It could be the glamorous location, the thrill of not knowing which way the protagonist’s fortune will go, or the vivid colours that invade your eyes with luscious, bold, primary splashes, that make casino scenes in films so compelling; whatever it is, they certainly serve as scene stealers in so many memorable films. With a plethora of great casino scenes out there, we’ve had difficulty narrowing it down to just the top three, but we’re a persevering bunch, so we did and here they are.
Of course the first film on our list is Casino. The entire film is based on these fabulous gambling establishments and as one of the most iconic films of our time, it provides an entire bunch of fantastic scenes from which to choose. Our favourite is the “You wanna take your feet of the table” scene. Robert De Niro’s character, Sam “Ace” Rothstein is understandably miffed when a patron of one of his casinos decides to take his shoes off and hoist them up onto one of the casino tables. I mean, where does this fella think he is, at home browsing games at luckynuggetcasino.com/ca/ Of course after giving De Niro a tirade of potty-mouthed insults, violence ensues and the man is removed from the establishment. Despite the violence of the scene, the accompanying music and witty script make it a lot less frightening than it could have been and quite amusing instead.
The funky music, the quick cuts and inevitable saturation in the feel-good vibe of the eighties makes this casino scene a winner. Dustin Hoffman’s incredible performance as the trusting Raymond and Tom Cruise’s portrayal of the unscrupulous yet lovable money-grabbing rogue, Charlie Babbit are the perfect character combination. The scene we love occurs the first time they visit the casino to play Blackjack where, after a shaky start, the card counting Raymond sets them off on a winning streak with spectators cheering them on as their chips stack up. We find ourselves drawn into the excitement, willing the plan to work and for their card-counting ways to remain undiscovered.
The first scene is cinematic genius, with everything we need to know about 007 delivered in a series of beautifully crafted phrases and occurrences. The opulent surroundings of a busy casino, and elegantly clad characters provide a decadent feast for the eyes in this 1962 movie. Sean Connery establishes himself firmly as the charismatic James Bond while imprinting in our minds the character’s association with casinos for evermore as he casually wins a game of baccarat. During this scene he also receives his first mission, utters the now famous catchphrase, “Bond, James Bond” and leaves the casino with a beautiful woman: James Bond all wrapped up.