There have been many great casino scenes on the big screen over the years: if we cast our minds back, we’ll probably think of Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in Rainman, George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven, or possibly Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Casino.
Poker is generally the game we think of when we recall casino games in movies as it has the ability to create great tension, but there’s another game that has created some memorable moments on the silver screen. Yet roulette, the simple game with a spinning wheel and bouncing ball, has featured in some of the most iconic Hollywood blockbusters. Read on to find out more.
Diamonds are Forever
We couldn’t discuss casino games within films without mentioning the prolific British secret agent, James Bond. When you think of a movie character that would inhabit a casino, you think of Bond almost immediately, though typically, roulette isn’t his game of choice.
Whilst most people would play online roulette these days, either in a solo capacity or in a live setting with a real-time croupier, portrayals of roulette in these earlier Hollywood films capture the classic setting of a high-end casino. There are dazzling glamorous outfits and intense close-ups on the sweaty brows of the contenders around the roulette table.
Sean Connery gives a typically charismatic performance as 007 in one of the series’ most iconic films with an incredible theme song by Shirley Bassey. There have been a number of casino scenes in Bond movies over the years, but the scene in Diamonds Forever stands out due to Connery’s suave entry and because Bond actually has his own roulette strategy.
There are countless strategies out there that aim to give the player the edge and Bond’s is just one of many. It first came to light in the book Casino Royale and involves flat betting on the same numbers every round in an endeavor to overcome the odds.
Whoever the next Bond is, he should probably work on finding a new system as Bond’s old methods aren’t really recommended and, ultimately, he’s better at baccarat and poker.
Just like Connery, the entrance by Humphrey Bogart in this scene just oozes style. The undisputed masterpiece Casablanca is an all-time classic and one movie that has undoubtedly stood the test of time.
In the movie, two newlyweds want to flee to America, but the only way they can get the necessary papers is by accepting an indecent proposal or by amassing enough cash to buy them on the black market. The young wife consults with Rick Blaine (Bogart), but he is seemingly unmoved by the couple’s dilemma and says dismissively “Everybody in Casablanca has problems, yours may work out.”
Then, with the husband at the roulette wheel desperately trying to win enough money to buy papers, Rick intervenes. He tells the desperate man to place chips on 22 while giving a suggestive nod to the croupier. As the ball lands on 22 and the winnings are about to be collected, Rich tells him to leave the chips on 22 for another spin. The ball lands on the number again and the newlyweds are able to escape the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca and we learn what a fascinating character Rick Blaine is.
Roulette isn’t the most prominent casino game in movies, but these three examples show us that it can act as an engaging activity that can spellbind an audience.