Films on Gambling


Docudrama 1991 UR 137 minutes. Warren Beatty stars as gangster Bugsy Siegel, who worked hard to realize his dream of building a gambling mecca in the middle of the Nevada desert. But his affair with screen siren Virginia Hill would ultimately bring him down.


Drama 1995 R 179 minutes. Martin Scorsese draws on Nicholas Pileggi’s book about Las Vegas in the 1970s and ’80s as inspiration for his tale contrasting the city’s glamorous exterior with its sordid interior fueled by excess — and the mob. Against this backdrop, the story chronicles the rise and fall of a casino owner with mob connections (Robert De Niro), his friend and Mafia underboss (Joe Pesci) and an ex-prostitute with expensive taste and a driving will (Sharon Stone).

The Big Business of Illegal Gambling

Documentary Crime Inc. CNBC 2009 NR 43m. Across the United States, billions are being made outside the law. Illegal gambling may conjure up images of mobsters and bookies — but while that underground world still exists, technology has made illegal gambling much more accessible.


Docudrama 2008 PG-13 123 minutes. Struggling to come up with medical school tuition, Ben Campbell turns to one of his professors, who trains Ben and five other students to become card-counting experts with the intent of swindling millions out of Las Vegas casinos.

Breaking Vegas

Documentary 2004 NR 75 minutes. Inspired by Ben Mizrich’s book detailing a scandal that shocked the “powers that be” at the biggest casinos in the nation, Breaking Vegas is a documentary that recounts how six college students attending prestigious MIT banded together for a massive cheat-fest. The intrepid troupe came up with the elaborate scheme themselves, using their collective genius to guzzle millions of dollars from Las Vegas gaming establishments.

Beating Blackjack

Documentary 2006 NR 50 minutes. Learn the secrets of the notorious M.I.T. blackjack team that took Las Vegas for millions. Andy Bloch, manager of the team, explains the strategies that can help you win big bucks at the casino. Topics include the mathematically correct way to play; how to keep a running card count and determine your advantage; betting strategies; and how to play as a group by using big players, spotters and gorillas to increase your wins.

High Roller
The Stu Ungar Story

Docudrama 2003 R 110 minutes. Michael Imperioli plays Stu Ungar in this eponymous drama about the accomplished gambler who won the Poker World Series a momentous three times, but was saddled with a gambling addiction that threatened to destroy the game he loved and, ultimately, his life. At first, Ungar returned to the table again and again because he was good at it; soon, though, it became a monkey that had jumped on his back and held on for dear life.


Player 5150

Drama 2007 R 91 minutes. Joey (Ethan Embry) has it all: He’s successful at his job as a day trader, he has a house on the beach and a gorgeous fiancĂ©e (Kathleen Robertson) to share it with. But Joey’s also addicted to gambling. It’s a double-edged sword that’s made him a whiz at the stock trade but that could also spell his ruin — especially when the unsympathetic mob comes looking for their money. Taking gambling and every bad thing associated with it to a new high. One of the most honest perspectives of Las Vegas I have ever seen… This should be required viewing for all move to Las Vegas.

The Last Casino

Drama 2004 NR 95 minutes. College professor Doug Barnes (Charles Martin Smith) has a big gambling problem. In deep to a loan shark, he recruits three grad students to learn how to count cards and get his money back. Soon, the trio is drawn into the gambling habit that Barnes is trying to shake. What began as a fun challenge for the three could end up costing them their lives. Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche and Albert Chung co-star.

Owning Mahowny

Drama 2003 R 105 minutes. Quiet and unassuming Dan Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an assistant bank manager with a penchant for gambling and a talent for embezzling, is the unlikeliest of men to rise up against two of the most powerful financial institutions around: the bank and the casino. But that’s precisely what he does — right under his girlfriend’s (Minnie Driver) nose. John Hurt co-stars in this crime drama that Roger Ebert ranked one of 2003’s best movies.

Finder’s Fee

Drama 2001 R 1hr 39m. This edgy drama follows young artist Adam (Erik Palladino), who finds a wallet with a lottery ticket worth millions inside. He later engages in a simple game of poker that gets interesting when Adam realizes the ticket’s owner (James Earl Jones) is among the players. Soon, Adam and his buddies (Matthew Lillard, Dash Mihok and Ryan Reynolds) are trapped in the man’s home. Jeff Probst, host of television’s “Survivor,” wrote and directed the film.

