Movies and gambling (poker in particular) were always good friends. There are lots of gambling movies out there, and some of them are very good, although for newer generations many of those films are cliché or boring. In the last two decades, the most notable was Ocean's Eleven and Twelve, which are primarily super-robbery movies, while Molly's Game and Uncut Gems are the most famous, and arguably the best in the last five years. One of those two movies found their place in our list as well, so stick around and find out which movies cut our top 5 casino movies of all time.
If we say that Rounders is a gambling movie classic, some of you might say "What?! That's a new generation movie!" Sadly, time passes fast, and this movie is 23 years old already! After you let that sink in for a moment, let's remind ourselves of this masterpiece.
Rounders is a movie that every gambler has close to the top of their list. But not the gambling movies list, ALL movies list. If you are not a gambler, you probably won't get why, although you think this movie is just fine,
But, for gamblers, this movie can compare with something like Citizen Kane for an older generation, Shawshank Redemption for middle-aged people, and the Wolf from Wall Street for millennials.
If you remember young Matt Damon, you probably have some of the pictures from this movie in your head. This was the breakthrough of his career and although he eventually grew past these and similar roles, the supporting cast is amazing as well. I mean, Edward Norton, Famke Jansen, John Malkovich?? Yes, please!
In a nutshell, Matt Damon's character is a talented poker player who quit focusing on their studies and tries to live a normal life. However, his best friend owes a huge amount of money to mobsters, and he must return to poker to play for his life! Interestingly, IMDb doesn't like this movie too much, especially in comparison to Rotten Tomatoes.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The Cincinnati Kid is similar and we will say better than Rounders. It was certainly a huge influence on every poker movie in the last 40 years (including Rounders) and it features Steve McQueen as "the Kid". Although this movie is over 50 years old, if you neglect the graphics, old technology, and lower picture and sound quality overall, actually feels current and relevant. That is one of the best attributes any movie can have, and every screenwriter or director is hoping that somebody will say something like this for their movie 50 years from now.
In this movie, The Kid realizes that he is not that good as he thinks, and needs to start climbing to the top through the longer and more dangerous path.
The Gambler (1974)
You might be surprised to see this lesser-known movie on our list, but it fully deserved its place. This movie is dark, realistic, and sometimes even hard to watch. The interesting fact behind the creation of this movie is that James Toback based the screenplay on - himself!
He was a gambling addict, and that almost destroyed him, just like the character he created.
Alex is getting deeper and deeper into the void because gambling excites him, even the losing part. Because after that he will get a rush of adrenaline when he plays a bet he has to win to even save his life.
This movie is not for everyone, but it shows how gambling can make a horror of your life if you are not responsible, and because of that it is very helpful, even for the younger generation.
Uncut Gems (2019)
Uncut Gems is one of the newer movies that resonated well with the audience. It was aired for the first time only two years ago and many scenes have already become iconic, mostly because of social media and memes. This is arguably one of the best roles in Adam Sandler's career, and the whole movie is taking us to the climax, where we expect to finally see how the tragically addicted protagonist will win, but, spoiler alert!
He doesn't. And after that unexpected ending, the people who got sucked into the movie completely would take that ride again. Like Howard would as well, because that's what gambling addiction can do to you.
California Split (1974)
The guys who are completely into Rounders probably didn't watch California Split. They should do it! Despite being an older movie from the 70s, California Split has is still relatable and one of those movies with a perfect depiction of boys will be boys' relationship and friendship. Robert Altman is the director of this movie, which might even surprise you - this film is still underrated, and many people don't even know that it's Altman's. On the other hand, you can see his stamp all over it.
The movies we mentioned here are possibly not the most famous ones, or the ones that everyone watched, such as Ocean's Eleven. These are mostly the movies that, apart from having fun watching it obviously, have a deeper note and make you think about gambling as a phenomenon.
Many characters depicted in these movies are based on true stories. There are real-life stories such as the drama in Rounders, there are gamblers who completely ruin their life and family because of gambling, and there aren't many romantic, David vs Goliath stories that end well for the protagonist. Because of that, these movies are real-deal and everyone who is into gambling should watch them.
Responsible gambling is very important. Never bet money you can't afford to lose, and everything will stay normal - you will get the adrenaline rush you crave for, win or lose, you will spend time doing something you are passionate about, but at the end of the day, you will return home and will have the money for yourself and your family.
That's way more important.