This article was researched and developed by Martin Robinson, online pokies Australia game and gambling industry professional, and website owner of pokiesman.com.
Movies about gambling, especially the true-to-life ones, are quite exciting to watch. They are movies about risk, which can become suspenseful to the viewer. If you are into casino movies and don’t know what to watch next – here are some of the best casino movies.
We will include the best casino movies on Netflix, other streaming services, and classic casino movies on this list. So get ready for a thrill as we present the top casino movies of all time. Note that these are based on our opinion and ratings. For people who enjoy watching casino movies, this list of gambling movies should be on your watchlist.
Casino Games Rising
Because staying at home is common these days, the rise of online casino games got peoples’ attention. It also got the attention of game developers as well as movie producers inspired to create movies based on books, real life, and fictional stories. The online global gambling market just continues to significantly grow with the increasing number of internet users and increasing access to online gaming platforms. Because you don’t need to leave your home to play your favorite pokies and slot games, it is only evident that casino games will rise even higher in the following years.
Best Casino Movies
Top gambling movies have been around for a while but are only growing to be a more mainstream genre. Movies such as Casino Royale from the 1960s up to the highly-rated movies like Molly’s Game and Uncut Gems have been embraced by both movie buffs and casino enthusiasts around the globe. If you haven’t watched any famous casino movies in this genre, you can expect to see a lot of twists, suspense, accurate reimagination of scenarios on the casino floor, and more. You would also see some action sequences and exciting stories following an elaborate format. Some top casino movies are full of action, heists, and excellent writing that follows either the main character trying their luck or developing to become a high roller or building an empire.
These good casino movies are also filled with drama and bitter-sweet but satisfying stories that will have you questioning reality and promote critical thinking. Casino movies are not just part of an existing film genre, but they developed to become a strong genre of their own. Now that you know most of what to expect from this exhilarating movie genre, here is a top casino movies list of all time.
1. Casino Royale (1967)
If you only heard about the 2006 James Bond Casino Royale movie and liked it, this classic will get you excited for more James Bond action—at least that is what you will expect from a 007 movie. However, Casino Royale 1967 follows the Woody Allen James Bond Character, which is the original James Bond. Although it might be old, it is still as exciting and action-packed as any other modern Bond film—with the addition of chaos and a touch of comedy. This famous casino movie features 5 different directors shooting independently, which caused chaos in the production. But despite all of that, it turned out to be one of the best casino and James Bond films out there because of the unique portrayal of the secret agent.
2. California Split (1974)
California Split is one of the best casino movie dramas, which is why we included it in this list. Although we couldn’t find any streaming services that have this movie, you will probably find a VHS or DVD in a Walmart or garage sale somewhere. The story is about two compulsive gamblers named Bill and Charlie, played by George Segal and Elliot Gould respectively.
They met in a California poker parlor and after a heated poker match, they were robbed in the parking lot by sore losers. You don’t need to know about gambling or poker to enjoy this film. All you need to know is that you are in for a wild ride as you follow our two main characters as they undertake private poker parties, bars, and Las Vegas casinos. This is one of the best gambling movies based on a true story.
3. Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975)
Tamara Dobson plays the tough heroine Cleopatra in this old gambling movie. She is a former tall white model who turns into a secret United States narcotics agent based in Hong Kong, tracking a major source of heroin. However, Cleopatra isn’t like any other secret agent. Instead of looking inconspicuous, she dresses very loudly, sometimes wearing capes, hoods, and other accessories—which are bulletproof by the way. This is one of the most popular casino movies that are relevant even now.
Following the events of two narcs dying, she trails and searches for the vicious Dragon Lady, played by Stella Stevens. This dragon lady runs the largest casino in Macau, which is a front for organized crime. What makes this best casino movie unique is the introduction of Asian kung-fu elements and well-choreographed action scenes.
4. The God of Gamblers (1989)
This casino/gangster thriller has it all—The God of Gamblers features drama, comedy, action, and suspense all in one film. This casino/gangster thriller has it all – The God of Gamblers features drama, comedy, action, and suspense all in one film. This famous casino movie didn’t have a proper US release. But despite that, it is one of the best movies of all time with a significant following in the US. It stars Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau, and Joey Wang. Do San, played by Chow Yun-Fat is a legendary gambler and plays the old gambling movies namesake—The God of Gamblers.
With the God of Gambler’s supernatural abilities, he uses it to win high-stakes card games to help a friend pay a large debt. It is filled with fun scenes to watch, thanks to the advanced cinematography, camera angles, and music that bring the film to life. Everything from the plot, the actors, and the side characters work in harmony to create a meaningful cinema experience—whether you are into gambling or not.
5. Maverick (1994)
This Mel Gibson gambling movie is one of the good casino gambling movies of the 90s. It is a lighthearted Western movie that feels so natural, especially the acting. It features a star-studded cast, featuring household names like Jodie Foster and Alfred Molina.
