Let’s face it; there are few movies cooler than those that feature casino gameplay. The Bond franchise has dined out on this fact for years.
There are plenty of casino movies to choose from too, with poker hit ‘The Gambler’ and Kevin Spacey’s legendary blackjack film ‘21’ leading the charge. Then there’s Ocean’s Eleven of course. Roulette is also a common feature of Hollywood films, even though this game may not be as easy to portray on the silver screen as some of the other alternatives. Roulette also suffers from the fact that it is falsely pinned as being James Bond’s casino game of choice, when in fact the worlds’ most deadly secret agent enjoys nothing more than a few rounds of baccarat. Of course, that tends to depend on who he is pursuing at the time. Who knows, we might see a roulette movie based on something like the Ohio roulette scam in the future.
So what are the best roulette films out there? Well, it’s a subjective question, but here’s our vote:
The Roulette Table in Casablanca in Italian! (Well, the croupier’s speaking French). The Lucky Number? 22!
If you are looking for the film that captures both the romance and the tragedy of roulette, the classic hit Casablanca is right up there. The game sits at the heart of one of the films’ central plot lines, with Rick’s Café American featuring a fixed European roulette wheel that frequently lands on 22 (funny how you don’t play American Roulette at the American Cafe, but I guess it’s closer to France despite the name). One day, the café owner (played by the iconic Humphrey Bogart) takes pity on a luckless, down–and-out gambler and encourages him to place all of his money on 22 in a final shot of glory. Of course, his number comes in (twice) and his whole existence takes a turn for the better. This is Hollywood, after all.
A character driven film, Croupier rarely receives the praise or critical acclaim that it is due. Telling the story of failing writer Jack Manfred, it charts the characters’ descent into the immersive and captivating world of gambling, deceit and obsession. Working as a croupier for a leading casino, he soon falls in love with a regular player and becomes involved in a plot to cheat the owner out of millions. Bisecting the fine lines between morality and greed, Croupier produces a thrilling hook that accurately captures the thrill of live gambling.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Oh go on then, let’s talk about James Bond at the Roulette Table. We know he loves his baccarat (the Labouchere Strategy is his system of choice), but 007 heads to the roulette wheel in quite a few of the movies. In “Diamonds Are Forever”, Bond, hunting down diamond smugglers, pitches up in a Las Vegas casino where he plays, and wins, at roulette. The opening scenes of Dr No also feature roulette, plus the novels : Moonraker and Casino Royale.