The history of cinema has captured the many great stories surrounding the subject of gambling. There are exciting risks that characters face once they become engaged in incredible situations with incredible stakes. From Sean Connery’s James Bond introducing himself at the Baccarat table in Dr. No – “Bond, James Bond” to the darker films like Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant with Harvey Keitel seeing visions of Jesus as he seeks redemption on his un-policeman like actions. There are many iconic moments in film that illustrate the allure of gambling.
From a huge backlog of work and film tackling the seductive world of casinos and gambling, we highlight some of the most memorable scenes that are totally unforgettable once you have watched them.
They should have stayed at home and tried their luck with an online casino instead of paying the price
When we say ‘casino’ for any movie buff the first thing that comes to mind is Scorsese’s own film titled Casino. This leads us to the first stand out scene and if you’ve already seen the movie then plenty will know what is coming. Perhaps one of the most powerful violent scenes in movie history we are introduced to the ways of not messing over a casino owner.
#1 Nicky plays with a Vice: Here the character Tong Dogs is unwilling to confess on who pulled a fast one on the casino. Enter Nicky played by Joe Pesci who has reached the end of his tether and places Tony’s head in a vice! What follows is blood spurts from his mouth, rather a lot of shouting from Nicky and ending in Tony’s eye popping out, lovely!
Film Fact: the scene in Casino was cut for Swedish release which is ironic because of their love of gambling. While not quite the same you can see the Pennsylvania Lottery welcome offer for comparison on gambling in different cultures and you get an idea of how serious they take their casino games and bonuses.
There’s something so compelling about a great casino movie: it offers high drama, violence and great scenes
Poker gets a lot of screen time in the movies and none took the game to pure genius as it did in Cool Hand Luke.
#2 “sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand”: Prison tension at its best with the ultimate poker face to grace the silver screen. Paul Newman plays Lucas Jackson and bluffs his way during a game with other prisoners to win the pot, it’s then revealed he had nothing.
Film Fact: Newman didn’t swallow one egg in that infamous scene.
Joe Pesci is at it again with another Scorsese classic, Goodfellas.
#3 the Oklahoma Kid: During a table game of poker, Tommy (played by Pesci) is ignored several times throughout the game and is wanting a drink from Spider who pays the price for misunderstanding. Cue the biggest psychopath wielding a gun. Long story short, Spider is shot in the foot intentionally and the next evening during another game, he regrets showing up for work and winds up in a hole.
Film Fact: The F-word is said 296 times which averages to it being said twice every minute.
What comes with casino games being captured on film is real, tense action and surprising outcomes
Gambling is the perfect arc for setting up a scene. Character position can be integral to a scene, the lighting and the outcome can lead to plot changes and twists. Frankly, the list can go on and on for the benefits of adding such scenes to a movie, which doesn’t necessarily have to be about gambling at all.