It follows the story of Bret Maverick, played by Mel Gibson, a cheerful gambler who prefers to use his charm to con people instead of using violence. It was based on the 1950s TV show with the same title, and even features the actor who originated the role, James Garner. Although Garner plays a different character, it is fun to see the meta callbacks from the original TV show when these actors work side by side.
Overall, it is a fantastic movie from start to finish—every 129 minutes of it. Although it is a little too long and might not feature a lot of realism, it still makes you dream of entering a world series poker match and meeting some of the world’s best poker players.
6. Casino (1995)
If you are a Martin Scorsese fan, you probably know this casino movie is going to be good. Starring Sharon Stone and the one and only Robert De Niro—which is no surprise if it’s a Scorsese film, this casino movie features a serious plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
This casino movie features a darker theme than the others we talked about so far. It is a slow-burn drama about greed, deception, power, money, and crime between two best friends. This movie is set in Las Vegas, the city of dreams where one has a chance to come home a millionaire, at least that is what every gambler has on their mind.
Of course, casinos don’t make everyone millionaires, and this story tackles people trying their luck but getting mixed up with the mob in the process. It is narrated by Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro.
He explains the interesting process of how the mob skims money from slot machines, convert them into bills, and how it gets delivered to the Kansas City Mob. Just like any Scorsese film, it contains intense scenes, fulfilling character development, and a lot of violence.
7. Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight is a tale about a man named Sydney, played by Philip Baker Hall. He is a man who has been gambling for a long time, and with his experience in the subject—he took on a mentor to pass on his casino knowledge.
His mentor John is played by John C. Reilly—who you probably know from a lot of early 2000s comedy films, including the iconic film “Step Brothers.” He is a kid who lost everything and needs $6000 to bury his deceased mother.
The movie gets really interesting from the start of the first scene where Sydney teaches John how to get a free room in the casino by just losing $150 and making it look like he already lost $2000. If you like a good casino movie that shows significant character development, this movie will be a good watch for you.
8. Rounders (1998)
This Matt Damon casino movie is another movie about compulsive gambling. It follows the story of Mike (Matt Damon), a law student and mediocre poker player who gambles away his tuition money, which will eventually lead to a series of unfortunate events.
It is a poker movie that is both knowledgeable and entertaining. It starts with an exhilarating opening sequence where Mike loses $30,000 of his tuition money to Teddy KGB, a hustler, and mobster played by John Malkovich. But the real excitement begins when his best friend Worm, played by Edward Norton, gets out of prison.
The worm is somehow connected to the criminal underground world and owes money to a lot of people, which starts the series of winning and losing it all. With these criminal elements, the movie is still a fun movie about poker that is entertaining to watch if you are a fan.
9. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
This heist movie is one of the best movies of all time, not just in the casino genre. It features a star-studded cast and an elaborate plan to steal from the Bellagio, a Las Vegas casino. The story starts with Danny Ocean (George Clooney), less than 24 hours into his parole, and already rolling out his next big heist.
Danny might be a thief, but he is a charismatic thief who has three rules: don’t hurt anyone, don’t steal from people who don’t deserve it, and play the game like you have nothing to lose. Ocean’s 11 consists of skilled individuals and con men, including Rusty, played by Brad Pitt, Linus, played by Matt Damon, and more.
The plan is to steal from Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who also happens to be Danny Ocean’s ex-wife’s (Julia Roberts) new love interest. Watch as the team orchestrates their sophisticated plan to pull off the biggest heist in the history of Las Vegas.
10. Two for the Money (2005)
If there is one thing this movie has to be proud of, it is Al Pacino’s incredible acting. He is arguably one of the best actors to take on the big screen. But don’t disregard Matthew McConaughey and Rene Russo in this film, as both of them flourished in this film as well.
Pacino plays Walter, who runs a sports betting hotline in a building that also appears to be where his home is located. When Walter meets Brandon (McConaughey), he is amazed by his accurate predictions—and immediately gives him a makeover and imports him to New York to become a star.
Aside from the great writing, this movie showcases incredible acting. You would definitely get carried away with the story and the events that happen to the main characters and how their relationship transforms as the story progresses.
11. Casino Royale (2006)
Yes, there are two Casino Royale James Bond Movies on this list. And both movies deserve it. Casino Royale 2006 with Daniel Craig is an excellent story that follows 007 before he became the charming secret agent we all know and love. It is a story about James Bond’s rookie year as a 00 British Secret Service agent.
James Bond goes to Madagascar and uncovers a link to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a person who is responsible for financing terrorist organizations. When the MI6 finds out that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game, they send Bond to stop them.
Although this is Daniel Craig’s first appearance as James Bond, he gave a stellar performance which makes Casino Royale arguably one of the best James Bond movies of all time. It features a great script, excellent direction, a creepy and memorable Bond villain, and of course, a bold love interest—played by Eva Green.
12. The 21 Movie (2008)
21 is one of the best movies of the late 2000s. It is a movie that follows the story of Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a highly intelligent MIT student dreaming of transferring to Harvard to become a doctor. But because Ben comes from a working-class family, there is no way he could afford it.
