The Best Gambling Movies of All Time | Top 15 List

Thinking of a gambling-related movie is a no-brainer. What's hard is thinking of one which depicts gambling without the washed-up, borderline parody of a scene where vanilla law-abiding citizens unleash their inner party animal, throwing chips in the air and bathing in champagne, girl on each arm. As cliché as it gets, probably everyone would like to make it rain by channelling their inner Raymond or being part of Ocean's … uhmm … 11, 12 or 13 but it's a safe bet (pun intended) that before we do any of that we'll pop some corn and watch a movie about it happening to Dustin Hoffman or Julia Roberts. So, here are our suggestions for must-see gambling related movies.
Best Classic Gambling Related Movies Share on Pinterest

How Do We Rank Our Films in This List?

In order to provide you with accurate and relevant information, we have sorted our gambling and casino movies list based on their ratings as they appear on IMDb, starting from the highest rated one. As additional references, we have also included their ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. The three websites use different yet objective ranking methods allowing users and critics to vote and rate each film.

  • IMDb uses a very simple, yet effective ranking system. It takes all individual votes cast by registered users and calculates a single rating. The final rating displayed on the page is the film’s average weighted rating. Any film ranked above 5 or 6 is considered good and recommendable.
  • Rotten Tomatoes measure the percentage of positive and negative critic reviews given about a film to calculate its final score in the Tomatometer. Scores above 60% are considered fresh, while anything below it is called “rotten”. Additionally, the site also includes audience score based on the ratings given by the users. For our list of films, we will use scores from the Tomatometer.
  • Metacritic‘s Metascore is the weighted average rating of many reviews written by reputable critics. Thus, the website ranks the film based on professional opinions only. Critics’ favourite movies are usually considered “very good” and have a rating above 70%.

Looking for a good casino movie to watch? For easier navigation, in the table below we have listed all of our best gambling movies together with their rankings.

Best-Rated Gambling Movies
Gambling Movies Year IMDb Metacritic Rotten Tomatoes
Casino 1995 8.2/10 73% 79%
Casino Royale 2006 8.0/10 80% 94%
Ocean’s 11 2001 7.8/10 74% 82%
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 1998 7.7/10 41% 49%
Molly’s Game 2017 7.5/10 71% 82%
Rounders 1998 7.3/10 75% 98%
The Cincinnati Kid 1965 7.3/10 n/a 85%
The Gambler 1974 7.3/10 n/a 75%
Mr Lucky 1943 7.2/10 72% 100%
Hard Eight 1996 7.2/10 78% 83%
Croupier 1998 7.1/10 75% 98%
Owning Mahowny 2003 7.1/10 70% 79%
The Cooler 2003 7.0/10 69% 77%
21 2008 6.8/10 48% 35%
Mississippi Grind 2015 6.4/10 77% 90%

1. Casino (1995) | IMDb: 8.2/10

Metacritic: 73% Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Based on a real story brought to the screen with the mastery of Scorsese and the stunning performances of Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, Casino is probably the hands-down ultimate gambling-related movie classic that tops any list. The film makes us feel like we’re having the curtain lifted from a scene that we really should avert our eyes from for our own safety. De Niro portrays a bookie who has to run Vegas casinos for his mob bosses, while Joe Pesci’s character Nicky Santoro is a thief and a killer whose recklessly violent behaviour puts them both in danger. In a true Scorsese dynamic editing, Casino stands out from the director’s other mob movies with some of the most memorable scenes in the history of cinema, taking gambling on a macro level – behind closed doors where the steaks are really, really high. For more information about the movie, read our special Casino (1995) movie review.

2. Casino Royale (2006) | IMDb: 8.0/10

Metacritic: 80% Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Do you like the classic James Bond movies? If so, you will love Casino Royale. It follows a rookie agent James Bond, who sets out on his first mission as 007, in which he has to defeat Le Chiffre, who is the banker to the world’s terrorist organisations. As Secret Intelligence reveals that Le Chiffre is planning to raise money in a high-stakes poker game, it is up to Bond to play against and defeat him, which would lead to the destruction of his crime organisation. If you are interested in learning more Agent 07’s poker game, please visit our blog post dedicated to The Casino Royale Poker Scene. Casino Royale is also Daniel Craig’s first film as James Bond and arguably among the best ones in the franchise. It shows the legendary agent in a new light and exposes the glamorous private high-stakes casino games.

