A Gambler’s Guide to Films: Movies Every High Roller Must See

Get sucked into the action, adventure, and high stakes.


Need some inspiration or some expert tips on how to play your favorite casino game? Whether you like to do a little sports betting or spend the afternoon in front of the slots, these gambling films were made for you. Check out our 5 top recommendations on movies about gambling, and when you’re ready to try your luck, check out these casino reviews at Online Casino Bluebook for some of the best online casinos.

Casino Royale (2006)

You don’t need to be a hardcore fan of the James Bond franchise to get sucked into the action, adventure, and high stakes in Casino Royale. Daniel Craig, who plays the 6th James Bond, receives his license to kill and is sent to Madagascar on a secret mission.

As part of his mission, Bond must play poker with Le Chiffre, a villainous guy who plays a significant role in financing terrorist organizations. A lot of poker players take the game seriously, but few people play poker as if their life (and job) depends on it. As usual, Bond finds some clever ways to pull the mission off, but it doesn’t mean that you’re not in suspense.

Rain Man (1988)

By the time Rain Man hit the theaters, both Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman were well-known actors in their own circles, but few might think that the duo could pull-off a riveting tale about two brothers. Cruise plays Charlie, a late 80s yuppie and bad boy with a love of money and a criminal record to prove it. When his dad dies, he assumes that he’s inherited a fortune, only to find out that someone else received $3 million.

Charlie tracks down the beneficiary, who ends up being an older brother, Raymond, who he’s never met (played by Hoffman). Realizing that his newly found brother is a vulnerable adult with savant qualities, Charlie thinks it will be easy to take the inheritance from Raymond. As part of their journey, Charlie takes Raymond to Vegas to take advantage of his card counting abilities at the blackjack table.

Not only is this a heart-warming tale of two brothers who live totally separate lives, but you might actually think that Dustin Hoffman can really count cards.

21 (2008)

Think that most gambling movies have plots that are too good to be true? While casino films often need larger than life storylines to capture our attention, 21 is based on MIT students who mastered the art of card counting and beat the casinos.

MIT student, Ben Campbell, wants to go to Harvard Medical School can’t afford the tuition. With his math professor, played by Kevin Spacey, and a small handful of MIT students, Campbell learns the art of card counting. As they perfect their skills, the group makes weekend trips to Vegas, where they literally beat the casino and win a lot of money. Campbell only wants to win enough to cover a full ride to Harvard, but as you might guess, he gets in a little too deep.

Trading Places (1983)

Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Akroyd, and Billy Ray Valentine, played by Eddie Murphy, live on opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum. Little do they know that they become part of a bet and social experiment by Philadelphia commodities brokers, the Duke Brothers.

Winthorpe, an employee of Duke & Duke, is fired and loses everything after being falsely framed as a drug-dealing thief and philanderer. Valentine, who lives a stereotypical “down and out” kind of life, is bailed out of jail and gets a job with Duke & Duke.

While the tables have completely turned and one man’s misfortune becomes another man’s lucrative future, both Winthorpe and Valentine soon catch on that they are part of a social experiment and that a bet is placed on the outcome.

Although not your typical gambling film, Trading Places is often compared to Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper.

Rat Race (2001)

Six people visit Vegas, sit down to play the slots, receive a winning coin, and are randomly selected by a millionaire (played by John Cleese), to win $2 million dollars. The catch is that these six strangers must race one another to reach a locker full of money in Silver City, New Mexico.

Think of this 2001 film as a star-studded and comedic Amazing Race with Whoopi Goldberg, Seth Green, Rowan Atkinson, Jon Lovitz, and Kathy Najimy.

Rat Race is a movie full of quirky characters and another social experiment on what people will do at the chance of winning millions.


Next Up, Hustlers Is An Important Feminist Movie And You Should Go See It Now