Are Casino-Related Movies Still Relevant in Modern Cinema?
There was a time when many of the biggest films centered around a casino, gambling, or had a scene in a casino. This was mostly during the golden age of gangster and organized crime movies when Robert De Niro was at his unstoppable best. Over the years, however, cinema trends have changed, and there are far fewer casino or gambling-related movies coming out now.
The most recent big gambling movie was likely Molly’s Game starring Jessica Chastain. It was a great film, but it focussed more on the running of a high-stakes poker game as opposed to the protagonist partaking in the game itself. So, is there still space in the movie market for films that deal with the tension at a high-stakes table, the thrills of victory, or the journey of redemption from rock bottom to the jackpot? Casinos-related movies and series still have an audience
While full cinematic releases may be few and far between, casino-related movies are still enjoyed through online streaming services. Across Netflix and Amazon Prime, the likes of Mississippi Grind, Casino, 21, Snake Eyes, and Eight Men Out are still watched and enjoyed by many. While it’s not a movie, Netflix created Kakegurui, a Japanese anime series about a private academy where gambling skills determine social class. The series was popular enough that a second series of the Netflix Original will be created for 2019, as you can see reported here.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the casino and gambling-related films and series have migrated to the online environment as the gaming industry as a whole has successfully done so itself. The online casino industry is huge, with more and more people venturing to the virtual halls to play games like blackjack, poker, roulette, and slots rather than getting dressed up for the casino. This may be why the theme doesn’t suit modern movies, with a lot of the gaming being done at websites like those you can see where there are thousands of games just a tap away. Those who the movies and series would appeal to are more than happy to stream their content, so having them online makes a lot of sense.
Casino classics to hopefully inspire more great movies
Despite it being quite a niche theme, there are many superb casino-related movies. Molly’s Game is one of the most recent, but another of the newer releases which may be one of the best of all-time is Casino Royale. At the time, the James Bond movie was the highest grossing in the long line of British spy films, as you can see noted here. Daniel Craig’s standoff against Mads Mikkelsen is now iconic and shows that the gambling scene can be tense, suave, and clever, all at the same time in modern films. A film that wasn’t overly loved on release but became a cult classic is Rounders. The 1998 movie starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich received mixed reviews but is credited as one of the proponents of the eventual 2003 poker boom.
Since Rounders, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Thirteen, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and even The Hangover have been able to adapt the theme and stretch it into new genres, such as comedy and thriller. The greatest of all, however, still stands as Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese’s Casino of 1995. The crime drama is superb, with its story still being of intrigue today. While a movie based in the modern world would be unable to mirror Casino, one which is based in the 70s and 80s.
While not as common anymore, there’s certainly still a place for casino-related movies. Our gaming tendencies have moved online, which isn’t a very cinematic way to play, but the interest in the theme is still standing strong.