Top 10 Gambling Movies List
There are many gambling-based movies inspired by the risks taken by players and casino operators. Some of these films cover true-life stories, while some show us fictional drama, crime, and even romance. In this article, we will share the top 10 gambling movies every bettor needs to watch. By the time we are done, you will know which kind of movie piques your interest and is worth your time and which one is not.
10. 21 (2008 film)
Inspired by the actual story gambling movie, 21 is a remarkable film directed by Robert Luketic. The movie is based on a group of brilliant MIT students led by Ben, a mathematics major. Impressed by his brilliancy and impressive skills, a mathematician’s professor (Kevin Spacey) links Ben and several other talented students to count cards and beat casinos in the Vegas strip.
Using the incredible card counting techniques at the blackjack tables, this group was able to boost their odds. However, like most movies, a mixture of betrayal, self-indulgence, ego, bad luck, and the security team becomes worse. Anyone who is a fan of blackjack and interested in card counting techniques will undoubtedly enjoy this film.
- Starring actors: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey
- Overall budget: $35 million
- Earnings: $159.8 million
- Director: Robert Luketic
9. Rounders (film)
Starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton, Rounders is a 1998 American poker gambling film directed by John Dahl. The story follows friends in high stake games as they try to win to pay off a considerable debt. Mike (played by Matt) is the main lead of the show. Unfortunately, he initially loses a significant sum of money, which leads to him promising his girlfriend and friend that he has quit gambling poker to concentrate on law school.
However, after several months of keeping his promise, his childhood friend “Worm” (played by Edward) is released from prison. But his release sends Mike back into the Poker road, and the only issue is that Worm is a big cheater while Mike is an honest player. When you watch this movie, you will get to see relationships and careers falling apart, friend’s betrayal, and most importantly, dreams getting reborn.
Rounders is simply the perfect game for any card lover looking forward to enjoying some drama about the underground world of high-stake poker.
- Starring actors: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro, Famke Janssen
- Overall budget: $12 million
- Earnings: $22.9 million
- Director: John Dahl
8. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Four long-time friends, Eddy (Nick Moran), Bacon (Jason Statham), Tom (Jason Flemyng), and Soap (Dexter Fletcher), invest all their hard-earned cash. Eddy, who is the group’s genius, is responsible for turning their cash into a good fortune in a high stake three-card game hosted by Harry. However, the game turns to be a setup, and Eddy ends up losing all their cash and deeply in debt to Harry. The host gives them only a week to come up with the money or end up facing severe consequences.
Eddy’s dad alternatively suggests handing over his bar to Harry while the friends try to develop strategies to make money a lot faster. When the movie goes on, you will see the movie turning around as the four friends go through a menace as they try to raise the cash. Heist, drugs, violence, debt, these are just some of the things that make Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels a must-watch movie about gambling for any gambler out there.
- Starring actors: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham
- Overall budget: $1.40 million
- Earnings: $28.1 million
- Director: Guy Ritchie
7. Hard Eight (film)
Hard Eight is the authentic depiction of an American crime film, which Paul Thomas Anderson directed. The film begins with Sydney, a professional gambler, who approaches John, who has just lost his mother and needs to pay for her funeral. But unfortunately, John cannot come up with the entire sum of money needed. Sydney offers to take John to Las Vegas, where he teaches him how to gamble and survive.
After two years, John and Sydney become close, with Sydney displaying fatherly care to him. Further into the film, Sydney connects John to a woman named Clementine, a cocktail waiter and a prostitute. As it happens, John has a friend called Jimmy, who is also attracted to Clementine. Later on, Jimmy threatens Sydney to give him a specified amount of money, or else he will inform John that he was the one who killed his father some years ago. In a nutshell, Hard Eight is a suspense movie related to gambling with few crime scenes.
- Starring actors: Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson
- Overall budget: $3 million
- Earnings: $222,559
- Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
6. Mississippi Grind
Written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Mississippi Grind is another exciting film on our gambling movies list. It follows two friends (Curtis and Gerry) on their trip to New Orleans from Iowa. The two are great at playing Texas Hold ’em, but they are somehow reckless when it comes to gambling.
During their journey, they steal money and lose money as they try to win. Like most gambling movies, a little bit of romance also takes place in the movie. As usual, things, later on, take turns and twists along their journey, making their experience worse and their friendship stronger. Mississippi Grind covers regret, depression, and addiction.
