Top 10 Movies in Canada that Feature Casinos

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Theres something magical about the casino experience that lends itself to the glamour and excitement we want from cinema. There have been dozens of movies over the years that take advantage of the casino setting to enhance their stories and explore not only the elegance of the casino floor but the darkness lurking behind it.

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In no particular order, weve gone through and highlighted some of our favourite depictions of casinos on the silver screen to recommend to you!

1. Casino (1995)

It would be a crime to have a list like this and not place this Scorsese epic at the top of it. Casino tells the story of the rise and fall of mobster Sam Ace Rothstein (Robert de Niro) after hes placed in charge of the Tangiers Casino on the Vegas Strip.

Based on the non-fiction book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas, this movie is at times more concerned with Vegas itself and the history of organised crime in gambling than the characters and their story. Still, it tells a compelling and tense tale of love and misery all under the backdrop of the glitter and glamour of casino high life.

This is one of the most iconic gambling movies in history and is a must-see for any casino fan.

2. Rounders (1998)

While it was met with middling reviews and an underwhelming box office reception, Rounders is a movie that has since found a cult following in poker circles. It follows the struggle of Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), a law student with dead dreams of winning the World Series of Poker. When his old friend Worm (Edward Norton) gets out of prison, he instantly drags McDermott back into the poker world by landing him in debt with Russian mobsters. Now, he must face those forgotten dreams or else find himself on the wrong end of a gun.

Rounders is a thrilling look into the supposed shady side of poker. While it might be a little thin for non-gamblers, it offers an engaging experience for seasoned poker players that you cant look away from.

3. Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Oceans Eleven is one of the most popular heist movies ever made. After being released from prison, ex-con Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney, gathers an elite team to propose a heist, simultaneously robbing three casinos and spiting their owner. The plan faces inner conflict and the struggles of love as they work to pull it off, and the excitement never once lets up.

This remake of the Rat Pack classic is just as beloved as the original, full of non-stop fun and fantastic performances from the star-studded cast.

4. 21 (2008)

21 is loosely based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as they learn to count cards and covertly communicate to scam casinos for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, personal conflict and larger cons get in the way of the characters goals, but this film provides an exciting ride through the world of casino cheating.

Theres a lot of debate about the authenticity of the story this film is based on. However, knowing theres a nugget of truth to the events of 21 brings an added layer of enrichment that keeps you glued to your seat from beginning to end.

5. Casino Royale (2006)

This movie could stand on brand power alone, but still brings us a tense, action-packed flick, refusing to rest on its laurels. Starring Daniel Craig as the iconic 007, Casino Royale was the long-awaited adaptation of the first of Flemmings James Bond novels. It follows 007 in his pursuit of Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a criminal entrepreneur attempting to recoup huge monetary losses in a high-stakes poker game at the titular Casino Royale.

This adaptation is another strong contender in the Bond franchise and an excellent casino movie, showcasing the blood-pumping action of poker. If you havent seen it, youre missing out.

6. The Hangover (2009)

This well-loved comedy movie follows a group of friends who travel to Las Vegas for a bachelor party but wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened the night before and the husband-to-be missing. They must retrace their steps to find out what happened to their friend before his wedding starts.

Aside from taking place in Las Vegas, The Hangover is famous for its iconic poker scene towards the end of the movie. In it, the oddball brother-in-law Alan pulls out his genius card-counting skills to win $80,000 in blackjack to try and buy their friend back. Its a wild ride from start to finish, with laughs to be had left, right and centre.

7. The Gambler (2014)

This film, based on the 1974 movie of the same name, is about literature professor Jim Bennet (Mark Wahlberg), who struggles with a crippling gambling addiction. It follows his journey as he falls further and further into debt with his loved ones and the mob before desperately trying to claw his way back out.

The Gambler is a movie thats unafraid to expose the dark nature of gambling addictions, showing how the allure of casinos can belie a dangerous and self-destructive habit.

8. Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems is the story of Howard Howie Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jeweller and gambling addict who attempts to use a rare, uncut opal from Ethiopia to pay off his debts and get his life back on track. However, his overconfidence and self-destructive behaviours continue to dig him further and further into trouble, to the point where its unclear if he can come back from it.

This film is highly critically acclaimed, praised for the strength of Sandlers performance and the raw and at times uncomfortable portrayal of the horrors of addiction. Uncut Gems uses the dazzling backdrop of casino gambling to contrast the dark realities of Howies rapid downfall.

9. Rain Man (1988)

This is a well-known movie about young hustler Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) meeting his older brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who has savant syndrome and autism, in the wake of their fathers sudden passing. While Charlie initially tries to use Raymond to get ahold of his inheritance, the two bond, and it culminates in one of the most famous casino scenes in cinema history.

Rain Man is widely considered a must-see movie, and for people looking for an impactful casino scene with emotional highs and lows, you cant miss out on it

10. The Cooler (2003)

The Cooler follows casino jinx Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), whos employed to curb customer winning streaks at the Shagri-La Casino owned by Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin). However, when Bernie falls in love with a waitress at the casino, his luck starts to take a turn for the better, much to Shellys chagrin.

This film has the power to be simultaneously thrilling and heartwarming, using the glamorous backdrop of the Vegas casino to tell what is, at its core, a love story.

The Rising Popularity of Online Casinos

Online gambling only continues to rise in popularity, and the continued prominence of casinos in movies and popular culture isnt coincidental to it. Online casinos endeavour each year to bring us closer and closer to the brick-and-mortar experience. Nowadays, even those who cant fly themselves out to Las Vegas or Monaco can get a taste of the glamour they see on the big screen through the internet.

If youre after a taste of high-class casino excitement but cant place yourself in the middle of the action, take a look at some of the great online options out there. You might just find something to scratch the itch these movies give you.

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