In less than a month we will all be delighted and enthralled by the latest James Bond film, Spectre, which hits cinemas on the 26th. This will be Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as Bond and generally I like to watch the back catalogue of a film in the build up to a new release. I don’t have time to watch all the Bond film’s so I chose to stick with Craig and kicked things off with Casino Royale which in my opinion is the most well-made Bond film.
It was a bold move to centre a modern Bond film round a card table but it worked and the suspense was incredible. It was a departure from the cheesy, gadget laden films of Brosnan and a return to the natural darkness of the character first introduced in the Casino Royale book. So in honour of Bond, the new film, and his love of casinos here are the greatest movie casino scenes of all time.
One look at those suits and you know this is a cool eighties drama which naturally starred Tom Cruise. This scene is the epitome of what casino’s in films are all about as a crowd of spectators watch with mouths agape as Dustin Hoffman’s savant character applies his phenomenal mathematical skills to count cards for his exploitative and self-involved brother. This scene has been aped in many films since including The Hangover.
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
The release of Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was the start of a brand of confident, stylish and witty British ‘gangster’ films. This scene may have been held in an illegal casino but the pressure cooker, edgy atmosphere and smartly done close up visuals encapsulates the tense nature of high stakes poker and why it’s such an attractive game. It paved the way for other British crime movies like Layer Cake which starred Daniel Craig.
‘If you lose, our government will have directly financed terrorism’ – talk about pressure! Casino Royale’s poker scene gets better every time I watch it. Somehow the film manages to fit a brutal fight in the stairwell, a failed attempt at self-resuscitation after a poisoning and a touching exposal of Bond’s caring side between sessions at the titular establishment whilst still making you believe the best action was at the table. It makes me want to get my Bond on, and as Monte Carlo is out of the question a few spins on http://aud.spinpalace.com gets me in the mood. I cannot confirm or deny rumours that I’ve done this in a tuxedo eating cold pizza.
Often considered the perfect romance movie this film contains a wonderful roulette scene. Cynical cafe owner Rick helps a newlywed couple afford a visa to America by fixing the roulette table. The Chief of Police has already offered safe passage for the couple but only if the wife sleeps with him. Rick arranges for their number to come in which ultimately saves them from having to make a heart-breaking decision.
What might have happened had they been forced to accept the Chief’s offer was the premise of the Robert Redford/Demi Moore movie, Indecent Proposal.
This film noir adaptation of life in a London casino is seen from the perspective of Clive Owen as a writer who takes a job as a croupier. The scene where he starts his new job is note-worthy purely because of the crazy skills the new croupier shows with the chips and cards. If you haven’t seen the film you definitely should as it’s a gritty tale of the corruptive nature of some patrons and owners and was the film that announced Clive Owen to the wider world.
Run Lola Run
You’ll recognise Franke Potente as the running partner and love interest for Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne and in this film she’s running again but this time to save her boyfriend before he robs a store. She has been given just 20 minutes to find 100,000 Deutschmarks and this fast-paced thriller has multiple endings. The great casino scene is right at the end of the film as she puts an ironic bet on the number 20, not once but twice, and screams her way to victory to collect the money she needs.
Casino scenes in movies make some of the most intense and gripping moments in the whole film. There’s something about the intensity of high stakes where the outcome can often literally be the difference between life and death that makes it difficult to look away. Here’s hoping the new Bond is as thrilling with maybe another casino scene or two.