a recipe for some very cool movies.

The slick, elegant and charming face of Vegas is also the star of the best casino (and crime) movies ever made; and it was so good they had to make it twice, with awesome casts in both cases: “Ocean’s 11” from 1960 (shot in the Riviera and the Sands casinos) stared rat packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford, as well as Angie Dickinson. In 2004 Steven Soderbergh directed an incredibly polished and cool remake starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts, where the gang plans to rob The Bellagio (where some scenes were actually shot), the Mirage and the MGM Grand simultaneously. The success of the remake sparked a trilogy, and after “Ocean’s 12” was shot in Rome and Monaco, “Ocean’s 13” came back to where it all started, and with Al Pacino in their corner. The Ocean’s trilogy is undoubtedly wins most attractive cast in a casino movie, just take a look at some of these eye pleasing mugs:

The quintessential casino movie shot in Vegas is appropriately titled “Casino”. Shot in 1995 and directed by Martin Scorsese, “Casino” tell story of a casino operator who rises to power thanks to mob connection that eventually bring to his downfall. The movie celebrates the luxurious and decadent Vegas of the 70s and 80s with a shining cast that includes Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone on her best onscreen performance, Joe Pesci, and James Woods.

While “Casino” revives Vegas of the seventies, you can see the real thing on the 1971 James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever” starring Sean Connery. Although 007 is big fan of gambling, this is the only installment of the James Bond franchise where he visits Las Vegas. The movie include scene shot in Circus Circus Casino, the Landmark, and the Riviera where Bond wins $50K and meets his attractive female rival, irresistible named Plenty O’Toole. This movie shows how the famous Fairmont street, the Vegas Strip and the boulevard looked back in 1971.

Some would claim that the greatest casino movie featuring Vegas is the infamous Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls” from 1995, simply because it reflects the campy (if not vulgar), hedonistic, over-the-top feel of the city. The movie featured Gina Gershon and Elizabeth Berkley as rival performers competing for the lead part in the casino’s main entertainment show. The movie got an endless amount of Razzie awards and nominations, including the worst movie of the 90s awards and a nomination for the worst movie in the last 25 years. Nonetheless, Showgirls achieved cult status and became one of MGM’s best selling DVDs.

As long as gambling stays exciting and people dream of breaking the house, there will be casino movies. An interesting casino movie to look forward to in 2008 is “21” starring Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess which is based on the true story of MIT students who are trained to count cards by a their charismatic professor, hit the blackjack tables to collect millions in Vegas until they arouse the suspicion of the casino staff. The filming locations include Aladdin Casino and the Venetian in Vegas.
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