- Starring actors: Lynette Howell, Ben Nearn, Jamie Patricof, Tom Rice
- Overall budget: $7.1 million
- Earnings: $422,746
- Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
5. Uncut Gems
Uncut Gems is one of the most heartbreaking gambling movies, sure to leave even those with a heart of stones tearing up at the end. The film follows the life events of a gambling addict, Howard Ratner (played by Adam Sandler). Howard sinks deep into his sickness to an extent where he steals a rare black opal in Ethiopia, thinking that it might be his lucky charm.
Unfortunately, things turn the worse for him, from divorce to betrayal from his girlfriend to his wife rejecting his pleas to give their marriage another chance. The thrill and the crazed rush that comes from this movie are, without doubt, surreal. At one point, you may think that things will turn for the better for poor Howard, but once you see the finale, you will end up disappointed and heartbroken. These are just some of the outcomes most gambling addicts face.
- Starring actors: Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett
- Overall budget: $19 million
- Earnings: $50 million
- Director: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
4. Molly’s Game
Molly’s Game is another fantastic gambling movie based on the true story of Molly Bloom, a first-class Olympic skier. Unfortunately, her skiing career ended when she was severely injured in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Jessica Chastain plays her role. She is depicted as a strong and brilliant woman who knows how to run successful underground poker games. All her management skills came from Dean’s games, who later on becomes jealous when Molly increasingly became independent in operating the games and ended up firing her.
However, thanks to the skills she acquired from Dean, Molly manages to open up her own underground poker business where she was able to attract successful players. She becomes increasingly successful, but massive changes later on happen, and she suffers heavy losses and is arrested by the FBI.
- Starring actors: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera
- Overall budget: $30 million
- Earnings: $59.3 million
- Director: Aaron Sorkin
3. Casino (1995 film)
The Casino is perhaps one of the most beloved casino movies you must watch. It covers a little bit of everything from romance to drama and crime. In short, Casino portrays the Las Vegas life back in the 1970s. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the mafia sends a man called Ace to run and manage the Tangiers Casino. Ace is a sports handicapper who knows how to handle the business well and doubles the casino’s profits faster. However, the mob later sends Sam’s childhood friend to protect Sam and ensure that everything is kept in order in the casino.
Things, however, do not seem as they are—the storyline changes to romance, betrayal, arrest, and crime. The Casino ends with deaths, arrests, and a significant transformation of Las Vegas to what we all know today. As for Ace, he gets back to where it all started.
- Starring actors: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles
- Overall budget: $40–50 million
- Earnings: $116.1 million
- Director: Martin Scorsese
2. California Split (1974 film)
If you are looking forward to watching a gambling movie packed with comedy and tons of drama, then the California Split may be a wise choice. The game covers two friends, Bill and Charlie, on their gambling adventure as they play poker games, roulette, blackjack, and craps. As usual, Bill becomes addicted to this new lifestyle, which leads him to go into debt. However, fate seems to be on their side as Bill wins more and more money on the casino games. In the end, Bill quits, shares the winnings with Charlie, and they both go their separate ways.
- Starring actors: George Segal, Elliott Gould, Ann Prentiss, Gwen Welles
- Overall budget: Unknown
- Earnings: $5 million
- Director: Robert Altman
1. Rain Man
Rain Man is a movie directed by Barry Levinson, starring Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbit and Dustin Hoffman, who plays Raymond. Charlie finds out that his father has died and has left him a vintage car while his multibillion assets to his other son. As a result, Charlie gets jealous and finds his brother, who is in a mental institution.
The storyline is quite interesting as we get to see two brothers on a road trip while their connection grows stronger. During their journey, Charlie discovers that his imaginary childhood friend ‘Rain Man’ was his brother Raymond.
- Starring actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
- Overall budget: $25 million
- Earnings: $354.8 million
- Director: Barry Levinson
Bonus: Revolver (2005 film)
Revolver is a 2005 British-French crime thriller film co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie. A plot runs around illegal gambling mafia boss Dorothy Macha and his opponent Jake Green. It is a well-known Guy Ritchie gangster story at first glance. But mysteries and several screen questions will make you frustrated and speechless at the end of the play.
- Starring actors: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, André Benjamin
- Overall budget: $27 million
- Earnings: $6.7 million
- Director: Guy Ritchie
If you are a fan of gambling and anything that comes with it, you should watch any of these casino movies. From a thrilling experience to betrayal, winning, and losing, these kinds of movies will give you all you need to know about gambling. Our list covers the top 10 of the best gambling movies. This blog post means that you can find plenty of other films covering different forms of betting.