The best films about gambling


Certain film genres show the fascinating ability to bounce back long after you thought they’d gone for good. Despite westerns being commonly associated with the golden age of cinema in the 1950s, they recently made a successful return thanks to the likes of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

And similarly, whilst the 1970s saw a string of iconic gambling films such as The Sting and The Gambler, the recent rapid rise of online poker sites has inspired a new wave of top gambling films such as Mississippi Grind. So if you’re looking for a little inspiration for your next game of poker, here are some of the best gambling movies of all time.

The highs and lows of the casino lifestyle has long-provided Hollywood with a suitably glamorous and dangerous landscape. Early successes included the likes of Any Number Can Play that featured Clark Gable as a casino owner who bets his entire operation on a single high-stakes game. Furthermore, the 1960s original version of Ocean’s Eleven saw the Rat Pack performing a daring heist in the Las Vegas gambling hotspots.

However, if there’s one Hollywood icon who’s managed to truly display the adrenaline and drama surrounding gambling it’s Paul Newman. His starring performances in The Hustler and The Sting illustrated how the psychological aspects of gambling can be phenomenally important. And Coral’s Poker site shows that playing poker online isn’t much different, as the digital version can still deliver some of the high-stakes drama that you’d find in the likes of Steve McQueen’s cool performance as a stud-poker king in 1965’s The Cincinnati Kid.

The 1990s delivered the gambling world a much-needed update to the traditional Hollywood fare. And few movies provided the visceral impact that was brought by Martin Scorsese’s 1995 masterpiece Casino. Featuring a legendary cast of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone, it provided the template for all future instances of casino cool.

Recently, there have been a few more attempts to bring the world of gambling into a more ‘normal’ terrain with Matt Damon’s portrayal of a gifted poker player bringing him acclaim with 1998’s Rounders. Furthermore, Mark Wahlberg successfully illustrated that even a college professor can get the gambling blues with the hard-hitting The Gambler film.

And with last year’s Mississippi Grind winning rave reviews for its touching and funny portrayal of a couple of mid-lifers tackling the casinos and poker tables of the American Deep South, it showed that there’s a lot of mileage in the gambling movie yet.