3. Ocean’s 11 (2001) | IMDb: 7.8/10

Metacritic: 74% Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

Ocean’s 11 is undoubtedly one of the best and most entertaining heist movies. It tells the story of Danny Ocean who violates his parole immediately after being released from prison and travel to Las Vegas, where with the help of his old friends and acquaintances plans to simultaneously rob The Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos, all of which owned by his rival Terry Benedict. Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film counts with the majestic performances of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Andy Garcia, Matt Roberts, Julia Roberts, Bernie Mac and others. Besides being well-received from the public, Ocean’s 11 also received various well-deserved film award nominations.

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) | IMDb: 7.7/10

Metacritic: 41% Rotten Tomatoes: 49%

Before his streak of colourful quirky characters, Johnny Depp did an outstanding performance as Raoul Duke who takes a ride to Las Vegas in search of the American dream together with a psychotic lawyer. This adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name follows their psychedelic journey, infused with a lot of and different kinds of drugs and alcohol. The duo falls short of reaching their American dream goal, crossing paths with disillusioned hitch-hikers, gamblers, and of course the odd police officer in a run of surreal experiences, as the intoxicating substances gradually take hold. To learn more about the movie check our dedicated article here.

5. Molly’s Game (2017) | IMDb: 7.5/10

Metacritic: 71% Rotten Tomatoes: 82%

Molly’s Game is an American biographical crime drama film based on the real story of Molly Bloom. The protagonist interpreted by Jessica Chastain is a world-class mogul skier who is forced to give up her career after she is severely injured during the qualifying event for the 2002 Winter Olympic. Instead of following her original plan to attend a law school, however, Molly decides to move to Los Angeles where she is slowly introduced to the world of underground poker. She runs some of the world’s most exclusive poker games for a decade until she is arrested by 17 FBI agents. The film is undoubtedly a masterpiece, nominated for many awards. It also counts with the stellar performances of Idris Elba, Michael Cera, Kevin Costner and Jeremy Strong. Eager to find out more about this intriguing story? Read our special article on the real story of Molly Bloom.

6. Rounders (1998) | IMDb: 7.3/10

Metacritic: 75% Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

Okay, what do we have here – John Malkovich portraying a mental Russian mobster and a Will Hunting with a twist facing off in a no-limit, heads-up game of Texas Hold’em. Does it get any better? This movie explores the grim side of addiction in a nonchalant way. Brilliant performances by both Malkovich and Matt Damon show there’s nothing glamorous about the queasy fascination with danger and the short-lived adrenaline rushes brought on by the fear and thrill in gambling. The dark humour in this neo-noir, however, prevents you from contemplating the meaninglessness of life and imperfect human nature as you can’t be getting all philosophical while watching a gangster munching on biscuits, can you?

7. The Cincinnati Kid (1965) | IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%

It’s been over 50 years since the premiere of one of the most iconic gambling movies ever and the debate over the scene with the last hand still instigates vehement debates among gamblers to this day. Poker experts are more concerned with how implausible and even “laughable” it is, throwing poker out the window, while movie critics tend to focus on the motive of growing up and coming of age and the metaphor of experience versus the imperious spirit of youth. Whether you’re interested in the mechanics of stud poker and you’re exploring all opportunities you might find yourself facing, or you’re just a sucker for the good old Hollywood classics, bump this up in your watching list.

8. The Gambler (1974) | IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

The Gambler offers a glimpse inside the mind of an addict in a way that no other gambling movie really does. Carried by brilliant performances, the film explores the gloomy world of gambling addiction from the momentary jittery panic of losing a game to its further development into a consuming need for deeper and darker obsessions. James Kaan builds up a genuine and authentic character unlike any we’ve seen so far – Axel Freed, a troubled college teacher who has a fascination with danger and not only invites it to his life but even seeks and woos it, going further down the path of debt and self-destruction; a sobering reminder of the precarious nature of compulsive gambling.

9. Mr Lucky (1943) | IMDB: 7.2/10

Metacritic: 72% Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

No contemporary rom-com would ever make this list but what we have here is Cary Grant portraying a shady gambler who tries to scam a war relief charity by taking the identity of a dead gangster only to have a change of heart after falling for a wealthy socialite. Black and white, exuding 1940s Hollywood glamour, complete with all the black spots flickering and sound crackling, this old-timer exploits the “bad guy gone good” theme in a non-obtrusive elegant manner. So, Nicholas Sparks, you can use that Notebook of yours to jot some notes on a good romance. Just imagine what the Blood Bank scene would have looked like if we had the luck Hitchcock to direct it.

