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Top 5 Classic Hollywood Casino Movies

Published on December 21, 2015, 5:06 am

by Jeff Grant Twitter account Jeff Grant LinkedIn account

If you have been searching for the classic Hollywood movies about casino that features gambling and high risk stakes prominently, then we present to you carefully selected list of movies that will make you visit casino even more. You can still easily catch up with these movies and possibly learn a trick or two.

  1. The Lady Gambles

This 1949 drama film is all about a wife who visits Las Vegas with her husband. What follows is a strange addiction for gambling that sets the course for poor wife. The movie has a very strong script that portrays the gambling and the after effects in a precise way. The movie features Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Preston. Barbara plays the lead role of Joan and the wife of Robert Preston who is a reporter. David Boothe (Robert) visits Las Vegas for an assignment and his wife, Joan accompanies him as well. Soon after, Joan falls in love with gambling and the rush it brings her. The addiction becomes too much that Joan ends up battered and suicidal in the end.

Why watch The Lady Gambles? If you love a strong script, convincing dialogs casino and true acting.

The Lady Gamblers (1949)
Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Gambles (1949)
  1. California Split

California Split is a 1974 movie that focuses on two gamblers who become best of friends because of their shared love for Gambling. Charlie Waters, played by Elliott Gould, is a character that is a seasoned gambler. The character of a novice gambler with a day job, Bill Denny is played by George Segal. When the two meet, Charlie influences Bill and the later becomes obsessed with his new addiction – gambling. Bill keeps on gambling, goes into debt and to feed his addiction, he pawns some of his possessions to gamble with Charlie in Reno. Somehow, luck favors Bill and he wins lots of money, until the day he quits and resumes his normal life.

Why watch California Split? If you love Reno Nevada, casino games such as poker, blackjacks, roulette and human conscience coming back to life.

California Split (1974)
Elliott Gould in Caifornia Split (1974)
  1. The Gambler

Another casino classic, The Gambler was released in 1974 and stars James Caan as lead character. James plays the character of Axel Freed who is an ideal portrayal of “Gambling gone wrong”. Axel is English Professor who tries his hands on gambling. As the movie proceeds, the professor ends up with a hefty debt and is continuously threatened by his bookie. Once Billie (the love interest of Axel) comes to know about his addiction, she questions his wisdom.  Axel succeeds in getting his debts paid off by his mother; he takes Billie on another gambling trip to Las Vegas. The movie takes on a sinister plot, where Axel’s life takes a rather conniving turn.

Why watch The Gambler? For those who like lots of drama, this movie is a sure shot win that leaves the viewer wondering!

The Gambler (1974)
James Caan in The Gambler (1974)
  1. The Big Town

Starring J. C. Cullen as Matt Dillon, The Big Town is quite a hit movie of 1987. The movie starts in the year 1957 with a young crapshooter, Matt Dillon who wants to make the next big move. Soon after, Matt becomes associated with two professional gamblers in Illinois. As the movie proceeds, he finds himself stuck between a love triangle. Of course, nothing seems good then as the young jock tries to balance his gambling life, double crossing acquaintances, his rivals, his love association and what not. As the events turn deadly, Matt struggles hard to keep up with his life.

Why watch The Big Town? If you’re a fan of J. C. Cullen, old casino classics, strip club, love and violence, do watch this 80’s classic.

The Big Town (1987)
Matt Dillon in The Big Town (1987)
  1. Hard Eight

Hard Eight (1996) is a casino based movie that involves crime thriller aspects. The film stars some of the best actors of that time such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly to name a few. The movie was first titled Sydney, which was based on the prime character Sydney Brown. Sydney Brown is a seasoned 60’s something gambler who enjoys an uncalled opportunity to teach John Finnegan (played by John C. Reilly) gambling. John is basically out of money and needs funds to bury his mother. After 2 years, John becomes Sydney’s apprentice and you’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens next.

Why watch Hard Eight? If you want to learn how a gambling pro balances his normal life.

Hard Height (1996)
Philip Baker Hall in Hard Height (1996)


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