Movies – The Best Gambling Ones
Movies are great. Gambling ones are even better. Gambling has always been a favourite topic for Hollywood to explore. From heists to hustlers to high stakes Poker games. There’s plenty of material for plots that grip you from beginning to end. And give you an inside look into one of the world’s most popular pastimes. So if you’re on the hunt for something to watch, one of these gambling movies could be just the ticket.
Movies about Gambling, here we come
1. Uncut Gems (2020)
If you’re more used to seeing Adam Sandler playing comedic roles like Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, his turn in the gambling movie Uncut Gems could come as something of a shock. Rather than his more usual slapstick humour. Sandler turns in an awe-inspiring performance as Howard (or Howie) Ratner. A jeweller with a penchant for high-stakes sports betting.
The film’s narrative is a chaotic one. So if you’re more used to browsing social media while watching movies, you may want to put your phone down so you don’t miss a minute of the action. Intense and increasingly dark. Uncut Gems sees Sandler using any and all resources at his disposal in order to climb out of debt, with ruinous consequences.
Keep your eye on the prize
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll recognize former Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics player Kevin Garnett playing himself in a supporting role. Although a largely fictionalized version. The movie’s overall message centres on the devastation that gambling can wreak. Both on problem gamblers and their loved ones too. It’s not for the faint-hearted. But it does drive home the crucial point that you should never gamble with more than you can afford to lose. Because ultimately you could end up losing it all.
2. Molly’s Game (2017)
From sports betting to underground Poker. And the movie Molly’s Game, with Oscar winner Jessica Chastain in the titular role. Based on the true life story of Molly Bloom. Molly’s Game infiltrates the world of high stakes and high roller Poker. And demonstrates how, when the rules are broken, even the mightiest can fall.
Gambling can be great, when done right
While Poker is usually thought of as a men’s game, Molly’s Game breaks the mould with a female lead. In this case, ex-Olympic skier Molly Bloom. Who moves from a career in athletics to one in underground Poker. Where she quickly develops a reputation for hosting high roller games. With celebrities and high-powered businessmen around her table. Her little black book of players becomes highly coveted. And when she makes the perilous decision to break a rule, the FBI are only too happy to step in and shut her down.
Moving through flashbacks as Molly tells her story to her lawyer, played by Idris Elba. The movie is fast-paced and gripping. With writer and first-time director Aaron Sorkin at the helm. And while no one knows for sure the identities of the celebrities at Molly’s underground Poker games. Speculation is rife. Play it safe – enjoy the movie. Then stick to your normal Poker night at home with friends. Molly’s Game is far too rich for most people’s blood.
And we have more…
3. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Taking a step back in time to the cinema of the 1960s, The Cincinnati Kid stars Steve McQueen in a movie about an exhilarating game of Poker between an old veteran and an up-and-coming star. McQueen is the new kid on the block. And his opponent is Edward G. Robinson, as the Poker pro Lancey Howard. As the tension between the two escalates, the movie reaches its climax in an unpredictable way. With almost unbelievable hands of Poker being played. Whether you’re into classic cinema movies or not. If you’re a fan of the game of Poker, do yourself a favour and put The Cincinnati Kid on your watch list. You can thank us later.
4. Rain Man (1988)
It might not be a gambling film per se, but the 1980s film Rain Man contains some of the most famous gambling scenes ever shown on screen. And the collaboration between Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman is not to be missed. After learning of the existence of his autistic brother following the death of his estranged father. Charlie Babbitt (played by Cruise) takes Raymond (played by Hoffman) on a cross-country trip in a bid to increase his own inheritance. After finding out that Raymond has a particular set of skills when it comes to card counting. Charlie takes Ray to Vegas to strike it rich. And ends up finding out just what casinos think of players who try to bend the rules in Blackjack. Worth it for the casino scenes alone. Rain Man is a must-see. Due in no small part to Hoffman’s Oscar-winning performance, and his chemistry with Cruise.
Who hasn’t seen this next one…
5. The Hustler (1961)
This Paul Newman classic may not take place in a casino, but it’s a bona fide gambling movie all the same. In this case one that explores the world of pool hustling. If the plot sounds familiar, that’s because Newman also plays the same pool hustler in the sequel. The Color of Money, opposite Tom Cruise.
The Hustler is the original though. And considered by many to be the better movie of the two. Here Newman plays Eddie Freed. A hustler who travels from town to town earning money as he goes. Eventually he crosses the path of the illustrious Minnesota Fats. And is forced to challenge the veteran player in a battle of skill and wits.
Don’t expect any humour or any slick moves. Instead expect a gritty, riveting movie that’s thought to be one of the best gambling films ever made. Get the popcorn and prepare to watch Newman in one of his finest roles. A performance that turned him into a legend.
Last but not least…
6. The Gambler (1974)
You may have seen the 2014 version of this 1970s film starring Mark Wahlberg. But if you can, make an effort to see the original with James Caan. We promise it’ll be worth it. Here the story follows the fortunes of university professor Axel Freed. Played by Caan. Unfortunately Freed’s love for gambling goes beyond it being a mere pastime, and spirals into addiction and self-sabotage. The more Freed gambles, the more he loses. And the more dire his circumstances become.
Eventually he starts to gamble with more than just money. He puts his life on the line as well. With the movie’s tension ultimately building to a gripping climax. Once again, it’s a lesson in what can happen if your gambling behaviour starts to veer towards the irresponsible. So please – for your sake and the sake of your loved ones, NEVER gamble with more than you can afford to spend.