Best Gambling Movies Of All Time That You Must See
Last Updated: March 12, 2023
Gambling has been a big part of the human experience since the earliest times, so it comes as no surprise that quite a few movies were made on the topic over the years.
Today, I take a look at a few of the best casino and gambling-related movies that came out of Hollywood and try to pinpoint the very best casino movie of all time.
The casino related films covered all sorts of time periods and places. Of course, many of it takes us to places like Atlantic City, Monte Carlo, or Las Vegas and features interesting poker hands along with exciting scenes.
The journey will take us into the world of mafia and drama as well as some of the finest comedies out there.
Without further ado, let’s start this journey through the best cinematographic achievements related to the gambling world. By the time we are done, you will have a full list of the best gambling movies of all time that you should definitely watch if gambling is your interest at all.
Top 13 Best Gambling Movies You Must See
There are plenty of comedies about gambling, but Let It Ride is probably the most iconic film in history.
Richard Dreyfuss plays a cab driver who happens to come across a great horse race betting tip and decides to use it at the track.
However, the adventure does not end at the single bet made as Jay continues to bet and seemingly can’t lose regardless of what he bets on.
While this may not quite be possible in the real world, the incredible scenario makes for some very funny scenes along the way.
Whether Let It Ride belongs on the best casino movies list is for you to decide, but we can guarantee that it’s one that will keep you laughing for a very long time.
Gambling may be a serious topic in most circumstances, but The House is an absolutely hilarious comedy that is bound to make you laugh as you follow a seemingly normal American family on an extraordinary journey.
Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler star as the Johansens, a couple who lost their daughter’s college scholarship at the last moment and are looking to make it right by any means necessary.
They decide to throw casino nights in their basement, and things get out of control really fast.
Anytime there is illegal gambling, the authorities and the criminals start snooping around, which’s exactly what happens to the Johansens. The only thing missing from this whole mess is a Strip poker game, but the action quickly gets exciting.
Check out The House if you are looking to fall out of your chair laughing and enjoy as this quirky couple brings their mission to a successful end.
Among the non-gambling movie fans, Ocean’s Eleven may just be the most popular of all casino movies ever made.
Starring none other than George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts, Ocean’s Eleven is a heist movie, but one that happens entirely in Las Vegas.
Danny Ocean and his crew target three Las Vegas casinos this time around, and the action is packed with gambling scenes from start to finish.
The movie's first scene has the main characters squaring off at a poker table, and things only escalate from there.
Whether you like gambling or not is completely beside the point, as Ocean’s Eleven is a blockbuster that can be fun for just about anyone.
Amazing acting, adrenaline-infused action, and hilarious comedy scenes make this one of the best gambling movies ever produced.
We start the list of our top ten gambling movies with Croupier, which was the film that launched Clive Owen’s career in many ways. This neo-noir picture features internal monologues common to noir detective films and an intriguing storyline.
The film follows Jack, an aspiring writer who takes a croupier job just to make ends meet.
However, the gambling world is more than Jack bargained for, and it soon becomes the center of his life. He quickly gets entangled in a web of lies and deceit that includes cheating on his girlfriend and planning a robbery of the very casino he works in.
While the movie's storyline may be exciting in itself, it is the characters in the focus of this picture.
If you enjoy delving into the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists themselves, Croupier is likely one of the best gambling movies you should have a look at.
Another amazing casino and poker film based around a real story, Molly’s Game, is the story of Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier who decided to run high stakes poker games to make it big in this world.
The story starts with Molly’s injury that eliminated her from sports competition and led her into the world of gambling.
Played by Jessica Chastain, Molly is portrayed as a brilliant and beautiful young female who knows how to capture the attention of men and do business.
Molly starts by running games for her millionaire boss but ends up going solo and starting her own games.
The whole thing spirals as the authorities get involved, and Molly is prosecuted for organizing an illegal gambling ring.
However, the journey is a remarkable one that will make you keep your eyes on the screen.
One of the casino movies that certainly make it into the history books is Atlantic City. Featuring young Susan Sarandon and an ever-brilliant Burt Lancaster in the main roles, Atlantic City tells the story of a city that was saved, in some ways, by the legalization of gambling.
The movie starts at a time when gambling was not legal anywhere on the East Coast and tells the story of how AC became one of the top gambling spots in the country.
The story follows regular Atlantic City people who are trying to make it in this brand new environment and a city that changed beyond recognition.
This timeless drama is easily a part of the gambling folklore and one that should be seen by anyone interested in the history of casinos and gambling in America.
Another one on a long list of movies about gambling centered around poker, Mississippi Grind follows a couple of young poker players on their trip from Iowa to New Orleans.
The couple is both amazing Texas Hold’em players but also somewhat reckless, leading to plenty of comical and exciting situations.
The players’ goal is to head down to New Orleans, win in poker games along the way and then make it big in a high stakes poker game there.
Of course, things take twists and turns on the way, making the entire experience less than perfect for the pair.
One of the top gambling movies of all time, Owning Mahowny stars Philip Seymour Hoffman as a real-world Canadian banker who simply took things too far.
