The Roulette in the movies

Roulette is one of the most beloved casino games. Its simplicity and fun make it a favourite game among seasoned gamblers and occasional punters alike. Whether you choose to play at a brick-and-mortar casino or play Roulette online, the famous game has the power to make dreams come true if your bet comes in.

It’s no surprise then that Roulette has appeared on the big screen, often popping up in casino-based movies or casino scenes. Let’s take a look at a few movies in which Roulette has featured.

Casablanca (1942)

A classic of cinema, Casablanca hit the big screens and won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie tells the story of Rick Blaine, an American expatriate who runs a Moroccan nightclub and gambling den.

Casablanca features a famous Roulette scene in which Rick approaches a down-on-his-luck gambler at the Roulette wheel and utters the famous words, ‘Have you tried 22 tonight?’ The gambler places two successive bets on number 22 and wins both times before Rick tells him to ‘cash it in and don’t come back.’

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1998)

This comedy starring Steve Martin and Michael Caine tells the story of two con men who try to trick a young heiress out of $50,000 to settle their rivalry. One scene takes place at a Roulette table in a casino on the French Riviera, where Martin’s character Freddy Benson poses as a wheelchair-bound Navy veteran attempting to win money to pay for his grandmother’s operation. In a scheme of cruel deception, Benson tries to get the young woman to take pity on him when he loses his bets, and give him the money from her own pocket. 

Diamonds are Forever (1971)

You can’t have a casino-themed movie list without mentioning James Bond. Throughout the various Bond films, 007 can often be found in the casino. The film Diamonds are Forever, starring Sean Connery as the man himself, is no different. Here, Bond heads to Las Vegas where he must infiltrate a diamond-smuggling operation to save Washington D.C. from a terror threat.

With much of the film set in Vegas, it’s no surprise that we find Bond spending time in a casino. Many games are portrayed in Diamonds are Forever, including Roulette, and this helps set the scene for that unique Vegas atmosphere. The most famous casino scene in the film is set at the Craps table, where Bond meets Plenty O’Toole – a character who goes on to make a ‘big splash’ moments later. 

Croupier (1998)

Croupier, starring Clive Owen, concerns an aspiring novelist who lands a job as a croupier. The opening sequence of the movie features a spinning Roulette wheel from which the camera slowly pans away. 

Although Manfred at first views the casino as a mere means of inspiration for his writing, he ends up becoming involved in a planned casino heist with a gambler he befriends. The New York Times wrote that the film contained ‘whip-smart, tongue-in-cheek suspense’ and was a ‘meditation on life as a game of chance.’

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