Why Movie Directors Love Casino Scenes

Filmmakers around the world choose different settings or different central themes for their films. In many cases, casinos or gambling themes are in the foreground or background of the film. This is pretty obvious why. There are many interesting stories that can be discovered by having a casino in a movie. They are connected to glamour, wealth, real life problems, or just having fun.

One of the famous franchises, James Bond, had a movie Casino Royale, and that was really an action-packed and generally great story. The movie got good feedback from the audience and critics, and the scene in the casino while playing poker is definitely one of the highlights.

As mentioned, one of the reasons to have a luxury casino in your movie is because it provides a great setting. You can make a heist movie and build your characters as expert con men like in Ocean’s Eleven since the security systems in these establishments are top-notch. You can have it be a base of operations for a gangster or just a destination where protagonists lose money, which can cause problems for them. This means that the setting is full of potential itself.

In addition, casinos can pay producers to advertise their setting and include it in the film. But before you get ideas for video vlogs with promotions, keep in mind that filming and taking pictures is not always allowed. There is no law prohibiting this, but casinos don’t like it when someone can record their security cameras.

Why aren’t there any movies about online casinos?

However, online gambling houses have been popular for quite some time, but there are no movies about them. When it comes to online casinos, they are basically a website, and it is rare to take a single website as the setting for a movie. Still, you can have it as a plot point where someone gets to make or lose money by gambling online. In that case, though, it wouldn’t exactly be a movie about an online gambling parlour.

The reasons can also include:

  • The high cost of filming for online platforms.
  • Many land-based casinos are iconic places, which can not be said about the online version of the venues.
  • Censorship in some countries may not allow the movie on the big screen because of online gambling propaganda.

Top 10 Casino Movies

Since gambling is one of the most favourite activities worldwide, there are also plenty of great movies dedicated to poker and gambling with the best actors ever. Therefore, we present you with a small selection of the top casino movies of all time that you should definitely have seen once in your life. Although some of them seem to be very banal, others will reveal the most interesting gambling secrets, tactics and most used strategies.

The Player

Welcome to a descent into the underworld in a dramatic film that has become a sure bet in the casino genre when it comes to cinematography.

You’ll follow Mike McDermott, an avid law student who’s pretty good at playing poker. But the world of the casino is not always a rosy one for these players who don’t know the limits and have a disreputable entourage, especially when their best friend gets out of jail. As you can see, this thriller mixes emotions, psychology and high tension card games.

The Cincinnati Kid

Logically, the oldest film on this list that we are about to share with you. Follow the path of Eric Stoner, the famous Cincinnati Kid, played by the mythical Steve McQueen. This masterpiece plunges you into the heart of poker games full of tension and sometimes mischief. Since it was released in 1965, it is obvious that this film does not reflect all the current poker possibilities.


Clive Owen seemed to be heading for a glittering career after his starring role in the film Croupier. However, other films he later starred in were downright disappointing compared to this casino classic. As quickly as he came, he was also gone from the big screen.

So revisit Croupier and see where Jack is an aspiring novelist desperate for a job for money. Soon he learns about the world of casino gambling and serves as a croupier. The film shows the sadness of those who have thrown away their lives by staying at the casino tables and gambling all their money.

The plot complications are not always satisfying but are a vivid reproduction of casino life that can be so grubby. It’s a shame that Owen was rarely able to put down a film like this, purely because it was just that good.

Molly’s Game

The film Molly’s Game is based on a true story about former champion skier Molly Bloom. She is forced to switch careers when she has a terrible accident. She joins as an organizer of poker tournaments and manages to get caught up in the world of underground poker.

Jessica Chastain plays the role well and shows how the illegal but highly addictive and, most importantly, lucrative ecosystem works. She arranges cash game nights that you can only participate in if you bring large sums of money. Guests are in for a treat.

Molly’s Game does a good job of showing how hard things can get for high rollers in exclusive gaming rooms with the right organizers. Since the movie is based on the autobiography of a real existing person, this immediately makes the whole movie a lot more interesting.

Casino Royale

Released on November 22, 2006, Martin Campbell’s film sees Daniel Craig appear for the first time in the 007 costume. The plot revolves around a poker game with monumental stakes, both politically and economically, and takes place mostly in the Casino Royale in Montenegro. The game is shown as an insider’s sport and an original and spectacular method of espionage. The film has helped to bring poker to the general public’s attention and has stirred up a lot of passion.


This American drama film, released in 1995 and directed by Martin Scorsese, features two great actors: Joe Pesci and Robert de Niro, the interpreters of the two main roles. The sultry Sharon Stone playing the role of a prostitute (which earned her a Golden Globe) accompanies the 2 heroes in a gangster universe of the 1970s. The film’s concept revolves around casinos, as de Niro (playing the role of Sam) is exiled to Vegas to manage a casino hotel, serving as a cover for a mafia organization in Chicago. Money is flowing, but problems quickly follow.

Ocean’s 11

The film is a remake of a film by Frank Sinatra made in 1960. Released in 2002, the film was directed by Steven Soderbergh and brought together a range of the most famous actors such as Brad Pitt and George Clooney, who rub shoulders with Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon, composing an extraordinary team of criminals. Their goal is to carry out the robbery of the century: to rob at the same time the 3 biggest casinos of Las Vegas, the Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story

One of the best biographical gambling films around. Michael Imperioli plays Stu Ungar, a high roller famous for being the only player to have won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) main events. This is not a breathtaking thriller, but it tells the story of a person who ends up falling apart after owning everything. The film accurately depicts Stu’s entire life, showing the ups and downs that characterized it from beginning to end. In fact, the protagonist will lose most of his earnings betting on horses. The story of Stu’s meteoric rise to success, followed by his dramatic descent, is as heartbreaking as it is exciting and will keep you glued to the screen.

The Cooler

William H. Macy plays an unusual character in this film directed by Wayne Kramer. Macy plays the eponym of the film’s title, a “cooler,” meaning a man whose bad luck is so bad that casinos hire him to sit at the table of players who are having a rich winning streak. Without a chance, luck runs out on them when they sit down at the Roulette table, and the casino’s profit margin is saved. However, when luck turns for the cooler as well, he suddenly finds himself to be the lucky charm of Las Vegas, much to the chagrin of the casinos that had hired him. Definitely, an entertaining premise, coupled with superb acting performance, to take a close look at casino superstitions and the concept of luck.

Sidney – Hard Eight

Before achieving great success with both critics and audiences in 1997 with the film Boogie Nights, celebrated Hollywood director Paul Thomas Anderson had made his debut with Hard Eight (1996), a dramatic film starring a professional gambler, John (played by C. Reilly), in desperate need to scrape together six thousand dollars to pay for his mother’s funeral. Sidney (Baker Hall) will take him to Las Vegas and teach him some tricks that will make him win a lot of money at the casino. The director, still a beginner, has managed to organize a spectacular cast, including the figures of Samuel L. Jackson and the sadly deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman. If you feel like immersing yourself in the atmosphere of Las Vegas, we highly recommend watching this film.