Gambling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment and an activity that has fascinated audiences for generations. Whether it’s a land-based casino, a gambling hall or an online platform, betting on luck allows us to dive into an exciting world of risk and opportunity. There have been many movies made about gambling over the years some have protagonists defying incredible odds, while others teeter on themes of addiction but which ones stand out?
Movies about gambling are inherently dramatic because, by definition, they are about risk. It’s not funny to watch someone act prudently and cautiously, but to see someone constantly risk their well-being in the desperate, irrational hope of one big jackpot. Well, the gamblers in gambling movies are a lot like this veteran cop. who takes “The Last Case” before retiring. They usually don’t end up in a quiet upstate home life counting their winnings.
A selection of the 5 best films about gambling:
- Vacation in Vegas (1997)
So we know it’s not a very good movie: it’s probably the worst vacation movie ever, except for maybe that awful reboot with Ed Helms. But you’ll just have to indulge us with this one, because it features perhaps the funniest and silliest casino joke of all time. Essentially, Clark Griswold develops a gambling addiction and is tormented by a card dealer named Marty, played—amazingly—by Wallace Shawn.
Clark is such a bad gambler that he once shelled out $20 at a “discount” casino to play a game called Pick a Number Between 1 and 10? He guesses “4”. The dealer says “no, 7” and… just takes his money. Clarke storms off, grumbling under his breath. The idea that such a game would exist basically sums up Las Vegas and gambling in general. Perhaps this is the most honest card game.
- You’re Lucky (2007)
The late Curtis Hanson Created at the height of the World Series of Poker craze, the late Curtis Hanson immediately stopped his stunning LA Confidential/Wonder Boys/8 Mile/In Her Shoes run with this hackneyed tale of a poker superstar. a player (Eric Bana) with a complicated relationship with his even bigger father, a poker player, superstar (Robert Duvall). We’ve seen this story a million times in a million of the best sports movies. It even has a “Great Game” at the end but both Bana and Duvall still find a grain of truth in their characters. This film was a box office disaster and Hanson’s successful streak ended.
- 21 (2008)
Based on the real (albeit embellished by author Ben Mezrich) story of the MIT Blackjack team beating the casino for nearly a decade, 21 turns an interesting story about math and business into a sort of goofy heist movie featuring a slew of handsome young actors. (Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yu, Jacob Pitts and even Josh Gad) are trying to win over Kevin Spacey. The emphasis here is on Spacey, and the film has been criticized for “whitening” the cast, turning real players, mostly Asian-Americans, into regular white people. But for a moment before Spacey is kidnapped and beaten in a hotel room, this is an interesting look at the science behind smart gambling. But only for a moment.
- Let It Be (1989)
Weird little comedy about a perpetual gambling addict (Richard Dreyfuss) who wins every bet on the horse race in the course of one day. It just inspires him to work harder and keep going, and while that could be a disaster in a movie like, say, Uncut Gems, here it’s just a wacky ’80s comedy. Let It Ride still gets a lot of comedic run from the Dreyfus mania and goes a long way with some very funny opening performances from Teri Garr, Jennifer Tilly and David Johansen. But let’s just say they don’t show it at Gamblers Anonymous meetings.
- Eight Men Out (1988)
John Sayles’ historical drama about the Black Sox scandal in 1919, when members of the Chicago White Sox team (including the legendary Barefoot Joe Jackson) gave the players a World Series, is especially instructive today, when professional sports are using gambling profits to the fullest, ignoring lessons. of the past. The story of Eight Men Out is not so much about corruption on the part of the players, but about the conflict between employees and management: the players fix the series not out of greed, but out of desperation when their owner refuses to reward them for an incredible season. The devastating impact of gambling on sports has been all but forgotten in recent years, but Eight Men Out reminds us of its dangers.
To sum up, it is clear that there are many films about gambling that are not only entertaining, but can also provide a valuable insight into the game and its cultural context. While some of these films may not be as exciting groaning like typical Hollywood movies, they offer something much rarer; understanding the psychology of gambling and its implications for society. The gambling movies listed here may not all be masterpieces, but they certainly give viewers food for thought.
After all, one of the greatest charms of cinema is its ability to show the world from different perspectives, so whatever your favorite subject, including gambling, there is sure to be something for everyone.