Casinos and Hollywood go hand in hand and some of the most memorable movies of all time have been set to the backdrop of the suave and sophisticated casinos of Monte Carlo – and the rattling hum of endless Vegas slot machines. In short – it’s a rich seam to tap for filmmakers.
And some of the best casino movies have featured spectacular wins as well as losses. But on the basis that we all love a winner and that it’s good to live on the optimistic “glass half full” side of life – here are some of the best Hollywood casino movie wins ever…
This movie featured Daniel Craig making his debut as British super-spy James Bond and with it came a tense casino scene where our hero is playing Texas Hold ‘em against evil villain Le Chiffre.
The fiendish Le Chiffre has organised a high-stakes game to regain his losses to James Bond from an earlier game. British Intelligence agency MI6 decides to enter our hero in the tournament in Montenegro’s Casino Royale with the object of bankrupting Le Chiffre in order to turn him to working for MI6. UK Treasury agent Vesper Lynd arranges to meet with Bond on the train to Montenegro – providing the requisite buy-in cash of $10m.
Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Daniel_Craig_-_Orange_British_Academy_Film_Awards.jpg
But Bond then loses the stake, and Vesper says he won’t give him the extra $5m needed to buy in again. Thankfully, CIA agent Felix Leiter comes to the rescue offering Bond the cash if he can have custody of Le Chiffre should Bond win.
Of course, the whole thing builds to a grand climax with over $100m in the pot and – you’ve guessed it – the implacable Bond wins the last hand with a straight flush which beats Le Chiffre’s full house. It’s thrilling stuff!
On a completely different tack – the way the autistic Raymond “Rainman” (played by Dustin Hoffman and inspired by savant Kim Peek) wins at blackjack in Las Vegas guided by his younger brother Charlie Babbit played by Tom Cruise is equally interesting and entertaining.
Charlie is a quick thinking car dealer who has to drive across country with his brother after their father dies because Raymond won’t fly. En-route, Charlie discovers his older brother’s strange abilities and decides to go to Vegas to count cards at blackjack. Here, Raymond proves his ability to count five packs – something thought to be impossible by the casino owners who are keeping a close eye on things through the “eye in the sky” hidden cameras.
The pair win a fortune before being “encouraged” to leave – though Raymond is beginning to tire anyway and his abilities are shown to be “not applicable” on the wheel of fortune.
It couldn’t ever be achieved in practice even by an autistic savant – but it’s a great scene in a great movie.
Another great scene in a great comedy movie is the magnetron scene in Ocean’s 13. Pure fiction again, of course, but great fun to watch. In a casino, Brad Pitt and George Clooney use magnetron technology (disguised as cigarette lighters) which jam the casino’s servers for three minutes during which time they can control the dice on the craps tables.
Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALas_Vegas_63.jpg
The Cincinnati Kid
And finally, we have to mention the Cincinnati Kid’s final scene where Edward G. Robinson wins the last hand at poker against the eponymous kid played by Steve McQueen – showing us all that patience and wisdom always win out in the end!