When it comes to silver screen epics, it takes a combination of gripping action, immersive storytelling, and exceptional acting to really make a movie stand out from the crowd. As audiences, we’re drawn to drama and conflict; to stories that keep us on the edge of our seats and don’t let up for a minute.
It’s little surprise, then, that the high stakes world of the casino scene has provided so much source material for Hollywood moviemakers. Luring stars from the highest echelons of the A-list, the gambling genre is one that has proven itself eternally popular with viewers.
So, in recognition of that fact, here are three of the best betting movies ever to grace the silver screen.
Starring a youthful Matt Damon alongside the acting might of John Malkovich and Edward Norton, Rounders is one of the best casino epics ever created. Telling the tale of a student entrepreneur who uses his talent at the poker table to fund his academic ambitions, it offers non-stop action and a magnificently-told story. Its showdown revolves arounds a high stakes game, which pits an irrepressible poker baron against our teenage hero.
Keeping us hooked from start to finish, the scene has been praised by those in the know for its authentic depictions of poker strategy and perfectly written table banter. The poker appeal hasn't dwindled, with many live casinos in operation, which promise the best of online and real world casinos brought together, and host everything from poker games through to blackjack and baccarat.
Casino Royale (2006)
Everybody loves a James Bond flick, and Casino Royale is arguably the best of the bunch. Starring the inimitable Daniel Craig, its 2006 incarnation is utterly gripping, bringing to life the many brilliant characters created by author Ian Fleming. Moving at a breakneck speed, the script is fast-paced, thrilling, and enthralling. It tells the story of our protagonist as he goes up against a villainous mastermind, in the form of enigmatic, poker-playing torturer Le Chiffre.
Its most memorable scene - arguably one of the most notable in modern-day cinematic history – centres on a poker game that pits Bond against his adversary, with dramatic all-or-nothing stakes. The tension is palpable, Eva Green is tremendous, and the poker is masterfully depicted and maddeningly intense.
Rounders and Casino Royale are cinematic masterpieces in their own rights, but the greatest gambling epic of all is inarguably the aptly-titled Casino. Benefitting from the acting gravitas of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, this gritty story of the love affair between a gambling handicapper and his scheming, self-absorbed wife is intensified by the ever-present threat posed by Pesci’s character, a psychotic enforcer who’s increasingly erratic behaviour threatens their very lives.
It's dramatic, gripping, and beautifully shot, and those who have never enjoyed its towering performances are assuredly the poorer for it. Give it a watch and experience every emotion known to man in the space of three thrilling hours.
Tell us, which of these silver screen greats are you going to watch first?