The chance of discovering excellent movies about gambling is vast if you look hard enough. Good thing, this list of the 20 best gambling movies is now right here for your complimentary access.
Gambling is a game of mind. It requires good strategies to ace the opponent. However, in some circumstances, luck also comes in the way. If you want to risk your free time with great gambling movies, watch out for this list!
1. The Hustler (1961)
English 2h 14m IMDb
Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie
The Hustler is a classic gambling film released on September 25, 1961, under the direction of Robert Rossen. It tells the story of the fictional character Eddie Felson who aims to be part of the pool hustling major league.
He fights in every street pool competition as preparation for his primary goal. That goal was to compete and beat Minnesota Fats– the legendary pool player in the film.
The Hustler is a movie adapted from a book of the same name written by Walter Tevis. This masterpiece received numerous nominations from different award-giving bodies. It bagged 11 awards in total.
2. The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
English 1h 42m IMDb
Director: Norman JewisonSam Peckinpah(fired after one week shooting)
Stars: Steve McQueen, Ann-Margret, Edward G. Robinson
Steve McQueen plays the role of “the kid” while Edward Robinson is his competing poker player, also known as “the man.” From their nicknames, you can say that the latter was a professional player and the other was just an amateur.
The Cincinnati kid was about a young poker player who wants to establish his name in the field. Like the previous one on this list, this film was also about ranking competition and the characters’ perseverance to be and stay on top.
3. The Sting (1973)
English 2h 9m IMDb
Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw
The sting is a crowd favorite with an 8.3 movie rating on the IMDb website! Moreover, this classic won 17 awards in different award-giving bodies. That explains why the sting is included in this list of best gambling movies.
The sting follows the story of two grifters who did a confidence trick against a con man. The complicated plot was like this: the frauds befriended a high-stake gambler to gain his trust and eventually his wealth.
4. The Gambler (1974)
English 1h 51m IMDb
Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Lauren Hutton
Set in New York City, the gambler tells the story of an English Professor and his gambling addiction. Like any other gambling addict, Axel Freed, the main character, faced various hurdles due to his not-so-good habit. It led him to huge debts.
Not only a movie about gambling, but the sting is also a film that tackles the struggles many gambling addicts face. Although this is an excellent film with great characterizations, some may say that this film is a bit disturbing.
5. The Color of Money (1986)
English 1h 59m IMDb
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
The color of money is the movie sequel to the first one on our list– the hustler. “Fast” Eddie Felson met the younger version of himself in a bar. After that stumble with the promising pool player, Eddie decided to train him and make a pool hustler by going on a tour of pool halls. The conflicting twist happened afterward.
Paul Newman– the lead man in the color of money, won 2 best actor awards. The Academy Awards gave one for his leading role. While the other is from the National Board Review Award.
6. House of Games (1987)
English 1h 42m IMDb
Director: David Mamet
Stars: Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum
This thriller gambling movie was the directorial film debut of the screenwriter and playwright David Mamet. House of games revolves around the story of a psychiatrist and a compulsive gambling patient. The two are initially interwoven as doctor and patient but soon change as the story progresses.
House of games received five nominations and six wins in total. Among these wins are the best film of the year and the best screenplay. The reception of the viewers to this film is exceptionally good. The movie is beautifully written with its unusual storyline and characters.
7. Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
English 1h 36m IMDb
Director: Andrew Bergman
Stars: James Caan, Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker
Honeymoon in Vegas is an American romantic-comedy film that centers on the consequences of gambling on the people involved. The stake is not just money but a life-changing marriage. Isn’t that plot exciting? If so, you should see this film yourself.
The movie is nominated for the best picture category at the 50th Golden Globe Awards. Honeymoon in Vegas also acquired $35,208,854 for its theatrical run. It also garnered a 6.1 average rating in rotten tomatoes.
8. Maverick (1994)
English 2h 7m IMDb
Director: Richard Donner
Stars: Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, James Garner
Bret Maverick, this film’s lead fictional character, needs to gather additional money to compete in a poker game. In order to collect the money he needed, he joined in other gambling for the reward and collected money from those who owed him. He also got involved with a fellow gambler, a woman, to fulfill his mission.
One review from the IMDb site said that this movie is underrated and charming. Fun, brilliant, and pleasing are some words audiences can use to describe this iconic gambling film.
9. Casino (1995)
English 2h 58m IMDb
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci
The 9th on our list is Casino, released on November 22, 1995. It is based on the book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. The movie is a tale of deception, power, greed, and murder between best friends. The two compete in establishing their empire of socialite gamblers no matter what it takes.
Casino was known for featuring the beauty of Las Vegas city. Despite the film’s fantastic and perfect, this is still an underrated movie. Generally, Casino is a great gambling film.
10. Rain Man (1988)
English 2h 13m IMDb
Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
The first movie included in this list from 1998 is Rain Man. It is a classic hit that won two Golden Globe Awards and four Academy Awards. In 1998, it became the highest-grossing film, with $172 million in the US and $354 million worldwide.
Rain Man revolves around the struggles of a Lamborghini dealer, whereas the cars were held since they did not meet the necessary tests. The story became more exciting as the lead character knew that his estranged father left a hefty amount of money to his autistic-savant sibling.
