Gambling has found its way to be the theme of many classic movies. There have been many extraordinary films that have gambling as their central plot or have been shot inside a casino industry. They deal with gambling-related topics starting from casinos, online casinos, blackjack to poker, hustling and many more. Many of these films have big names and have made it to the Oscar nomination list. Some of them managed to win the Oscars as well. But most importantly, these movies are fun and entertaining to watch and to a large extent have also or attempted to normalize gambling and betting. Today, thanks to pop culture, gambling is becoming less stigmatised and people have started viewing the casino industry from a different perspective.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
This autobiographical masterpiece is based on Stu Ungar, a high roller who had once taken the entire casino industry by storm with his exceptional and brilliant poker skills and was the only person till date who managed to win three WSOP Main tournaments. In this A.W Vidmer’s directorial masterpiece, Micheal Imperioli who effortlessly donned the role of Stu Ungar beautifully expressed the break down of the character who once ruled the casino industry. The film captures the poker player’s journey featuring the extreme high and low points of his career. Eventually losing his wealth on betting on horses, Stu’s meteoric rise to the pinnacle of the casino industry followed by his absolute downfall is both devastatingly beautiful and entertaining.
In this comedic masterpiece, William H. Macy plays a quirky character who has been doomed with bad luck. The bad luck is so contagious that he quickly gains the reputation of being a cooler- a title designated to people with an excess amount of bad luck. He is so full of bad luck that casinos hire him to make him stand near the punters at the casino tables. The punters eventually lose the game and the casino’s house edge remains unaffected. But tables turn when the cooler’s bad luck changes into good luck and he eventually becomes a favourite lucky charm of every gambler in Las Vegas, much to the dismay and disappointment of the casino owners. In this fun premise, Wayne Kramer brought together an amazing cast that delivers a spectacular performance and provides an in-depth view of the casino industry that is still largely dominated by superstitions and the idea of luck.
The story may not have a direct link to casinos or online casinos but has a lot to do with the betting industry in general. The plot depicts the lives of a jockey’s, a horse’s and a trainer’s rise to the top of the betting world. Jeff Bridges is a lonely individual who has depression and is cursed with bad luck. The only thing that matters close to him is a lazy and good for nothing horse called Seabiscuit who was discovered by a cowboy trainer (Chris Cooper). Toby Maguire plays the role of an unusual jockey who trains Seabiscuit to win numerous matches and steer close to victories in this extraordinary underdog story. The best part about the film is that many of the events in the film are said to based on actual, true facts.
Rounders is the story of a young entrepreneur who pays his university fees by successfully beating gamblers at the poker table. Effortlessly played by Matt Damon, the show provides an insight into the poker industry. The film features other big names as well including John Malkovich and Edward Norton. Matt Damon has one mission: to defeat and crush the spirits of an indolent and irresponsible poker baron Malkovich in a high stakes game of poker. Marked by brilliant performances, the film is a genuine and honest representation of the highs and lows of the casino industry, poker techniques and the occasional table banter.