If you think about it, isn’t everything in life a gamble? But some people just need more risky outlets to test out their lucks in. Gambling addictions have ruined plenty of lives and have served as inspiration for some of the best films to ever be made.
We’ve compiled them in this list of the 10 best gambling movies of all time? Are you willing to bet on whether your favorite gambling movie made it on here?
Top 10 Best Gambling Movies of All Time
The Sting (1973)
The Sting (1973) is a caper film featuring the iconic duo of Robert Redford and Paul Newman. Here they play an aspiring con artist and an old con man, respectively, who team up in order to take revenge against a crime big boss.
The film’s title refers to the part of a play when the con artist takes the mark’s money. It proved to be a success upon its release winning numerous awards including the Best Picture award at the Oscars.
Initially ignored in the box office, we think Rounders (1998) deserves some attention from film buffs.
In the film, we are introduced to the exciting and seedy world of high-stakes poker. We primarily follow the story of Mike, played by Matt Damon, who loses in a poker game against a Russian mobster called KGB, played by John Malkovich.
Together with a friend fresh out of prison, the two decide to play to win their money back again.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The film that started the Ocean’s heist film franchise, Ocean’s 11 (2001) introduces us to our favorite team of con artists determined to pull off ‘the heist to end all heists’.
Essentially a remake of a 1960s film of the same name, George Clooney steps into the role originally played by Frank Sinatra as the titular Danny Ocean. He is joined by a cast of other excellent actors like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Danny Garcia to complete his team.
Proving to be a box office success, the film is followed by to two more films (Ocean’s 12 in 2004 and Ocean’s 13 in 2007) and a spin-off with an all-female cast, Ocean’s 8 (2018).
The Gambler (1974)
In The Gambler (1974), James Caan stars as an English professor who suffers from a debilitating gambling addiction. Here, we see him spiraling down starting with losing a bet on a professional basketball game and getting his mother to bail him out of the $44,000 bet. But he doesn’t stop there. Unfazed, he proceeds to gamble at a big casino winning big at first but losing all his money on the same day as well.
The film made for a great character study and a look inside the darker side of humanity.
Casino Royale (2006)
In the film, we the beginnings of Agent 007’s career as an M16 agent. Here, he goes on a to bankrupt a known terrorist financier by trying to beat him in a game of high-stakes poker. We also get to meet Vesper Lynd, played exquisitely by Eva Green, for the first time.
It’s a shame how this amazing has been forgotten within film circles.
Croupier (1998) tells the story of a writer who takes on a job as a casino croupier. While working at the casino, he would eventually meet a woman whom he will partner with to hatch a plan to rob the casino.
We included the film on the best gambling movies list due to its very realistic portrayal of how a real casino operates. The film stars Clive Owen as the titular croupier. After the film gained audience, it helped launch Owen’s career as an actor.
Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight (1996) is a neo-noir crime film about a pro gambler and his protege.
The film was originally known under the title Sydney and was an expanded version of a working idea Anderson had and first used in the black and white film Coffee and Cigarettes (1993). It proved to be a critical success with critics like Roger Ebert calling the film an original one with compelling characters.
California Split (1974)
Said to be Robert Altman’s most overlooked film, California Split (1974) is more than just a gambling movie.
The film sought to explore the bond and relationship of two gamblers who are brought closer by their shared love for games of chance. The film allows the viewer access to this mad world of gambling in which people are unfortunately ensnared in.
After some unfortunate events, the film ends with the two friends splitting and going their separate ways.
Of course, a list of the best gambling movies is not complete without a mention of this Crime film.
After making Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese decided to make another film revolving around morality, violence, and greed. Thus, Casino (1995) came to be.
Scorsese takes us to the world of gambling and excess—Las Vegas. Here, Robert De Niro plays a lowly mobster who is assigned by his boss to run a casino. Things go well at first. But his business begins going south after the law and the people close to him make mistakes that might cause him everything he’s worked hard for. Casino is one of the best gambling movies of all time.
Bob Le Flambeur (1956)
From one of French cinema’s greatest crime and thriller directors comes Bob Le Flambeur (1956).
In the film, we have told the story of an aging and broke gambler who plans a heist to rob a casino. Desperate, the act is not just a way for the man to get money but to also fulfill what he feels is a part of him as a person– gambling.
Aside from its interesting story, the film is also known for its pioneering filming techniques of handheld recording which would eventually influence American filmmakers to do the same.
What’s your favorite movie about gambling? Did you find it on our list of top 10 gambling movies of all time? Tell us in the comments below!