There are several great gambling movies, especially those that focus on the big winners. Casino, The Cincinnati Kid, and even Rounders are great movies about gambling, but if you’re looking for a movie that’s mostly about poker, then you should check out Rounders. The movie stars Matt Damon, John Malkovich, Edward Norton, and plenty of other big names.
When it comes to movies about gambling, Rounders is the clear champion in terms of quality. The story of a young law school graduate who can’t find a job, so he decides to become a professional gambler is an intelligent, well-made film featuring outstanding performances from Edward Norton, Matt Damon, and John Malkovich.
The movie’s director, John Dahl, has directed many other great movies. While Rounders is still his best work, it’s certainly worth watching his other efforts like The Last Seduction (featuring Linda Fiorentino), You Kill Me (which is easily my favorite comedy of the 2000s), and Joy Ride (a horror/thriller with Steve Zahn).
In the movie “Casino,” Robert De Niro plays Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, a Las Vegas boss who finds himself caught up in a web of gangsters, mobsters and gamblers. In real life, Rothstein would have been the one holding the cards – instead, he’s the one who lost everything.
The real-life Rothstein was a genuine gangster, a member of a crime syndicate that controlled the Chicago underworld in the 1930s. He was an associate of Al Capone and got his nickname ‘Ace’ for winning a poker game against Capone. The name stuck.
At his height, Rothstein owned casinos and nightclubs in Chicago as well as gambling establishments throughout Nevada. In 1931, he opened the Flamingo Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip – it became The Flamingo Landmark Hotel & Casino after being run by others for decades – and built other casinos around Las Vegas.
Casino Royale is a movie about the Bond character that is true to the literary character. The movie was very well received and did extremely well at the box office. I’d like to think that this movie represents a sort of turning point in the Bond franchise, and also marks an important literary milestone in Fleming’s career.
While I won’t make any claims about Casino Royale being Fleming’s best book (I haven’t read them all), I do think it represents his best work as a novelist. This is the only book that Fleming wrote that he intended for publication. He wrote it to try to sell it, and while he may not have been able to sell it, he did find a willing publisher, which helped him get his foot in the door at one of Britain’s leading publishing houses. While it didn’t take off at first, the book became a very important part of his career and paved the way for many more books and adaptations of his work.
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid is a gambling movie. The only thing the Cincinnati Kid doesn’t gamble on is himself. He has no illusions about himself. If the Kid lost, he’d take his beating and look forward to the next game. He’s a good loser and a good winner. When he wins, he knows why: “I won because I didn’t lose my head, that’s all.”
The movie is about his last game against Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson), who has been winning consistently by using marked cards and having his partner (Rip Torn) cheat for him. Now he faces the Kid, who doesn’t need marked cards—he can see them in the faces of his opponents—and doesn’t need a partner—he can read minds just as well by himself. The movie is packed with characters who are real actors playing real characters, not movie stars playing symbols of their images.