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11 June 2016
By John Marchel
Over the years there have been numerous movies made with a gambling theme. Many have become classics and are as popular today as they were when first released. Some of the stories are pure fiction while others have some bases of true events in the past. However, sometimes Hollywood takes a few liberties when it comes to real events, and the story seems to move a little away from what really happened, but that’s Hollywood.
My short list of 10 films contains what I think are some of the most notable gambling and poker movies. Each of them provides its own unique outlook on the vast world of gambling. I suggest, when you are thinking of getting a movie from your favorite rental store, take this short list with you and I bet you will enjoy any one of them.
BUGSY tells the true story of legendary New York mobster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel who built the Flamingo Hotel & Casino, which paved the way for the mob to take over Las Vegas. It stars Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley and Elliott Gould.
Indecent Proposal (1993)
A couple goes to Las Vegas to try their luck. After gambling away all of their savings, they encounter a billionaire who is attracted to Diana and offers David one million dollars to spend a night with her. Stars Robert Redford, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson.
Martin Scorsese's film about Las Vegas and the mafia during the '70s. Loosely based on the true
story of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro and how the Chicago Outfit
dominated gambling in Las Vegas. Starring Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci.
The Texas Hold’em poker movie from the '90s, with John Malkovich as the Russian gangster "Teddy KGB" and Edward Norton in one of his earliest roles. Starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, Framke Janssen and Gretchen Mol.
The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team as told in Bringing Down the House, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. Stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts and Aaron Yoo.
Ocean's Eleven (1960)
This is the original Las Vegas casino heist movie from 1960. Starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Angie Dickinson.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The most classic poker movie of them all. Steve McQueen is the Cincinnati Kid. Starring McQueen, Ann Margret, Edward G. Robinson, Karl Malden and Tuesday Weld.
Big Hand for a Little Lady (1966)
Comedy western, the five richest men in the territory gather for their annual high-stakes poker
game. A traveler bets more money than he can afford and unusual events follow. Starring Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards Jr., Paul Ford, Charles Bickford, Burgess Meredith.
The Sting (1973)
Probably one of the best of all gambling-related movies. Newman and Redford play two clever con artists seeking revenge against a gangster. Starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw.
Let It Ride (1989)
An average kind of guy who has a slight problem with gambling goes to the track, and mystically, it seems as though he can't lose, no matter how he bets; and he has an incredible day. Staring Richard Dreyfuss, David Johansen, Teri Garr, Jennifer Tilly, Allen Garfield.
BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW
• In the movie Casino, starring Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone, De Niro used 70 different costumes and Stone had 40. Both actors were allowed to keep their costumes after the film was finished.
• The movie Casino, casino scenes shot at the Riviera casino in Las Vegas were between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. so as not to get in the way of the real gamblers.
• The Flamingo Hotel & Casino was not the brainchild of Bugsy Siegel. The original idea was that of Hollywood Reporter publisher Billy Wilkerson. When Wilkerson’s construction money ran low, Siegel saw an opportunity to become a partner in that venture and eventually take it over.
• The movie 21 was the story about MIT students who became blackjack card counters and beat many casinos out of a lot of money. MIT wouldn’t allow filming on its campus, so the movie was actually filmed at Boston University.
• During the making of the movie Hondo, John Wayne won the movie dog Lassie away from owner Rudd Weathwax in a poker game. Since the game involved quite a lot of alcohol, and not really an “ordinary” game; Wayne decided to give the dog back the next morning.
• The most frequently played single number in roulette is 17. Why? Because that's the number James Bond played in his movies.
• The first movie Frank Sinatra performed in was “Las Vegas Nights” in 1941, which featured Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra.
This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at email@example.com.
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