Why Movie Directors Like Casino Theme so Much?

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Being a successful movie director means being able to choose just the perfect theme, which is bound to keep the viewers clinging to their seats and with eyes glued on the screen. The problem is that viewers have different expectations from a film that they’ve dedicated a portion of their time to see and are quite exigent in having those expectations met. There are just a handful of themes with the necessary complexity required to gain instant success. And whoever went to watch casino movies could easily testify about the roller coaster of emotions felt.


The key ingredient of a spectacular motion picture is to keep viewers on their toes, bringing along a high dose of excitement. Almost every movie about gambling gives out this feeling, as it’s closely related to both main stages that anyone who has ever gambled goes through winning and losing. Both outcomes stir powerful emotions in every watcher, ignite a state of tension and keep the viewers in suspense. Especially when the public manages to identify with the main characters, becoming actually emotional invested in the end result of their gamble, sharing in the joy of winning. And feeling in an equal manner the sorrow of defeat.


One of the interesting statistics on this matter, reveals that in the majority of tops and surveys trying to discover people’s opinion on which the best gambling movie would be, the first position is held by an action-packed film, where the antagonist is represented by a ruthless owner of a casino. Most directors seem keen to have all movie casinos be run by mobsters and other shady personages. For instance, all Casino reviews mention the sparkling performance of Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci, in the main roles of a Mafia-related owner of the wagering establishment and his psychotic hired gun. Thus, two personages having strong ties with the criminal underworld.

It’s a director’s decision meant to increase the tension and thrills felt by the viewers, as greatly depicted in Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond, fighting LeChiffre over a high-stakes poker game, set in a luxurious casino, in the famous Casino Royale.


Another theme derived from movies like Casino Royale, is the never-ending clash between the forces of good and evil. Without exception, the casinos are portrayed as the representatives of evil, while the main characters are modern suits wearing brave knights, which are using their inner strengths and natural wits to prevail over them. It’s a classic story that creates instant Box-Office successes and is meant to inspire average people to fight their own limitations and go down their own remarkable path. There are a lot of people that took their casino bonus coupons and went to test the vigilance of the system, after first seeing the admirable performance of Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.

The same craving for action is aroused by Ocean’s Eleven saga, for example. There is a certain appeal in this specific themed gambling theft movies, where film viewers get a real connection to the protagonists, even though they engage in illicit activities. They seem to be inclined to cheer for these characters that should actually depict the villain, but it just feels like in the collective perception, casinos represent the bigger evil. Thus, the satisfaction of defeating or outsmarting casino owners, trumps the negative bias one should feel towards the illegal way of how they do this.

The underdog story

Continuing the array of emotions that this movie theme inflicts on the cinema enthusiasts, we must mention the joy felt when acclaiming the underdog and the feeling of completion watching him prevail over the obstacles set in his path. Some of the best casino movies are focused on this display of forces. There are many great examples of sustaining this idea, such as 21, Rounders, or Steve McQueen’s classic, The Cincinnati Kid. All of them star intelligent, but common people, hoping to defeat the system and going from an Average Joe to a wealthy-beyond-imagination millionaire. What makes this a great theme is a level to which viewers can relate to it. Most of the time, each of us is feeling as the commoner, facing a snarky high-roller, standing between us and our goal and having to depend only on our inner characteristics to win.

In this category, of depicting the prevailing underdog, enters the only casino film online gambling being mentioned, Runner Runner. The poor student trying to make an extra buck through online poker, Justin Timberlake, takes on the offshore tycoon, Ben Affleck, on account of the fact that he got cheated at the above mentioned online game.

Luxurious lifestyles

Last but not least, among the bidding nuances this theme has to give, directors use it as the perfect scenery for a lush, glamorous, luxurious and uninhibited lifestyle. The perfect example of this high-class, stylish and somewhat inaccessible world, we find in the casino film Dr. No, another Bond movie, this time with the elegant Sean Connery as a lead.

Also, high in the top gambling movies, we must rank Croupier, a motion picture that allows Clive Owen to immerse in the world of casino gambling, as a croupier aspiring to become a novel writer, hoping to get his inspiration by revealing the intricacies of this hidden and mysterious world.


After going through all the different subthemes that most top casino movies have to offer, we can easily conclude on the complexity that the casino topic presents and have a much clearer view on why directors are inclined to make use of it whenever possible.

You may also like...