The Best Casino Movie Scenes

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Gambling Casino Royal movie

Casino entertainments do have a certain mark which makes many filmmakers think about including some gambling scenes in their work. Such a luxurious atmosphere of gambling venues stuffed with tuxedoed men and dressed-to-kill women is definitely able to serve as a basis for many remarkable incidents. Gambling itself, as an activity which involves hope, risk, and tension, appear here as a kind of metaphor to accentuate certain other aspects of the story.

There aren’t so many movies out there depicting the intrinsic workings of casinos — the unbeatable classic here is obviously Martin Scorsese’s Casino — but many do include some breathtaking scenes shot in gambling facilities!

No James Bond Would Miss It

Casino James Bond 007 movie After more than 50 years of James Bond epics, there is certainly a deep-rooted stereotype about secret service agents who gamble. Once you hear “James Bond,” the casino scenes are probably the first things to come to mind. There are indeed many iconic moments of thrilling games with Bond at the table. Starting from the very first movie about this character — Dr. No (1962) — it is clear that the man has a risk-taking and seize-the-day type of lifestyle. Gambling, with martinis cocktails and gorgeous ladies nearby, are undoubtedly sine qua nons!

Dr. No actually opens with a casino scene — that’s how much risk is rooted in the psychology of the character! The agent plays chemin-de-fer (a type of baccarat), and that’s when he meets Sylvia, the first “Bond girl,” and introduces himself with the line that has soon become irritatingly popular: “Bond… James Bond.”

You hardly can find a movie from the series which doesn’t include a memorable casino scene. The agent has visited all the key gambling centers in the world: Las Vegas, Macau, and Monte Carlo, and also some other places too! Not every casino is real — some rooms were rebuilt in film studio locations. Here are some of the scenes that are sure to stick in the memory after you watch the movies:

  • Thunderball (1965): James Bond is playing cards with the criminal Emilio Largo. The agent meets this powerful villain for the first time amid the tensions of a high stakes game.
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969): Bond rescues Contessa after her unreasonable wager at roulette. The shooting of the main scenes took place in the Casino Estoril, Portugal.
  • Diamonds Are Forever (1971): here, the agent plays craps in a fictional casino under the name of Whyte House.
  • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974): this was one of the first movies to feature a floating casino in Macau. Taking into account that Floating Macau Palace was finally shuttered in 2007, this footage is especially precious, as it saves the remarkable image of the astonishing venue.
  • GoldenEye (1995): 007 beats a girl he’s about to get into an affair with at the baccarat table. This movie scene takes places in a famous casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
  • Casino Royale (2006): as the title suggests, this one will be full of gambling scenes more than any other Bond movie. Episodes of James playing against Le Chiffre (it’s Texas Hold’em this time) are metaphors of their confrontation in general. This picture is a perfect illustration of what life of a secret service agent is — risks, bluffing, and taking the opponents down.
  • Skyfall (2012): the Floating Dragon Casino (Bond visits Macau again) was actually shot from the exterior only, while the interior design was recreated at Pinewood Studios in the UK. There are many intriguing scenes with Bond sharing martini drinks with a stunningly beautiful woman and playing Sic Bo.

The Noir Tradition

The movie genre called noir is a peculiar combination of criminal and romantic stories. No wonder casinos occasionally appear in such pictures: their idea corresponds to the very concept and mood of noir!

Casablanca (1942) is the all-time classics of the genre with the most worshiped actors of that time (Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman) playing the leading roles. The casino scene is not much related to the main movie action, but it is a key point in the main character’s development. Rig helps the young man he meets in a casino, in a blink of an eye turning from an indifferent and cynical person to someone really rather warmhearted!.

Casino Scenes May Be Hilarious as Well

History Hangover It may seem that casino movie scenes always go in hand with crime, danger, and intrigues. However, many famous comedies have proven this impression wrong, as funny gambling moments do come into the picture after all!

Let’s see what classical examples we have here:

  • Austin Powers International Man of Mystery (1997): in a ridiculous scene with the game of blackjack, Austin and Number Two play it completely wrong.
  • How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling (the episode of The Simpsons, 1993): it is no wonder that the legendary animated show that has been mocking absolutely everything from everyday American reality, finally made a satire on Las Vegas. In this episode, a casino is approved for the little town of Springfield, and everybody finally gets to sample a little bit of the sweet and sour taste of gambling. Homer acts like a blackjack dealer, Marge is getting addicted to slot machines, while Bart opens his own casino place right inside the treehouse.
  • The One in Vegas (the episode of Friends, 1999): the number one sitcom in the world moves a grand season finale to Las Vegas. The thrill of making personal decisions based on the dice and hilarious situations caused by the oddness of characters make this episode a memorable gambling extravaganza.
  • The Hangover (2009): it was at the iconic Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino where a group of friends lost the groom, even though they all came to Vegas in the first place because of him! Poor casino receptionists! One line, “This isn’t the real Caesar’s Palace, is it?” become so popular that its visitors never lose the chance to ask this question.

The Symbolism of Gambling

Using works in various ways has the potential to introduce a new level of tension, captivating viewers to the fullest. Or sometimes, it might actually do the opposite — lighten things up a little! Drama (check the award-winning Rain Man), romantic comedy (in Indecent Proposal, the craps game draws a parallel with a marriage), or thriller (a German film Run Lola Run features a short yet powerful scene about beating the odds at roulette) — practically any story can include a vibrant casino moment!

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