The world of casinos is glamorous, exciting, and beckons you closer with the promise of instant wealth. If you love casino bandits (one-armed or otherwise), then we have the best lineup for your next weekend movie marathon!
1. Casino (1995)
Sam “Ace” Rothstein is appointed by the Chicago Mafia to skim money from their Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. At first, his talent for illegal profit earns him the respect of the Midwest Mafia bosses and they send his childhood friend and enforcer, Nicky Santoro, to protect him.
But as the years pass by, Nicky’s side hustles, Sam’s unpredictable wife, and the tightening noose of the authorities are just some of the problems leading Sam down a path of disgrace and violence.
2. Rounders (1998)
Mike McDermott is a law student but his passion lies with poker. Convinced that he’s got what it takes to win the World Series of Poker, he tries to increase his funds but overconfident, McDermott loses his entire $30,000 bankroll in an underground game.
With his dream shattered, he takes a regular job to make ends meet. But when his cheating poker buddy gets into debt with the same underground players, McDermott returns to the table to save his friend and hopefully win enough to enter the World Series.
3. Rain Man (1988)
Money-loving Charlie Babbitt is upset to learn that he’s been cut out of his father’s will. Following the $3 million estate, Charlie discovers it had been left to an older brother he never knew existed. In order to get control over the money, Charlie removes his autistic brother Raymond from an institution and takes custody of him.
After Charlie realizes that Raymond is a savant that can win at casinos, he sees it as a chance to win big. But as he grows fonder of his brother, Charlie learns that inheritance and jackpots are not everything.
4. 21 (2008)
Ben is accepted into Harvard Medical School but cannot pay the $300,000 tuition. This makes him a low-hanging fruit for Micky Rosa who wants to add a brilliant mathematics major, like Ben, to his blackjack team. The team rakes in huge profits using card counting and signals, throwing Ben into the life of a high roller. But he soon discovers that cheating the house comes with dangers from both casino security and his own team.
5. The Gambler (2014)
Jim Bennet is a literature professor in LA with a dangerous losing streak in the underground gambling world. Owing a total debt of nearly half a million, Jim has to borrow, fix sports games, and play high-stakes games to avoid losing his loved ones and his own life.
6. Casino Royale (2006)
MI6 operative James Bond joins a high-stakes casino tournament. The game is hosted by Le Chiffre, an Albanian that bankrolls terrorists.
Le Chiffre will do anything to win back the millions his investors lost after Bond had previously stopped a terrorist attack. Bond is tasked with bankrupting the banker at the casino to force him to seek protection from his clients with the British in exchange for information about the underworld.
But the fight soon leaves the card table and wrecks buildings, romances, and bad guys – Bond style.
7. Mississippi Grind (2015)
This tale follows the hapless gambler Gerry who forever seems to miss the quick wealth that he seeks inside casinos. One night, he meets fellow gambler Curtis and the pair strike up a friendship going to bars and race tracks.
But when Gerry’s loan shark closes in, he convinces Curtis to go with him on a gambling spree down the Mississippi River. Gerry’s losing streak and lies threaten to ruin the friendship and plunge him further into debt but they get together one last time to play the house for the big win.
8. Molly’s Game (2017)
After Molly Bloom’s dream of being an Olympic skier is ruined by a serious injury, she takes a job running Dean’s underground gambling lounge. He fires her for becoming too good and she starts her own poker games.
As her clientele grows, she attracts the attention of authorities and the Italian mafia, threatening her freedom and safety. To survive, Molly has to learn to deal with her own growing drug addiction, shady players, professional criminals and the FBI.
9. Owning Mahowny (2003)
This story follows Dan Mahowny’s downfall due to a compulsive gambling addiction. At first, his life goes well where he works at Toronto Bank with his girlfriend, getting promotions and access to larger accounts.
But Mahowny cannot control the urge to go to a casino in Atlantic City where he plays with money stolen from the accounts and where he soaks up the royal treatment he receives from the casino manager. But when police investigate Mahowny’s booky, the discovery of his own crimes are inevitable.
10. Uncut Gems (2019)
Bad luck follows a black opal that lands in the hands of gambling addict Howard Ratner. He runs a jewelry store and believes that the gem can fetch him a princely sum he can use to pay off a deadly loan shark and his henchmen.
But he allows an NBA star to borrow the opal for good luck before a game and struggles to get it back. Ratner tries to raise the money for his debts but as his debtors interfere with his bets and the opal’s value turns out to be insufficient, he faces a one-way street to a very bad place.