One of the biggest money spinning themes in the films in the last few decades has been the Casino film. Whether it was Martin Scorsese’s Casino which brought together the popular acting duo of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci once again or whether it was the Ocean’s Eleven remake with George Clooney and Brad Pitt the Casino setting has been popular and easy to use.
I will admit myself that I find the casino films fun. Mainly the setting of Las Vegas of course as the decadence of the whole setting and the dark undertones of the organised crime history behind the scenes creates an atmosphere of both fun and dangerous all at the same time.
Ocean’s Eleven is one of the films I would see as one of my many guilty pleasures. The charismatic cast are very easy to like and easily pull you into the story. I have seen the original with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the “Rat Pack” and also like that, but as the remake is more accessible with the number of repeats they show it’s often this one that I tend to see. Ocean’s Twelve was a more complicated film but at the same time still very interesting. Adding the mysterious master criminal to the mix acting as competition they are taken out of the Casino setting, which was a shame really as this was the first films strength. Ocean’s Thirteen came back with a bang adding Al Pacino to the list, but it’s just a shame that this one never really hit the mark. I did like how past enemies were brought into it to spice things up a bit, but I think the first film will always be the more entertaining.
The strongest Casino movie for me of course will be Martin Scorsese’s classic Casino. After Raging Bull and Goodfellas it was fairly obvious that Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were acting gold. In this movie they really managed to get their on screen chemistry back, I’d even argue that it was their performances that kept this film strong. It was a very interesting look into the underworld of the Casino but in the end it was the De Niro character that held your interest, you wanted to see him survive his downfall and see what Pesci would do next in his ambitions to become the leading force in the Casino world. Often strikingly violent this movie will always be seen as a classic, and probably most fans will see it as the best film of its type.
There are other casino movies of course but for me these were the best. Honourable mention of course should be given to Maverick much was a fun throwback to the TV series with Mel Gibson at his comedy best and focuses on the game of poker, but these stories tend to show a different side of the story. Poker is a skill game rather different from the majority played in the casinos. Most of these stories are filled with darkness and dangerousness poker players striving to become professionals faces.
Take Rounders, for example. It is a true classic casino movie that has drawn many people to try the game in real life. The finale may be a bright one, but it is pretty dark movie. An exciting movie featuring Edward Norton and Matt Damon, who is actually an avid poker player in real life. A sequel, Rounders 2 has been announced by no news have been released whether we will see the same actors or high-caliber poker stars like poker world champion Johnny Chan who had a part in the first part.
Casino Royale is a brilliant casino movie that also has quite a bit of poker in it. It stars Daniel Craig as first-time Agent 007. The movie is greatly entertaining. Unfortunately, it has the same ending as any other similar movie. A super strong hand that in real life might be dealt to you only once gets cracked by even a stronger one. I’m yet to see casino movie about poker that doesn’t end the same way.
But in any way, the casino will always be an interesting setting for these types of movies all because of its history, decadence and violence sells; it’s as simple as that. Any viewer finds these movies exciting and appealing because they can actually experience that thrill in any casino around them. Will millions of dollars exchanged and lives turned around, casino will always have new stories to tell and there will be directors ready to make it into an unforgettable movie.