Casinos have been the subject or backdrop of many a program or film throughout TV and cinema history. From the early days when black and whites ruled the cinemas, to the latest blockbuster releases such as the soon to be released Casino Royale, we have seen many a top actor portraying a smooth criminal, a dashing here, or hopeless romantic trying their luck or attempting to change the direction of their life and fortunes over a roulette wheel or blackjack table.
So what is it about casinos that provide such a good backdrop and subject for a film. Well, the first thing that springs to mind is the atmosphere. A busy casino radiates vibrant colours and sounds. As you enter a casino you can feel an air of expectancy, an aura of hope, intertwined with feelings of anguish, as many sit around roulette wheels and in front of slot machines trying their luck and hoping for that all important spin of the wheel or roll of the dice.
But this is not the most important ingredient that makes casinos a healthy subject for films. The all important ingredient that has been at the forefront of most peoples lives and something that we all aspire to, and many try various methods to get their hands on is MONEY!
Money, while the root of all evil, is also the cause of elation. It provides the chance to change ones life and obtain the many luxurious offerings we are confronted with each day. It also provides a great opportunity for filmmakers to build a plot around. Bank robbery, crime, racketeering, they all have an ultimate end goal, MONEY! Casinos have money in abundance. Unfortunately, casinos also have the stigma of being mafia related, due to the large amount of money involved, and the feeling that wherever there is a lot of money, there is usually a lot of crime. But for sure, wherever there is money, there is a story to tell.
So for whatever reason a film has been based around a casino or gambling, there have been many a great screen related casino moments. Here is a list of my top 10 moments in casino related TV and films. Not all will recall, or agree with the order, but nonetheless you may agree they are all worth a mention.
1. The whole of the Simpsons casino episode (How I stopped worrying and learned to love legalized gambling, 1993).
2. Daniel Craig having two teeth knocked out while filming Casino Royale (2006).
3. Dr. No (1962). Where Sean Connery first uttered those immortal words “Bond… James Bond”.
4. The heavily armed Elvis impersonators in 3000 miles to Graceland (2001).
5. Casino (1995). There are many moments from this film that I would like to add to this list, but the slick filmwork showing the flow of money from gamblers hand to the bank is worth a mention. Cannot mention the death scenes in this article.
6. The fight scene in a seedy casino from French movie District B13 (2004).
7. La Baie des anges, 1963. The seductive and alluring relationship between Jean Fournier and Jackie Demaistre in this casino and gambling related movie.
8. In Owning Mahowny (2003), Dan Mahowny is in denial. When confronted by his girl friend about his gambling, he tells her “I don’t have a gambling problem. I have a financial problem.”