The Last Hand
(After the Game)

Drama 1997 R 1hr 29m. Clyde’s father is an avid gambler who’s as unlucky as they come, so when he finally wins big, he’s stunned. Sadly, shortly thereafter, he’s killed in a car accident. Clyde heads to the scene of the crime to uncover the truth about his father’s death, only to be lured into the very lifestyle that got his father killed. Stanley DeSantis, Sam Anderson, Lou Rawls and Frank Gorshin star.

Maverick (1994)

Drama 1994 PG 129 minutes. This big-screen remake of the Western TV series has poker-playing grifter Bret Maverick trying to wrangle a wad of cash to enter a big tournament. Maverick targets a few small-timers but ends up getting caught in a variety of comedic conundrums.

Maverick (1957)

Drama 1957 TV-14. Quicker on a card draw than with a pistol, gentleman gambler Bret Maverick (James Garner) and his brother, Bart (Jack Kelly), drift across the Wild West, going where the game leads them and relying on wit and moxie to keep out of trouble. Playing to each other’s strengths, silver-tongued Bret and stouthearted Bart win hands and the occasional lass, with brother Brent (Robert Colbert) and cousin Beau (Roger Moore) joining the duo in later seasons.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Drama 1971 R 121 minutes. From director Robert Altman comes a dazzling original film capturing the essence of frontier life while overturning Old West myths. John McCabe (Warren Beatty), an entrepreneurial vagabond, moves to a ramshackle Pacific Northwest town to establish a saloon/brothel. He soon meets the shrewd Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie), a professional madam with years of experience; together, they start a booming business and a blossoming relationship.

The Hustler

Drama 1961 NR 135 minutes. Paul Newman scores as pool shark “Fast Eddie” Felson, who tours the country hustling games — even challenging reigning champion Minnesota Fats — in this brooding drama that explores the synergies between good and evil, love and desperation.

The Cincinnati Kid

Drama 1965 NR 103 minutes. In Depression-era New Orleans, cocksure stud poker player Eric Stoner (Steve McQueen) — the titular Cincinnati Kid — challenges longtime champ Lancey “The Man” Howard (Edward G. Robinson) to a showdown at the table, where a war of wills — and nerve — ensues. Leading up to the suspenseful, high-stakes final hand, Stoner fends off the seductive advances of his best friend’s girl (Ann-Margret) in this gripping drama directed by Norman Jewison.

Lost in America

Satire 1985 R 91 minutes. David (Albert Brooks) and Linda (Julie Hagerty) live a boring life. David has dutifully obeyed orders at an ad agency for eight years, while Linda has devoted seven years to a dead-end job. But after David gets fired, they impulsively embark on a painfully hilarious odyssey of discovery. As they travel across the United States their finances dwindle to a dangerous low… and when they park their RV in Las Vegas, all bets are definitely off!

Betting on the Lottery

Documentary Frontline 1990. Lottery fever is spreading. Twenty-nine states now raise $20 billion a year in revenues. Frontline correspondent James Reston, Jr., goes behind the scenes of state lotteries to look at the promoters selling them, the people buying the tickets, and to ask the question, ‘Who really wins and who loses?’

Easy Money

Documentary Frontline 1997. Casino gambling — once the domain of mobsters and hustlers — has emerged as one of the most popular forms of adult entertainment. Since 1992, gaming revenues have doubled along with the number of states that have made it legal. Today, the gaming industry is no longer an outlaw business, but it is a national economic force with substantial political muscle. Frontline chronicles how America’s gaming industry has gone legit and examines the evolution of its political influence. The film also explores the astonishing growth of Indian gaming and the surprising role governments have played in promoting and legitimizing gambling.

Betting on the Lottery

Documentary Frontline 1990. Lottery fever is spreading. Twenty-nine states now raise $20 billion a year in revenues. Frontline correspondent James Reston, Jr., goes behind the scenes of state lotteries to look at the promoters selling them, the people buying the tickets, and to ask the question, ‘Who really wins and who loses?’


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