Owning Mahowny is a movie based on a true story that will show you how true gambling addiction looks.
The story is a well-known one! Access to great amounts of money, a love for gambling, and occasional trips to Atlantic City.
Before things are said and done, Mahowny ends up owing a lot of money with no real way to pay any of it back.
This film is a true insight into the psyche of an obsessive gambler as it shows both the crazy side of gambling and the human side of a person struggling with addiction. Hoffman depicted this role brilliantly in a movie that certainly earns a place on our list.
The poker community has always been a competitive one, with many players going for the crown.
Widely recognized as one of the top gambling movies of all time, The Cincinnati Kid is a story of young hotshot player Eric “The Kid” Stoner who looks to take on the old guard, namely the widely recognized best poker player around, Lancey “The Man” Howard.
The Cincinnati Kid shows the world of gambling and poker as it used to be back in the day, before any fancy tournaments or the invention of online poker.
The characters are cocky beyond measure and so sure of their poker prowess they are willing to risk it all in just one game to prove they are the best.
Whether The Kid has what it takes to take on the title of the best, or The Man can keep his dreams dead is for you to find out. If you enjoy older pictures in general, this 1965 movie is bound to keep you glued to your chair.
The story of MIT’s super successful blackjack team has become somewhat of a legend among gamblers worldwide.
21, starring Kevin Spacey, is a drama depicting this popular story in an intriguing and exciting way.
The movie follows a group of talented and smart MIT students led by Ben, a mathematics major down on his luck. A brilliant teacher gets Ben and several other students to form a team and go to Atlantic City to beat the house out of millions at the blackjack tables, using card counting techniques.
However, as is usually the case, things take a turn for the worse. A mix of bad luck, inflated egos, and careful security guards makes the whole situation turn into a nasty affair.
Watch 21 to find out what happened to the team and who got the better end of the deal.
The game of blackjack has been in the center of many casino movies, and The Gambler is another one on that list. Mark Wahlberg plays the main role of a literature professor who enjoys playing blackjack as a hobby.
A little gambling never did anyone any harm, but Jim's character allows things to go too far, as so many do.
Jim ends up owing over $200.000 to some gangsters after a particularly unlucky session at the tables and spends the rest of the movie looking for ways to get out of his troubles.
The slightly predictable action ends in a single roulette spin that decides Jim’s final faith and providing spectators with an adrenaline-infused moment.
While The Gambler may not be the biggest scriptwriting masterpiece ever, it’s a fun film to see if you are a blackjack lover yourself. What’s more, the story teaches a lot about the potentially negative consequences of gambling when taken too far.
The gambler’s mentality is depicted quite well in this, one of the best casino movies that came out in the last decade.
If you enjoy the game of poker, you will love Mississippi Grind, and if you aren’t too familiar with the game, you may just end up falling for it.
The poker movie Rounders is the ultimate masterpiece among the poker players.
Matt Damon is the main star of Rounders, playing the young hotshot on New York’s underground poker scene, Mike McDermott.
The movie opens with Mike risking it all in a high stakes poker game against Russian mobsters and losing his entire bankroll. He vows to do things the “straight” way from then on and quits poker for a while.
The release of Mike’s old poker buddy Worm from prison sends Mike down the road of poker and gambling once again. They get into more trouble with the worst kind of guys, such as Teddy KGB once more, and Mike is forced to correct Worm’s mistakes.
Being a professional poker player today seems glamorous, but Rounders looks at the poker world before it was mainstream and shows us some appealing and some very freighting aspects.
Before Rounders is over, you will get to see relationships fall apart and dreams get reborn in a drama that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Rounders is the perfect movie for any card lover out there and one that the general public seems to like more than most other gambling movies, simply because of amazing acting and the characters' approachability.
Directed by the great Martin Scorsese himself, Casino is a film that fully depicts the original Las Vegas, the true Sin City.
Robert De Niro stars as Ace, a super-intelligent mafia related handicapper who gets hired to do a job for the mob. The job is to run The Tangiers, one of the first casinos on the Strip.
Ace is Irish and can never become a made guy, so he is given some “help” in the form of a gangster named Nicky Santoro. Mix in Sharon Stone as the luscious Ginger, a former prostitute who captures Ace’s hear, and you have yourself a true Las Vegas drama.
It is the amazing acting of De Niro, Pesci, and Stone, along with Scorsese’s master touches, that make Casino one of the top gambling movies ever created.
The movie offers a little bit of everything but mostly shows the raw Las Vegas as it used to be back in the 70s.
In a fashion common to mob-related movies, Casino ends with a bunch of killings and arrests and the transformation of Las Vegas to what it is today.
Any self-respecting gambling aficionado should watch Casino at least once and possibly get inspired by the amazing Ace himself.
These are the best casino gambling movies that you should watch!
If you are a fan of casino movies or simply love to experience the thrill of gambling without risking your own money, this cinema pictures list will give you all.
From thrilling experience in the main character's shoes to gambling world insights and mafia based casino operations, you will surely have a great time watching these films.
Grab a bowl of popcorns and relax next to your screen. You are about to have a great time!