There has always been something irresistible about the glamor and glitz of gambling at casinos, making them an eternally popular theme for movie makers. Millions can be won and lost at the spin of the roulette wheel or the turn of a card, creating thrilling moments of drama that leave us on the edge of our seats.
For most of us, finding our own taste of gambling excitement involves looking online, seeking the best tips when selecting a casino bonus so we can improve our chances of winning. For the protagonists of the three movies we’re going to look at, the action at the tables is accompanied by thrilling moments of cinema magic that really grabs our attention, capturing our imagination with stories where much more than money is at stake.
Masterfully directed by Martin Scorsese and based on the book by Nicholas Pileggi, there’s absolutely no doubt that 1995’s Casino must be considered the quintessential Las Vegas movie. Intriguingly inspired by true events of mob infringement during the 1970s, this is a tale of greed and deception, money and power, as a casino executive and mafia enforcer make their mark in the fabled American city of sin.
Robert De Niro is in his stellar prime as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, who doubles the profits of the casino the Mafia sent him to run, while Joe Pesci is at his crazy and violent best as the mobster enforcer, who simply can’t resist the temptations of trying to make his own mark in Las Vegas. Between the pair is prostitute and hustler Ginger McKenna, lavishly played by Sharon Stone and ultimately the downfall of both our leads.
After four decades and twenty movies featuring our favorite British superspy, producers felt it was time for James Bond to get the reboot treatment, bringing the popular character kicking and screaming into the 21st century. In 2006, Casino Royale took the story back to the beginning with Daniel Craig superbly playing a still very raw Bond, yet to earn his “license to kill” status and – perhaps naively – falling for glamorous Eva Green’s treasury employee character, Vesper Lynd.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Bond movie if it wasn’t packed with amazing action sequences and gorgeous locations, but the core of the story pits 007 against terrorist financier Le Chiffre, menacingly played by Mads Mikkelsen. As the pair face one another in an intense high-stakes poker game, battling under the utmost pressure, electrifying tension and drama fill every scene of their duel with the cards.
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Given the 1960 original boasted Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack amongst its stellar cast, the 2001 remake needed just the same kind of pulling power, and it didn’t disappoint. George Clooney and Brad Pitt are joined by a host of stars, including Julia Roberts and Matt Damon, Bernie Mac and Andy Garcia, among an ensemble cast which brings this Las Vegas heist caper to life.
As Danny Ocean and his crew of specialists aim to simultaneously rob three major Las Vegas casinos, we are treated to a funny and action-packed rollercoaster ride, with great chemistry amongst the uniquely fascinating cast of characters, all underscored by a phenomenal script and marvelous direction from Steven Soderbergh. This is one of those rare occasions when a remake is actually much better than the original.
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