Blackjack/Casino movies offer audiences an often thrilling experience of simulating excessive winning scenes. These scenes either end in the characters becoming ridiculously wealthy at the end which leaves the movie watcher elated. Or they end in the character losing it all and creating a relatable scenario for the viewer. If you love watching blackjack movies to taste the experience of winning or to see someone lose it all, with the number of people who like viewing blackjack movies this type of film is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Rain Man starts off with a jealous man named Charlie (Tom Cruise, “Mission Impossible”) becoming infuriated that his deceased father left him nothing except a car and a bed of roses. He discovers his father left everything to someone he doesn’t know, so he sets out to find out more information. He learns that his father’s fortune was left to a brother he never knew existed. Raymond (Dustin Hoffman, “”) is an autistic savant with the ability to keep track of peculiar facts and has a specific schedule that he structures his life around. Charlie kidnaps Raymond and the two set out on a road trip. Charlie takes Raymond to a casino after he realizes how mathematically gifted Raymond is. He makes Raymond help him win at blackjack.
“Rain Man” is quite unlike most blackjack movies as it does have a heart to it and it revolves around a brother who becomes slowly more compassionate after being around his autistic brother. Dustin Hoffman won an academy award for his portrayal of Raymond and the film as a whole was highly critically acclaimed.
Swingers is about two wannabe actors who are best friends: Trent (Jon Favreau, “Iron Man”) and Mike (Vince Vaughn, “Wedding Crashers”). They navigate the world of the neo-lounge scene. Trent is suffering from a break-up of a relationship that had lasted six years. Mike insists he goes back out there and find some new ‘babies’.
While “Swingers” isn’t exclusively about the game of blackjack the two main characters have a few hilarious scenes where they play blackjack. Initially they go on the high stake table and argue over the bets, until the dealer tells them they can go to the smaller stakes table if they aren’t confident enough to bet. They peer over at the table where some old ladies and a chubby man who is with a woman with a bad 1980’s perm are gambling. They quickly look away, too embarrassed to go over there. They quickly lose after squabbling amongst each other. When it cuts to the next scene it shows them on the smaller stakes blackjack table surrounded by old ladies.
21, The Movie is a film about the MIT blackjack team, who became experts on counting cards. Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess, “Cloud Atlas”) joins the team after a professor (Kevin Spacey, “American Beauty”) takes note of Ben’s incredible mathematical skills. Ben needs three hundred thousand dollars to pay for tuition for Harvard, so counting cards within the MIT team seems like the answer to his prayers. After earning much more than what he set out to make Ben quickly begins to fall prey to greed. As Ben’s ego grows he and the rest of the MIT team have no idea that casino security (Lawrence Fishbourne, “The Matrix”) are determined to track them down.
The Hangover and the rest of it’s sequels are perhaps the most successful and hilarious comedies of the 2000’s. Four best friends (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Justin Bartha) go to a bachelor party in Las Vegas. They wake up the next day completely hungover, no clue what happened the night before, no money, a baby in their hotel suite, a tiger in the bathroom. and the groom-to-be gone. While it follows what is probably a very familiar story-line of a group of friends going to Las Vegas and getting ridiculously drunk then doing strange things, “Hangover” does it in a fresh way that really makes it stick out from the crowd of the drinking buddies have weird stuff happen to them while drunk genre.
In a hilarious scene Alan finds a book titled: “The World’s Greatest Blackjack Player” and they go play some blackjack. The movie adds math equations around Alan’s character (which are invisible to the other character’s and are only visible to the viewer) as he figures out the count for everyone at the table. The characters get overexcited and jump around and flip off the security camera while they keep on bringing in the winnings. “Hangover” is not exclusively about blackjack, but it is definitely a hilarious scene with the main characters playing blackjack. The entire series is worth the watch for a good laugh.
Wild Card : Nick Wild (Jason Statham) is a bodyguard in Las Vegas. He has a gambling problem and dangerous killing skills. A friend of his ends up getting beaten by a thug, so he goes out for revenge. The thug turns out to be the son of a mob boss, which forces Nick into jeopardy. He has one last play and it’s all or nothing. With a number of blackjack scenes, gambling scenes, mob characters, and action sequences “Wild Card” really delivers a one crazy adventure. Jason Statham also gives a good performance as another action character the likes of which that he commonly plays. This movie is also a remake of the Burt Reynolds film “Heat”.
Casino (1995) is a film directed by the well-known director Martin Scorsese. Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro, “Goodfellas”) runs a casino that the mob owns. Ace, his best friend Nicky (Joe Pesci) and Ace’s trophy wife (Sharon Stone, “Basic Instinct”)fall into a struggle of deception, power, and greed. This film shows a few scenes of blackjack, although the main focus of the film is how on the outside casinos have the shiny glitz and glamour but on the inside they have a darkness.
Stacy’s Knights is a shy woman who just so happens to have a skill for the game of blackjack. She teams up with another skilled blackjack player (Kevin Costner, “Dances with Wolves”) and they start winning big. The casino is not going to have any of it though and want to take down the players. While not the most well-known movie out there, this gambling movie does offer a different take on what a blackjack high stakes player may look like. Stacy isn’t some guy in a slick suit with beautiful women hanging off her arm. Instead she’s a woman who is great at playing blackjack.
“Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians”
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting is a true story documentary is about a card counting team made up of Christians is strange to say the least. The movie follows the most funded blackjack team in America that only has churchgoing members. It deals with the group trying to see what they’re doing is good, as they are taking millions from casinos who are ripping people off, while wondering if they can find a place for their faith while dealing with high stakes gambling.
“License to Kill”
License to kill: In this James Bond flick, James (Timothy Dalton, “The Tourist”) tries his hand at blackjack rather than his usual choice of poker. Agent 007 sets out to track down and seek revenge for his friend who was murdered by a drug lord in this action packed Bond movie. While this isn’t only about blackjack, it seems like an interesting movie to watch if the viewer’s movie taste is blackjack and James Bond, since James Bond typically plays poker like in the very popular James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig: “Casino Royale”.
“The Last Casino”
“The Last Casino” is a movie about a professor (Charles Martin Smith) who discovers three of his students are mathematically gifted. He enlists the students to learn how to count cards. He does this to makes them play for him and win for him to cover some debts he owes. The students and professor go on one last gambling trip to as many casinos as they can in one night, with the casino security hot on their trail. Will they make it one more time without getting caught, or will they get busted by the none too happy casino security? This movie is loosely based on the MIT team, just like “21”, but is set in Canada instead of Boston and Vegas.