The Best Gambling Movies

The Best Gambling Movies – Gambling movies are so remarkably tense for viewers because the stakes of casino games are already inherently high. Betting it all. Losing your shirt. Staring down your opponent, trying to read their mind. Perhaps it’s not surprising then that filmmakers have returned to the well as inspiration for thrillers, dramas, and action-packed adventures over the years.

The main characters in these films are upping the ante by risking their lives on the big score, falling into debt or addiction—or trying to game the system. Sometimes, they’re running underworld operations; sometimes those involved are super spies. No matter the set up, you can bet you’ll be entertained.

Whether you’re in it to learn how to beat the house or just want to hear the soothing sounds of chips stacking and slots spinning, these are the best gambling movies to put you right in the action

California Split

A great buddy film—and Robert Altman’s most underrated classic—California Split stars Elliot Gould and George Segal, both performing incredible feats of stoic face-acting. Part of the fun lies in trying to figure out if Segal hit it big or lost thousands, because his worrying expression never changes

The Gambler

Based on a true story of a crippling gambling addiction, screenwriter James Toback wrote The Gambler about his own problematic behavior, anger, and feelings of general desperation. The conflict makes for a great drama, as long as you’re watching the original ’70s film with James Caan and not the hated 2014 Mark Wahlberg remake

Bob le Flambeur

Directed by the master of French crime thrillers, Jean-Pierre Melville, Bob le Flambeur, a.k.a. Bob the Gambler, is an early masterpiece. After losing it all at the casino due to a lifelong addiction, Bob decides he’s going to get the old gang back together and rob the joint—if he can only keep himself away from the tables


Starring a 26-year-old Matt Damon, Rounders once again pits the Good Will Hunting boy wonder as the smartestwide-eyed cutie in the roomThis time, however, he’s winning poker games instead of solving chalkboard equations. Rounders also features one of the greatest line reads in all of cinema: John Malkovich screaming “Give that man his money!”

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