The Most Famous and Best Poker and Casino Movies

Upper class friends gambling in a casino.

Casinos are always an exciting topic to explore in movies. From secret agents to daring heists, a prestigious casino always provides a thrilling story. It’s a creative way to turn an ordinary situation into a high-stakes one. Read on to discover the best poker casino movies.

Why Are Casino Movies So Popular?

While physical casinos have already cemented their status in mainstream media, they can still feel unfamiliar to many people. The rise of online gambling has allowed almost everyone to play iconic games like poker from the comfort of their homes. Expert Nina Olsendburg believes that casino movies have risen in popularity as many more people can now understand and enjoy what is happening on screen.

This is especially true in Norway, where physical casinos are illegal. Online gambling is the only option available. There are many that let Norwegian players enjoy casino games. Now you can enjoy all the games you see in casino movies virtually. You’ll also be able to appreciate these films more for a better experience. 


21 is one of few casino movies that explores the art of card counting in-depth. A group of students decide to use their math skills to increase their chances of winning casino games like blackjack. With a talented cast including Kevin Spacey and an engaging story, it’s a fantastic way to learn the basics of card counting. If you’re looking for a deeper look into how card games work, this film is the one to watch. 

Casino Royale (2006)

Of course, a list of best casino movies wouldn’t be complete without a thrilling spy film. The plot revolves around an intense poker game where Bond aims to bankrupt a terrorist financier. The film captures the feeling of high-stakes poker, with massive bets and exciting psychological mind games. And once it’s over, you can still enjoy the action-packed set-pieces the series is known for.

Uncut Gems (2019)

While a recent release, Uncut Gems quickly caught the attention of casino movie fans. This adrenaline-fueled story decides to focus on the gambler instead of the actual casino. Adam Sandler gives one of his best performances here as a desperate gambler stuck in debt. The twists and turns never stop, providing an intense look into the mind of a man addicted to gambling.

The Hustler (1961)

The Hustler is another film that explores the more human aspects of gambling. Paul Newman gives his breakout performance as Eddie Felson, a pool hustler looking to make it big. It takes a deep look at the themes of winning and losing, which can be applied to all regular casino games. This classic drama is a must-watch for any gambling fans.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Even if you’re not into the details of casino games, everyone can enjoy this action-filled heist story with a casino backdrop. The focus on Ocean’s Eleven is instead on the prestige and awe of casinos. It’s an excellent showcase of the draws of modern casinos, from the stunning setting to the stylish players.

The Gambler (1974)

This unique take on gambling addiction takes a look at its self-destructive nature. The Gambler follows Axel Freed’s downward spiral as he constantly gambles himself into danger. Even when he has the cash he needs to pay off his debts, he can’t stop himself from gambling it all away. It’s a captivating exploration of the thrill-seeking obsession that some people can’t escape.

Rain Man (1988)

While not entirely about casinos, Rain Man dedicates a lot of its runtime to games of blackjack. This emotional tale follows two brothers, played by Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, on a road trip across America. Hoffman’s character Raymond is an autistic savant who uses his extraordinary memory to count cards in Las Vegas when the duo is desperate for cash. Both actors deliver incredible performances for an intriguing look at two estranged brothers bonding over blackjack.

Casino (1995)

Lastly, we have one of the most famous casino movies from legendary director Martin Scorsese. This 1995 classic follows Robert De Niro as casino boss Ace as he deals with the brutal day-to-day trials of a mob-run casino over seven years. The film expertly showcases the evolution of gambling from a seedy enterprise into a prestigious industry.


From classic films to recent blockbusters, casinos have been the subject of many fantastic films. The topics in casino movies vary wildly from fun and exciting stories to deeper explorations of gambling addiction. There’s something here for everyone to enjoy. No matter the context, adding the risk associated with gambling to a movie always elevates the enjoyment.

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