5 Movies You Should Watch if You Love Roulette
Roulette may seem like a simple game to play, but it still captures the imagination with its glamour and long, storied history. It’s still wildly popular, both in live and online casinos, and it’s easy to see why film directors love to use roulette — it’s a game that’s filled with drama and suspense just from watching a ball spinning around a wheel, waiting for it to land on the right number.
We’ve looked at five different movies you should watch if you love roulette. These films capture the thrill of the game with the melodrama of life, and you simply can’t look away.
Long before he’d starred in those splashy BMW spots as The Driver, Clive Owen was lighting up the screen with his charisma as a roulette dealer in Croupier. In this British neo-noir, Owen stars as Jack Manfred, an aspiring writer who gets a job as a croupier when his job prospects look grim. He starts farming his work experiences for writing material, even going so far as to narrate the movie like he’s narrating his own book.
Though he insists again and again that he doesn’t gamble, the movie follows Jack as he continues to gamble with his own morality and possibly his life. He gets tangled up in an affair with a fellow croupier and even with one of the gamblers, who convinces him to play a role in robbing the casino where he works. The film is tense throughout as we watch Jack get further and further into this twisted life while he remains frustratingly aloof the whole time, almost like he knows he’s wrong but wants to watch himself fall anyway.
The film is both glossy and gritty, and even watching the ball spin around the roulette wheel lends an edgy tension that matches the turns of the plot.
Run Lola Run (1998)
This German experimental thriller features two rounds of roulette that actually help save the day. Lola, played by Franka Potente, has just found out that her boyfriend was supposed to drop 100,000 Deutschmarks to his boss but lost the bag. The movie runs us through three different scenarios as Lola has 20 minutes to get 100,000 marks to her boyfriend before the boss kills him for not having the money.
In the first run, Lola dies. In the second run, the boyfriend dies. But in the third run-through, Lola wanders aimlessly into a casino and bets all of her money (100 marks) on the number 20. She wins, and at a 35-1 payout, she makes 3,500 marks right then and there. She tempts fate and bets on 20 again, miraculously winning and running off with more than enough money to keep her boyfriend alive.
Run, Lola Run is a movie with a relentless pace, exhausting the audience while we hope that maybe this time Lola can get the money and save a life. But it’s also a film that illustrates chaos theory and how one small interaction can change an entire day’s outcome.
California Split (1974)
California Split is one of those character-driven movies from the 1970s that isn’t afraid to show how low some people can get. Starring George Segal as Bill Denny and Elliott Gould as Charlie Waters, this movie follows a pair of compulsive gamblers always chasing that big win.
Bill and Charlie find themselves falling deeper and deeper under the spell of gambling, having met over a poker table and proceeding to try their luck at blackjack, roulette, and craps to get more and more money. But it starts to feel like winning money is just a side benefit — they drunkenly bet each other on the names of the Seven Dwarfs to whether or not a mugger believes that they’ve given him all their money. The thrill and terror of gambling itself is its own drug for them, and we watch them with a wild mix of terror and cynicism as they continue down this desperate path.
We watch Bill become so agitated when a game of roulette isn’t going his way that he loses it on Charlie for a moment, and we start to wonder whether these two men will be utterly ruined by the story’s end — not just financially, but emotionally.
Indecent Proposal (1993)
Love or hate this one, you can’t deny that everything in Indecent Proposal hinges on a game of roulette.
Young married couple David (played by Woody Harrelson) and Diana (played by Demi Moore) are hard up financially. Then they get the idea in their heads to take their meager savings to Las Vegas and try to win enough money to bankroll David’s dream real estate project.
They have one successful night at the tables, but on the second night their beginner’s luck turns sour. They bet everything on red and lose it all in one spin of the wheel. As they try to make their way out of the casino and head home, a billionaire (played by Robert Redford) asks Diana to be his lucky charm in a round of craps. She helps him win, and then he suggests to the couple his “indecent proposal”: He’ll give the couple $1 million if Diana will sleep with him.
The rest of the film explores David and Diana’s insecurities and resentment of each other after this one fateful night that happened because of one unlucky spin at a roulette table.
This World War II classic is all about tragedy mixed with romance, even down to an iconic scene featuring a rigged roulette wheel. Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart) is the owner of Rick’s Café American in Casablanca during the war. He’s just learned that his lost love, Ilsa, has shown up in Casablanca with her husband and will do what she can to help him escape the Nazis and continue his resistance work.
A young Bulgarian woman comes to Rick asking for advice on getting her and her husband out of Casablanca. Instead of allowing the girl to prostitute herself for exit visas, he coolly goes up to her husband at the roulette table and suggests that he bet on 22. His dealer quickly catches on, ensuring that the ball will land on the stated number. He urges the husband to bet on 22 one more time, then tells him to cash out and never come back.
The scene shows audiences that, as much as Rick tries to be a cynic while doing business in Vichy Morocco, he still has a soft spot for two young lovers trying to make their way in a war-torn world. We’ll never know if they make it to America safely, but it’s a spot of hope in a film that is otherwise filled with hardships.
Roulette + Movies = A Perfect Match
These five movies show that roulette is a thrilling game to watch, let alone play. Before you sit down to log in to your favorite online roulette casino, try one of these flicks to get you in a dramatic mood.