When it comes to building an air of glitz and glamour, there are few places that Hollywood prefers then a good Vegas casino. For every shot of The Venetian or the Monte Carlo however, there’s a gritty scene of Vegas’ criminal underside or the shots of underground games between teams of card sharks. All in all, casinos have seen their fair share of time on the silver screen over the years. If you’re looking to see the very best scenes from these movies for yourself, here are the top five must-see casino movie scenes of all time.
“Take your Feet off the Table” – Casino (1995)
It only seems fitting that the 1995 classic, Casino, is home to one of the greatest cinema scenes of all time. Robert De Niro stars as the boss of a glamorous casino who is invited to use his venue as a front for the mob. Early in the film, we see De Niro’s character politely ask a character to take his feet off the table. When the patron rudely refuses to do so, De Niro orders him removed in no uncertain terms, instructing security that that his head should be used to open the door.
“The End of the Card Game” – Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is an incredible film in so many ways. In this scene early in the film, we see our protagonist Eddie tussle with the worst of London’s card sharks in an underground poker tournament. As the realization hits Eddie a rock and roll riff kicks in and the camera fixes on Eddie’s face; Eddie stands, grabs his jacket and leaves the joint to go vomit in shock. If you want to see the lows that go with the highs of playing high-stakes poker, watch this scene.
“The Blackjack Scene” – The Hangover (2009)
On a more light-hearted note, the 2009 comedy The Hangover was an instant hit. In this film, a group of lads take to Vegas on a bachelor party, following the idea that “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” One thing leads to another and hilarity ensues. In the infamous blackjack scene, we see the lads recoup their losses through the unorthodox method of card counting. Alan, lone wolf extraordinaire, suits up and takes to the casino to play cards. They completely overegg the pudding with the maths and mouthing the cards – in fact not much of this scene makes sense to a real player, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining to watch.
“Let’s Play Some Cards” – Rain Man (1988)
Dustin Hoffman and a very young Tom Cruise take to Vegas to play some cards. In this scene, we see Cruise trying to tell “Rain Man” that he doesn’t want to hit on 18. Now, to anyone who understands the game, this is a given. Raymond busts out with a Queen, much to Cruise’s annoyance. He tries to console Cruise, insisting that there are lots and lots of Queens in the shoe – Cruise takes the hint, doubles down and starts winning. The pair and their interplay make for a truly great scene in one of their greatest films.
“The Poker Game” – Casino Royale (2006)
Finally we have the poker game in the rebooted Casino Royale. Like The Hangover, there are plenty of inaccuracies in this scene, which involves James Bond trying to take down an international arms dealer through a game of high-stakes poker. The scene is only made more impactful by Lynd’s line: “If you lose, our government will have directly financed terrorism.” At the end of the day, there are very few stakes higher than those.