Different views on gambling through the movies

Posted on 1 September 2015
By Paolo Camera
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There have been plenty of movies over the years about gambling and each of them focuses on a different aspect, whether it’s the high life associated with casino gaming or the personal journey of a gambler.

Most films about gambling so far have focused on the old-fashioned way of placing a bet – either at a bookies or in a land-based casino. Runner Runner was the first movie that focused on online gambling, but others will surely follow as the trend of online gambling increases and cinematic art reflects life.

Added to that growing popularity of betting online, there’s also the fact that there are always plenty of free bets to take advantage of, especially when you first sign up as a new customer on a betting site.

Then, there are all the promos. For example, if you’re interested in international football betting
there are always plenty of free bets and promos around the big events– such as the World Cup or the European Championship.

These could all serve as source material for future films. For now, though, here are just a few examples of great gambling-related movies that have been produced over the years.

Let It Ride shows us the old-fashioned way of placing a bet.

The 1989 film stars Richard Dreyfuss and the focus of the film is his character, Jay Trotter, and his tremendous run of good luck one day at the race track. Trotter is a cabbie who usually has bad luck at the races, but he’s got a tip from his friend, Looney – another cab driver, who recorded a conversation of two people in his cab, getting the name of a horse that’s a sure thing.

Although Trotter’s wife, Pam, has banned him from any more betting, he decides to have one last bet with this tip. Of course, he wins. The rest of the movie sees how his day, and that of other gamblers at the race track, progresses, and all to great comedic effect.

Robbie Coltrane plays the part of the bookie whose window Trotter returns to again and again during his ‘very good day’.

Another sports betting movie produced in the 1980s was Eight Men Out. This was the cinematic version of the true life events which shocked the baseballing world in 1919.

The Black Sox Scandal was when eight members of the Chicago White Sox joined forces with gamblers to deliberately lose the 1919 Major League Baseball World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.

The throwing of the game was discovered and the players all went through a court case. Although they were acquitted, they all received lifetime bans from playing baseball again.

Eight Men Out stars Charlie Sheen, John Cusack, Michael Lerner and Christopher Lloyd and has been hailed as one of the best-ever movies to be made about baseball.

Of all the different movies based in and around casino gambling, one of the most successful in recent years is the Ocean’s 11 and its two sequels, Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13. Starting with Ocean’s 11 in 2001, with George Clooney playing the role of Danny Ocean, this was a remake of the Rat Pack film from 1960.

It’s a great mix of comedy and heist movie, and its stellar cast was bound to make it a box-office success even if the film hadn’t been great. But the film scored highly on all levels – cinematography, interesting plot, with a subtle plot twist at the end so there was no need for a shoot-out that you’d get in a typical heist movie.

Ocean’s 11 and its two sequels are all about the glamour of casino life, entwined around a heist story, a winning formula for most movie-goers. If you like movies about gambling, there are certainly plenty to pick from. And if you don’t have such amazing luck yourself when having the odd bet or gamble, just watching the fictional versions can be hugely entertaining