5 Best Movies Inspired By Gambling

Cinema and gambling share a lot in common. Both serve to break the boredom and monotony that creep into each of our lives. While sports betting is all about razzmatazz and glamour, it’s also a symbol of opulence and bon vivant lifestyle. On the other hand, cinema also associated with leisure and luxury. We all have seen Ian Fleming’s 007 exuding his larger-than-life persona on the big screen in over two dozen films.  Now, three of these films are closely related to the idea of betting and gambling viz. Casino Royale (1967), Diamond for Forever (1971), and Casino Royale (2006), starring Peter Sellers, Sean Connery, and Daniel Craig, respectively, as James “007” Bond. Some other important films revolving around the theme of betting are Gambling Lady (1930), The Gambler (1974)—an adaptation of the novel of the same name by the great Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky—Goodfellas (1990), Casino (1995), among others. And, just like we have betting inspired movies, there are movie inspired betting games that can be played on online casino/gaming sites. Of course, there are also sites for calculating your betting returns.

Over the years there have been many movies based on the theme of betting. But today we plan to talk about only the best amongst them. Here’s our compilation of the 5 best movies inspired by gambling:

#5. Ocean’s Eleven

Remake of the '60s classic Ocean’s 11, this modern classic is best known for its uber-cool ensemble cast comprising the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, and Matt Damon. Not to mention that it features some of the best heist sequences ever shot in cinema history. Just consider its incredible climax and the great element of surprise that underlines it ingeniousness. Since then the movie has inspired two sequels but both are nowhere near the class of Ocean’s Eleven.  

#4. Casino Royale

This Martin Campbell film is often regarded as the best James Bond film ever made. But that discussion is for some other time. Today we need to discuss its merits as a movie based on gambling. Anyone who has seen the movie will vouch for the brilliant performance delivered by Daniel Craig. At the heart of the movie is the high-stakes poker game between James Bond and Le Chiffre (menacingly played by Mads Mikkelsen). The tension in the gambling sequences is absolutely unrelenting.       

#3. Bob le Flambeur

Jean-Pierre Melville is probably best known for films like Le Samouraï and Le Cercle Rouge. But long before he made these masterpieces, Melville made a brilliant film called Bob le Flambeur which in many ways can be described as the precursor to the French New Wave films. And, yes, Melville employed the hand held camera and the jump cuts long before one Jean-Luc Godard. As a film revolving around gambling, Bob le Flambeur has few equals. Over the years, the film’s deeply atmospheric noir style has been endlessly imitated but never replicated. Playing the part of a middle-aged gambler, Roger Duchesne is a sight to behold. Vintage Melville and Duchesne, Bob le Flambeur is truly one for the ages.     

#2. Casino  

Many Martin Scorsese fans describe Goodfellas as his best gangster film. As wacky as it is as a gangster flick, Casino is ten times wackier. The trio of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone is like a dream in itself and under Scorsese’s direction it attains a different level of brilliance altogether. If you ever wondered what it takes to run a mafia-backed casino then you needn’t go look further then Robert De Niro’s Sam 'Ace' Rothstein. Here is character that’s adorable and repugnant in equal measures. Few American films can match Casino in terms of character development and storytelling brilliance.

#1. The Hustler

Some would say that The Hustler is a film about pool. Before you start questioning its inclusion it is important to understand that the film is not really a sports film in the strictest sense. This is film about a small time pool hustler who just doesn’t know when to stop. Welcome to the world of high-stakes wagering revolving around the game of pool. If you think you have seen them all wait till you meet Fast Eddie. Essayed by the inimitable Paul Newman, Fast Eddie is the personification of everything that the game of gambling stands for. Often it is more about pride than money. And no one understands it better than the gambler. Despite all his panache, Fast Eddie is ultimately a tragic figure. But we celebrate his spirit none the less. Just as Chaplin once said, "Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”  

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