The Movie Waffler Uncovering the Gripping Link between Movies and Gambling | The Movie Waffler

Uncovering the Gripping Link between Movies and Gambling

Uncovering the Gripping Link between Movies and Gambling

Movies about casinos and gambling are enjoyable because they frequently have high stakes, dramatic settings, and likable individuals who must overcome obstacles and make difficult choices. The story is made more exciting and dramatic by the uncertainty of the result and the thrill of the consequences. Casinos and the act of gambling also offer a backdrop for examining concepts like the results of one's actions. 

There have been some superb casino or gambling movies and Hollywood has long been enthralled by putting it all on the line. 

All in

Movies about casinos and gambling have been produced for many years and come in a variety of forms. More recent gambling and casino movies have looked to open people’s eyes to the inside world of gambling and explain terms such as the RTP of a casino game, blinds, whales, bluffing, and the house edge among others. Previously, movies simply used casinos as a glamorous backdrop and there was little focus on the actual games being played and the tactics being employed. Several documentaries have also lifted the lid on gambling and the casino industry, providing people with a glimpse inside what used to be a sector cloaked in secrecy. 

While many movies include gambling and casinos, they do tend to fall into a few distinct categories. 

Las Vegas origin movies focus on the notorious characters that formed Sin City and their demise in the mid-1980s.

Movies on casino games frequently center on poker or blackjack. In a high-stakes poker tournament or cash game, tension increases as players compete with one another. Blackjack typically requires using a "fool-proof" strategy to defeat the house.

While there might be movies that don’t exactly fall into one of these categories, these are the types of movies we tend to frequently see. Other games such as roulette or craps will feature in movies, but rarely form a basis of the feature and can simply be a plot device or interesting backdrop for character development.

Over the years

Movies and casinos have a strong relationship that has been explored in various films over the years. Starting with the silent movie The Cheat in 1915 starring Fannie Ward, there is a rich history of casino and gambling movies. The success of that movies paved the way for Lights of New York in 1928 as the first all-talkie casino film and kicked off a string of popular gambling-themed films in the early 1930s.

Though the genre saw a dip in popularity during the 1940s due to World War II, it made a comeback in the 1950s with classics like the film noir The Man with the Golden Arm starring Frank Sinatra and musical comedy Pal Joey with Rita Hayworth and Sinatra again.

The 1960s and 1970s were the heydays of casino and gambling movies with iconic titles such as the original Ocean's 11 with Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. and The Sting with professional grifters Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

In the 80s, Tom Cruise taught us the art of pool hustling with Newman in The Color of Money.

Maverick, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Croupier, and Rounders made the 90s something of a golden age of gambling movies and the emergence of online casinos may have been a contributing factor in this. 

This century, we’ve had the remake of Ocean’s 11 and the resulting sequels or reboots, while Casino Royale gave us James Bond truly engaged in an unbelievable game of poker and Uncut Gems was a surprise hit. A few movies like Molly’s Game with Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba were inspired by true stories, and have futher revealed the world of gambling to viewers. 

Hopefully, we’ll see another resurgence of the casino gambling movie genre and some more classics will join the amazing titles that have come before. Some of these movies have become so iconic that fans often visit the real locations to experience the thrill of the casino for themselves.