Revisiting: Top Casino & Vegas based films


Something You Said recently spent the weekend at Caesar’s Palace. Because we’re massive cowards though, we didn’t have the cojones to gamble especially flamboyantly. We certainly didn’t put it all on red at the roulette table nor did we become embroiled in a blackjack battle. All we did was throw a few coins in the fruit machines. Still, the whole experience of being at Caesar’s got us thinking about how incredibly iconic casinos have been in film history. Here, in no particular order, are some of our favourite casino-based movies, along with a broader selection of films set in Vegas:

This film is so money. Mike (Jon Favreau), has broken up with his girlfriend of six years and is still having trouble moving on. His friend takes him on an overnight trip to Las Vegas in an attempt to get him back in the game. The scene where Mike is leaving an answerphone message is so painful. Oh, and this film is a reminder that  Vince Vaughn was funny once. And skinny.

Hard Eight
John sits outside a diner without a pot to piss in, when Sydney happens along and buys him a coffee. He then takes him under his wing and shows him how to become a successful small-time professional gambler. All is well until he falls for Clementine, a cocktail waitress and sometimes hooker. Uh-oh.

Casino Royale
Taking on bad dudes at poker while ridiculously sexy Eva Green gives you the eye from across the room? Oh Daniel Craig, we wish we were you. However, here at Something You Said, we’re generally the shy types who play online at places like from the safety of our rooms, rather than taking on criminal masterminds while sipping Martinis. We do wear tuxes while we do it though. Anyway, we digress… Casino Royale was a movie that restored our faith in a moribund franchise. Now, if someone could tell us what the heck Quantum of Solace was about, we’d appreciate it!

When Charlie learns about his autistic brother Raymond’s excellent memory, he takes him to Vegas to win money at blackjack by counting cards. Incredible performances by Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

The Cooler

Fact of the day: In gambling parlance, a “cooler” is an unlucky individual whose presence at the tables results in a streak of bad luck for the other players. This romantic drama sees William H. Macy play unlucky Bernie Lootz. Great stuff.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Not much casino action in this one, but if ever there was a film that made you want to pack a suitcase full of naughty substances and head to the most hallucinogenic place on earth, it’s this one. Wait till you see those goddamn bats.

Three hours of greed, money, power and murder occur between two mobster best friends and a trophy wife over a gambling empire. De Niro and Pesci are flawless and Sharon Stone puts in perhaps her best performance.

The Hangover
As with Fear and Loathing, there’s not a lot of action at the green tables but this Vegas-based flick is an absolute romp. Shame the sequel is one of the worst films we’ve ever seen. Did anyone even bother with the third instalment? We didn’t.

Oceans 11

Yeah sure, it’s a backslapping get-together for a bunch of handsome, rich, a-list actors. But Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices’ plans to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously was also great fun.

Atlantic City
Burt Lancaster stars as Lou, an ageing mob flunkey, barely making a living in Atlantic City. Susan Sarandon plays Sally, a casino croupier whose husband steals a large supply of drugs from the mob. Sounds like a recipe for a cracker. And its 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes underlines how that’s exactly what it is.

Viva Las Vegas
How can we give so many mentions to Vegas and not talk about The King? We love Elvis and never more so than in this film, where he plays Lucky Jackson, arriving in town with his car literally in tow ready for the first Las Vegas Grand Prix – once he has the money to buy an engine. He gets the cash easily enough but mislays it when the pretty swimming pool manageress takes his mind off things. Perhaps some singing will help…

Lastly, there’s not much cashing in of chips here, but it’s a so-bad-it’s-good cult classic, as a young drifter arrives in Las Vegas to become a dancer and soon sets about clawing and pushing her way to become the top of the Vegas showgirls. That swimming pool sex scene? Ridiculous.

What did we miss? Tell us in the comments section below.