We’re back for round two of some great films related to the casino life. Take some time between online casino visits and check out a few!
After a few hours of hitting the slots or tables at your favorite online casino, kick back and watch a good movie about casino life. There are plenty of fantastic films about gambling, so check out these 10 movies about gambling wins and losses, both real and fictional.
Getting caught up in the risky thrill of betting is easy for many people, but getting out can be hard. It can help if you have a pal, though, which is the basis of Mississippi Grind. Gerry, an avid gambler, owes a lot of money to a local loan shark. He meets a young poker player, Curtis, who eagerly agrees to go on Gerry’s gambling adventure to rack up money to pay off the sharks. The pair travel around the south, playing poker, betting on horses, and making the rounds of any table or machine they find.
Throughout the adventure, Gerry makes all sorts of questionable decisions that get him further into trouble and jeopardize his growing friendship with Curtis. And a major part of this movie is watching these two characters play off one another as Gerry tries to regain control of his life. Plus, it’s filled with great dramatic arcs and strong acting from both Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn, making it a must-see film you may have missed.
This ‘70s classic stars James Caan as Axel Freed, a professor with a pretty serious gambling addiction. He borrows money from everyone in his life, including his girlfriend and his mother, and when he’s cut off from them, he borrows from mob loan sharks. But when the mob comes to retrieve the money they gave him, Axel must find a way to pay them off and give back the money he took from his family to repair his relationships. And his solution is to bet just a bit more and win big to come out on top.
Sound familiar? That’s because this film is the predecessor to the 2014 Mark Wahlberg feature of the same name. What sets this film apart from the 2014 version is James Caan’s impressive performance as Axel and his ability to convey the very real challenges of someone with gambling addiction. What’s more, the writer, James Toback, based the script off of his own challenges, making the story feel that much more real.
A lot of the movies on this list are hard-hitting dramas, but thankfully you can have a good laugh with this one. Let It Ride is a silly celebration of the best day any player could ever have. After getting a tip about a horse race, Jay Trotter bets on a sure-to-win pony and wins. Then things start to just keep going right for him, and he bets his winnings again and again.
It’s a fun romp starring Richard Dreyfuss that explores a common dream of being so incredibly lucky, but it also has a few personal challenges regarding Jay’s marriage that balance out the fantastical nature of his luck. Nearly anyone can identify with the lead character, who loves to gamble but can’t seem to win big, and his giddy excitement for being able to win big over and over and over again.
In this film, Sally is a waitress who moves to Atlantic City to become a blackjack dealer and eventually be one in Monte Carlo. Her neighbors are Lou, a former gangster and contemporary of Bugsy Siegel, and the woman in his care, Grace, who was once married to the mobster Lou served. The three all become entangled in a lethal mess when Sally’s ex comes to town with drugs he needs to peddle and the dangerous people he stole the drugs from.
Though not about gambling specifically, this film explores the seedy underground of AC that developed during the city’s rapid casino expansion and increase in vices. It’s a critically acclaimed drama starring Susan Sarandon, which provides a woman’s perspective on this world that isn’t often the focus of a film like this.
Starring Matt Damon, Rounders follows the story of Mike McDermott, a young, very skilled poker player who had racked up huge wins while playing at underground high-stakes poker tables at local clubs. But after losing all his money to club owner Teddy KGB, Mike gets out of the game. That is, until his old gambling pal Worm ropes him back in to win the money Worm needs to pay off his debt to KGB. Being the good friend he is, Mike agrees, putting himself in danger of losing the love of his life and his future.
You get to see stellar plays and bluffing strategies in action while Mike plays against solid players, including Teddy KGB during the final showdown. It’s also a fascinating look into the underground poker world and the struggles of balancing the benefits of being so skilled at the game and the risk of losing it all with one bad hand. This ‘90s film also features many other amazing actors, including John Malkovich, Edward Norton, John Tuturo, and others, making it a must-watch if you’re a movie buff.
Uncut Gems tells the story of Howard Ratner, a professional jeweler with a gambling addiction who just doesn’t know when to stop. When Howard smuggles in a rare and valuable gem, he has a chance to turn his life around. However, he loans it out to basketball player Kevin Garnett as a good luck charm and gets Garnett’s championship ring as collateral. He pawns off the ring for a pretty penny and then uses that money to bet on Garnett’s game that night. But when his sports bet doesn’t go the way he thought, Howard’s in it even deeper.
This film is known for being a wild ride of bad choices, tense confrontations, and amazing acting from Adam Sandler as Howard, a role that stands out from many of his others in a good way.
This classic 1965 film tells the story of a Depression-era poker player named Eric “The Kid” Stoner (played by Steve McQueen) who seeks to be the best player in the world. But, in order to do that, he has to beat the current best player in the world. We’re treated to edge-of-seat intense poker playing, betrayals, and the poker community politics of New Orleans.
While some critics thought this film was a lesser version of Paul Newman’s The Hustler, it actually seems to hold up a bit better given it’s about poker, which is very popular these days.
In this 1998 film, Clive Owen plays a writer down on his luck and out of story ideas. He becomes a croupier, or gaming dealer, at a London casino and gets sucked into the world. He even catches himself in a bit of a heist to help out a new lady love, too. In addition to this turn, he uses his new job at the tables to write his novel about a croupier who revels in seeing players risk it all and lose. Soon, the line between creating a character and turning into the character is blurred.
Based on a true story, Owning Mahowny follows a fraudulent scandal of one man who tries so desperately to fund his gambling habit that he risked his career and skimmed from the bank accounts of many Canadians. It stars the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dan Mahowny, who earns promotion after promotion as a bank manager in Canada and gets access to large amounts of money via the bank’s accounts. And while other films may focus on the hustle of finding more money to gamble, Owning Mahowny focuses more on exploring how Dan’s addiction impacts his choices.
These are just some of the fantastic films about the risks, thrills, and challenges that can often come from casino life. And the performances are often so stellar that you feel like you’re right next to the characters, so it’s a great way to spend your downtime away from playing your favorite online casino games.
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