We love to see Hollywood heroes go through our pains and joys, so of course, gambling’s gotta feature in the movies.

Whether they’re winning their life or losing their house, it’s great to see our favourite past time on the big screen.

Check out our list of top movies that feature gambling. How many have you seen?

1. The Deer Hunter

A controversial film set in the dark days of the Vietnam War. Our heroes find themselves captive and their captors want to play a game with their lives.

Image Credit: Instagram/buchstabenhausen

In a tense game of Russian Roulette they each have to pull the trigger on their own head, terrified that this might just be the moment their lives ends.

2. Rounders

Although this film initially received mixed reviews in the late 90s, it went on to be a cult classic following the boom in poker playing of the early noughties.

Image Credit: Texas Holdem’ [Flickr/GoToVan, CC BY 2.0]
All about poker, this film has our hero Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) an ex-gambler who returns to playing high-stakes game with his friend to help pay off his buddy’s prison debts.

3. Let It Ride

When a local cabby overhears his passengers exchanging tips on which horse to bet on he heads straight down the bookies and bets that very horse. With win after win, he keeps putting his money back on the horse. With a $50 first bet he makes $68,000!

Image Credit: Blood-Horse Library/Skip Dickstein

The film’s only got 30% on Rotten Tomatoes, but we’ve definitely seen worse…

4. Indecent Proposal

This classic starts out in Las Vegas where a young married couple (Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson) are trying their luck to save their property with a game of Roulette. It’s all going so well until that last roll of the di that sees them lose everything.


Image Credit: Indecent Proposal, Paramount [Flickr/Sergio Cato, CC BY 2.0]
Then, in walks Mr Rich (Robert Redford) with a new proposition to save the day… Look out for the lucky coin!

5. The Gambler

Take heed, indeed. A cautionary tale about the dangers of a gambling addiction, and any other kind to be honest.

Gambling chips
Image Credit: ‘Gambling chips’ [licensed under Wikimedia Commons]


When a literature professor finds himself gambling more than he can afford, he borrows more and more from the people he loves, and we watch his descent take him to Las Vegas and back. Borrowing from loan sharks, left by his girlfriend and mother, and the mob on his back, it’s a painful journey that I’m sure a lot of us can relate to.

6. 21

A film about a college student paying his way from trips to the casino. This time the focus is on blackjack and card counting. Based on true events, math nerd Ben is invited to join the blackjack team at school. There he realises they’re learning to count cards and use teamwork to maximise their chance of winning.

Image Credit: Vegas [Flickr/Mathieu Lebreton, CC BY 2.0]
Each weekend they fly out to Las Vegas, take on new identities and hit the big money, so he can afford the tuition. But of course, it’s not as straightforward as that. Plenty of drama and high stakes; the casinos don’t like to lose.

7. Casino

This really feels like the epitome of all things gambling in a film. There’s drama, passion, glamour and mobsters. Based on real life characters, the actors bring them to the screen with such candour that you really believe their every word and expression.

Image Credit: Robert Deniro, Casino [Flickr/Rick CC BY 2.0]
Now a classic, it’s all about the seedy goings on in a mob-controlled casino of Las Vegas. With mafia and psychosis, deception and seduction, it’s one to watch for sure.

8. Casino Royale

What would a list about gambling movies be without a nod to the suave and sensual James Bond?

Image Credit: Casino Royale [Flickr/Marcus Lindr, CC BY-NC 2.0]
Set against the backdrop of Monte Carlo it oozes everything you want from a poker game – high stakes and glamour. With everything to lose you’ll be glued to the screen as you watch it all unfold at an epic pace as Bond takes one the evil Le Chiffre.

9. Silver Linings Playbook

In this feel-good romance, gambling takes centre stage in the father/son relationship. Pat Sr, played by Robert de Niro, loses a big sum on his football team. To win back his losses, he puts down a big bet for their next win and for his son and dance partner to get a score of at least five in their dance comp.

Image Credit: Flickr/Public Domain, CC0 1.0

With plans to open a restaurant with the winnings, the ecstasy upon winning is real and heartfelt.

10. Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler

In Japan’s ultimate gambling movie we see our hero, Kaiji, land himself in a very sticky situation with a debt collector. Not a great place to be and fearing for his life, he’s offered a way out. He can either pay it all back over the next 10 years or risk it all on the gambling ship, Espoir.

Image Credit: Nobuyuki Fukumoto, Wikipedia, Fair Use

He takes the boat, of course. in a bid to clear his name and his debts. Drama ensues.