11. Croupier (1998)
English 1h 34m IMDb
Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Nick Reding, Nicholas Ball
A croupier is an employee who collects money and assists the gaming table in a casino. Basically, this film is about the life of a croupier who gets involved with a woman that plans a robbery in the casino where he works.
It is a thriller mystery movie directed by Mike Hodges. It is an Edgar Allan Poe Award nominee for best motion picture and Southeastern Film Critics Association Award nominee for best picture category. Most importantly, it belongs to the top ten films of 2000 in the National Board of Review in the USA.
12. Rounders (1998)
English 2h 1m IMDb
Director: John Dahl
Stars: Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol
Rounder is a term that has been used for gamblers who travel from one place to another to seek and compete in different card games. Meanwhile, the movie itself is a story about friendship and commitment.
A young man must help his friend to pay off a huge debt. However, he must sacrifice his integrity as a law student and balance his relationship with his significant other. People who watch Rounders are amazed by how great the actors’ acting skills are. It is a good movie with an interesting plot.
13. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
English 1h 56m IMDb
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Ocean’s Eleven is undoubtedly a heist or gambling film you would watch. This film had twenty nominations from different award-giving organizations, and four award wins. The star-studded cast is something that should excite you.
Ocean’s Eleven is about a parolee who created an eleven-member team that will simultaneously rob three casinos in Las Vegas. Then the story will continue as they try to execute the plan the way it is and without casualties.
Watch this movie to know if they will succeed in their heist!
14. Owning Mahowny (2003)
English 1h 44m IMDb
Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver, John Hurt
Owning Mahowny is a real-life story about the Canadian fraudster Brian Molony. He was a bank manager that was addicted to gambling. For this reason, he embezzled money worth $10 million from the bank where he worked.
Owning Mahowny is scarily realistic as it shows how gambling problems can affect even your career. Well, that is true. It also emphasized that gambling addiction can happen to everyone, whether at the peak of your career or not.
Many viewers praised the acting of the lead cast Philip Seymour Hoffman. Owning Mahowny had five nominations and won 3 awards.
15. Casino Royale (2006)
English 2h 24m IMDb
Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Judi Dench
We bet you have already heard the name “James Bond.” Casino Royale is a film about a secret agent of the same name mentioned above. His first mission was to participate in a poker game where he should win over his opponent. If that happens, they could proceed with the next phase of their plan.
Casino Royale had a production budget of $150 million for the numbers. That is quite a lot for a single film. However, it became a box office hit with $616.5 million– proof that it was a budget-worthy masterpiece.
16. 21 (2008)
English 2h 3m IMDb
Director: Robert Luketic
Stars: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey
21 gave a new perspective on the gambling industry, which is why it became one of the box office successes in 2008. This heist film is inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team.
Consequently, the main characters of this movie are university students who created an excellent team of card counters. They decided to do this as a way to resolve their financial problems. 21 is an amusing gambling film. It will widen your perspective about life in general.
17. Mississippi Grind (2015)
English 1h 48m IMDb
Director:Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck
Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Yvonne Landry
Due to financial hardships caused by gambling debts, Gerry, portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn, teamed up with Curtis, played by Ryan Reynolds, to beat his unlucky fate.
These two characters did what they could to recover from debt by grinding poker games in Mississippi and other cities.
The film had two winning awards and three nominations. Viewers commend how the gambling addict characters are portrayed. The cast sure did their part very well.
18. Win it All (2017)
English 1h 28m IMDb
Director: Joe Swanberg
Stars: Jake Johnson, Rony Shemon, Morgan Ng
Win it all is an American comedy gambling film released in April 2017 in the United States. It is a light film that suits individuals who only want to have fun while watching a movie.
Win it all revolves around the story of a normal parking attendant with only a small-time gambling habit. However, things changed and instantly became complicated when he used someone else’s money for a profit. His debts spiraled downward. Luckily, he had relatives and friends willing to help him recover from the mess he had created alone.
19. Molly’s Game (2017)
English 2h 20m IMDb
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Contrary to most storylines you can notice in a gambling-themed movie, Molly’s Game is about a high-stakes poker game. This film is a biographical crime drama based on the story of Molly Bloom. Molly is an Olympic skier who lost everything after an accident. She moved to Los Angeles, and then her life changed.
To cut the story short, she became involved in poker games. Molly got caught and became an FBI agent. The twist and turns in Molly’s game is one reason why you should take the time to watch this!
20. Uncut Gems (2019)
English 2h 15m IMDb
Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel
Uncut gems is like the usual story of a gambling addict who lost everything. It is a crime drama thriller that follows the life of a jeweler who is willing to do insurmountable stuff just to stay alive.
This film also shows the reality of life– that everything will crumble with just one decision and wrong risk. These are the truths we often forget.
A review from the IMDb website stated that this film was wonderfully self-destructive. If you are into these genres and want to know why the viewer said that, you better watch uncut gems!
If you have already watched some from this list of 20 best gambling movies, you will understand how important it is not to get drawn into gambling addiction. But, if you don’t, it is better to be cautious while viewing. Again, these films are just for entertainment and by no means want to encourage you to do the same destructive acts.