10. Hard Eight (1996) | IMDb: 7.2/10

Metacritic: 78% Rotten Tomatoes: 83%

This neo-noir thriller is Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut with an original storyline and compelling characters. Philip Baker Hall plays a gambler past his prime who becomes the unlikely father-figure for a young kid (John C. Reilly) down on his luck, in love with a waitress, and short of money he needs for his mother’s funeral. Although it lacks the dynamics of other gambling movies, Hard Eight places the emphasis on the human story and character depth. A soft, sort of a languid story, the movie goes into the details of gambling schemes, but never loses the focus on the mistakes, experience, and relationship of the characters.

11. Croupier (1998) | IMDb: 7.1/10

Metacritic: 75% Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

With so many gambling movies focusing on the players’ stories, Croupier is a rare elegant gem that tells the story of the dealer as the link between his bosses and the customers. Clive Owen does a stunning performance as Jack Manfred – a struggling writer working as a croupier who narrates his own story in the third person. Detached and emotionally cold, Manfred seems convinced of his capability to stay in control of his life, narrate it, and write it into a novel. He doesn’t gamble at the casino but seems to be placing high bets in his personal life, as he finds himself entangled in a casino heist and juggling three women. Want to learn more about the movie and the life of the croupiers? Check out our article The Croupier: Myths and Truths to find out more about the film and what it means to work as a croupier.

12. Owning Mahowny (2003) | IMDb:7.1/10

Metacritic: 70% Rotten Tomatoes: 79%

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays Dan Mahowny – a Toronto bank manager who seems like a capable helpful professional in a grey suit, invested in his career and focused on frugality. A scratch beneath the surface reveals that the quiet and mild-mannered man is actually stealing money from his clients’ bank accounts in order to fund his gambling addiction. Hoffman does a brilliant performance as he portrays exactly what gambling addiction does to players – it’s not the thrill of the wins or the despondency of the loss – it’s the entire process of losing control.

13. The Cooler (2003) | IMDb: 7.0/10

Metacritic: 69% Rotten Tomatoes: 77%

Bad luck incarnate Bernie Lootz, portrayed by William H. Macy, is a professional loser who has found a way to capitalise on his uncanny ability to lose every single bet he makes. Paying off a debt to casino manager Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), Bernie is a full-time “cooler” responsible for restoring the house edge by ending high-roller streaks as he seems to be able to transfer his bad luck onto other players. Bernie’s fling with a waitress somehow seems to weaken his cooling powers causing him and his boss a big deal of trouble. With great performances and a fun premise, the film accentuates the whimsies of fate and the idea of superstition and luck in gambling. If you wan to learn more about this movie check our dedicated article here.

14. 21 (2008) | IMDb: 6.8/10

Metacritic: 48% Rotten Tomatoes: 35%

The American heist drama film 21 is indubitably another gambling movie worth watching. Inspired by the real story of the described in the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, the film tells the story of a group of brilliant students, which forms a special blackjack team. However, the group uses unique techniques such as card counting and covert signalising in order to increase their probabilities of winning. The team quickly makes significant profits but also experiences certain negative consequences on their personal lives. The film’s protagonist Ben makes a long journey from being one of the most serious and brilliant students to becoming an excellent blackjack player, which eventually leads him into trouble. Read more about the movie and the original MIT blackjack counters who inspired the film here.

15. Mississippi Grind (2015) | IMDb: 6.4/10

Metacritic: 77% Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

The American drama road film Mississippi Grind tells the story of Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a talent poker player with a harmful gambling habit, who meets the young traveller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) and convinces him to hit the road together, visiting some unique gambling ventures. Wishing to participate in a legendary high-stakes poker game in New Orleans, the two embark on an exciting gambling trip full of highs and lows and many wins and losses. The film approaches the topic of gambling in a unique way, showing the excitement that comes from it as well as the possible negative and positive consequences that it could lead to. Definitely a film worth watching if you are road trip movies fan who also happens to like casinos.

Want to Try Your Luck Gambling Online?

We hope you liked our list of the best gambling and casino movies but in case you need more films to watch, why not check our article dedicated to the best gambling movies on Netflix. And if you feel inspired and want to try your luck, why not select one of our best gambling sites? All websites on our list have been tested, rated and carefully chosen to make sure you play with the best bonus offers and under the best conditions!

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