When they’re done well, casino scenes make for glued-to-your-seat cinema. High stakes, furtive glances across the card table, the suspense of the roulette wheel, and all-or-nothing wagers that pitch our hero against the villain; whether you’re an avid poker player or you’ve never bet a penny in your life, it’s hard not to enjoy a great casino movie.
At NetBet, we’re big fans of casino movies. Here are five of the best casino scenes that have made cinema history. If you’re already a fan, watch them again, and if you haven’t seen them all, check ’em out!
1. Casino (1995): ‘Take Your Feet Off the Table’
The quintessential casino film, Scorsese’s ‘Casino’ is a jewel in Robert De Niro’s acting crown. He delivers one of his most iconic performances as mob boss Ace Rothstein, a character roughly based on a real life Vegas casino owner. His calm, collected and level-headed manner means he can easily deal with people who get in his way. A standout scene from ‘Casino’ is when he coolly throws a rude, shoeless cowboy out of his establishment, head-first.
2. Casino Royale (2006): ‘Bond vs Le Chiffre’
Perhaps the most memorable game of poker in recent cinema history, the buildup to the final hand scene between James Bond and the inimitable villain Le Chiffre in ‘Casino Royale’ is an entertainment masterpiece. Midway through a high stakes game, Le Chiffre slips Bond a deadly poison. Believing he has killed his opponent, Le Chiffre is looking to clean up, but Bond miraculously survives a cardiac arrest and appears back at the poker table looking fresh, to Le Chiffre’s shock and disbelief, before beating him with a straight flush.
3. Ocean’s Eleven (2001): ‘Rusty Ryan Teaches Cards’
The establishing scene in this iconic remake of the 60s classic shows just how powerful and revealing a well-executed poker scene can be. The scene is packed with young actors, led by Brad Pitt’s charming Rusty Ryan, the right hand man to Clooney’s Danny Ocean. Rusty is teaching them to play cards. Packed with its trademark tongue-in-cheek humour, this scene is one of many that make the movie so timeless and enjoyable.
4. Rounders (1998): ‘The Judges’ Game’
The dramatic poker scene from this classic Matt Damon film will have your eyes glued to the screen. The young student enters the scene where a group of senior lawyers are playing poker. They see him as an inexperienced youngster, when in fact he’s a poker expert. We get an insight into Mike McDermott (Damon’s) mind: ‘The amazing thing is in this great collection of legal minds, there isn’t a single real card player’, before he reads everyone perfectly and wins his professor the pot.
5. Rain Man (1988):’Rain Man Plays Blackjack’
This critically acclaimed film features one of our favourite casino scenes: the icons that are Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise play two brothers who couldn’t be more different. When Hoffman’s character, the autistic savant Raymond ‘Rain Man’, turns out to be a deft hand at cards, Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) recognises his potential. The two head to a Las Vegas casino where they play blackjack and Ray’s incredible memory wins them a fortune.
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