Because of his high IQ, Ben is introduced to an unorthodox professor named Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) who would change his life forever. He learned how to count cards and beat the system. Counting cards in blackjack is illegal in any casino, and this story is based on a true story about 5 students who would change the game forever.
It is an interesting tale that is well written and directed, with a storyline that would keep your eyes locked to the screen—without knowing what happens next. It will make you feel the joy of winning and the heartbreak of losing it all in a blink.
13. Runner Runner (2013)
Runner Runner is a movie about Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake), an intelligent kid who takes his chances on gambling to raise enough money for Princeton. He plays online poker, but it has come to his attention that these games were rigged. And that is when he decided to confront the tycoon, played by Ben Affleck, who runs the games based in Costa Rica.
This movie is more than just a gambling/casino drama. It features lush beaches, tropical vibes, and beautiful women. It features a good contrast between the two lead characters, showing how different they are but discovering how similar these two characters are across the entire film.
It’s not a perfect movie, considering a Ben Affleck gambling movie isn’t something you are used to. However, it is definitely worth your time, especially if you enjoy an intelligent movie about poker.
14. The Gambler (2014)
The Gambler is a film that wants you to believe that it is about a gambler. However, you will slowly discover that this movie is about how a man uses gambling as a tool for his self-destructive behavior.
It’s about a literature professor, named Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), who is leading a double life as a high-stakes gambler. If you like to watch movies that make you feel the risk of high-stakes gambling—this one is definitely an excellent watch.
It features compulsive gambling, taking risks, and going down a dark path when you start turning to loan sharks to fund your cash. It is a recipe for disaster and serious drama. But most of all, this casino movie is a film about having second chances and redemption.
15. Focus (2015)
This Will Smith gambling movie is not anything like you have seen before. It showcases a luxurious lifestyle, a stunning location, and a script filled with gorgeous and witty banter between the characters.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie have fantastic screen chemistry, and we think that chemistry made Focus a better movie than it actually is. It is filled with a lot of twists, double-crossing, and natural scenarios that could happen in real life—which makes it more emotional.
It follows the story of Nicky (Smith) and Jess (Robbie). They meet at a Manhattan restaurant and instantly connect and slowly realize the truth about each other, which leads to Nicky preaching the importance of taking away a mark’s focus before going for the snatch.
Although it has its fair share of dark themes, it is still a lighthearted film that is highly rewatchable. You just can’t get enough of Will and Margot’s witty banter and dialogue when they are trying to outsmart each other throughout the film.
16. Wild Card (2015)
If Jason Statham is in a movie, you already know it is going to be exciting. However, this movie shows a different side of him and his acting. It features crucial dialogue, showcasing Statham’s ability to converse and act.
Statham plays Nick, a Vegas chaperone who does odd jobs for money. It is a movie about Nick struggling to make a living with a lot of mystery about his past.
Although we love Statham for his action sequences in other films, what is most enjoyable about this film is his dialogue and interaction with other actors.
17. Mississippi Grind (2015)
2015 was a big year for casino movies, and this is the third one that landed on the list. Mississippi Grind is a film about two losers gambling their way across the United States. It is set in the 1970s and showcases a lot of nostalgia, not just because of the fashion, and the set, but also takes inspiration from the movies made in that decade.
It follows the story of Gerry, played by Ben Mendelsohn, and Curtis, played by Ryan Reynolds. Curtis, a newcomer in town, instantly becomes friends with Gerry, but instead of bringing the best out of each other, they seem to bring out the worst.
18. Molly’s Game (2017)
Jessica Chastain did this role justice with her stunning performance as Molly Bloom, the woman behind the most exclusive high-stakes underground poker games. It is based on a real story from a memoir of the same title.
It is a fun and exciting roller coaster ride about an Olympic skier who got injured, which led her to a darker path. Her high-stakes poker games made her a lot of friends, admirers, enemies, and connections to the mob.
19. Uncut Gems (2019)
This Adam Sandler gambling movie was one of his best performances as an actor—not just a comedian. It is a crime thriller that follows the story of Howard Ratner (Sandler), a gambling addict who runs a jewelry store in NYC. Howard is struggling to pay his debts, his divorce, and other things that make his life so complicated.
But things will get messier when NBA star Kevin Garnett pays him a visit. It is an exciting movie about the struggles of gambling and life, with a bunch of celebrity cameos that will surprise you.
20. The Card Counter (2021)
This gambling movie follows William Tale, a gambler and former military serviceman who taught himself how to count cards during an eight-year stint being locked up in a military prison. William is played by Oscar Isaac, who is an incredible actor on the rise, and brings the role to life with his Oscar-worthy performance.
To avoid getting caught, he avoids attention by betting small and winning modestly. He never stays in casino hotels to stay under the radar, but eventually, his mysterious past will catch up to him. This movie features stellar acting, and an exciting plot and every minute of it is worth your time.