Have you ever bet on a sporting event, or been to a casino expecting to hit the jackpot, or even just played poker online?
If you have, you know how exciting it can get, especially when you strike a win (but as the saying goes — “You win some, you lose some”).
sssss; which is why numerous movies are telling captivating stories about gamblers and their lucrative adventures.
We bet you’ll have fun learning all about the best gambling movies ever made, so stay tuned.
Warning: movie spoilers ahead!
16 Best Gambling Movies
Molly’s Game was released in 2017 and is the perfect blend between biographical elements, drama, and crime. It’s undoubtedly one of the best gambling films you’ll ever watch. This Oscar-nominee masterpiece was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, based on Molly Bloom’s memoir.
The actors in the film are Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, Joe Keery, Brian d’Arcy James, and Bill Camp.
After failing to become an Olympic athlete because of a back injury, Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) becomes involved in the high-stakes underground poker industry.
Through the years, Molly gains success and popularity among multiple players— including the Russian mob.
Soon enough, Molly becomes an FBI target and is arrested in the middle of the night but ends up only getting community service, one-year probation, and a $200,000 fine.
Molly’s Game had worldwide gross revenue of $59.3 million.
You can purchase it, rent it or download it on Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Microsoft Store, and more.
It’s one of the best poker movies out there, so why not check it out?
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck were both the writers and directors of the great 2015 comedy/drama movie — Mississippi Grind. It’s one of the best gambling films, and frankly, one of the top casino films of the new era.
The stars of the movie are: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn, Sienna Miller, Lio Tipton, Robin Weigert, and Alfre Woodard.
Mississippi Grind is full of excitement, which begins when the two main characters, Garry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), meet at a casino in Iowa. Garry is a gambler whose life isn’t quite in order, but as soon as he meets Curtis, he’s sure he’s found his good luck charm. This idea prompts Garry to bring Curtis on a road trip to pursue his adventurous gambling charades in New Orleans.
After all the ups and downs expected in gambling movies, Garry and Curtis win half a million dollars. They end up going their separate ways, aiming to put their lives back on the right track.
The domestic Box Office revenue in the first five weeks after its release was $130,000, and the total worldwide revenue was $448,641.
Mississippi Grind is available on US Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
In the mood to watch one of the best gambling films of all time? We strongly recommend this one!
Now, this is what we’re talking about! 21 is one of the best gambling movies that will keep you in suspense the entire time! It was directed by Robert Luketic and written by Peter Steinfield, Allan Loeb, and Ben Mezrich.
What makes the plot of this movie even more interesting is that it’s based on a true story!
The talented cast includes Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, Aaron Yoo, and Kieu Chinh.
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is an intelligent MIT student who aspires to transfer to the Harvard School of Medicine but lacks the money to do so. However, his luck changes when he meets his professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), who runs a Blackjack team with a couple of MIT brainiacs.
Ben quickly fits into this mischievous gang, and together they use their skills to drain casinos of their money. Unfortunately, they encounter the casino enforcer, Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne), who becomes a hurdle in their plans.
The gross revenue of 21 is astounding! Worldwide, it made $159.8 million.
21 is available for streaming on US Netflix, Hulu, Starz, Starzplay Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, and even for free on Pluto TV.
What says gambling more than The Gambler? This 2014 crime/drama/thriller movie, directed by Rupert Wyatt, is a great way to see how a person can get lost in gambling instead of aiming to achieve something bigger and better. This unique take on gambling is what puts The Gambler on the best gambling movies list.
The Gambler features Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, and Michael K. Williams.
Jim Bennett (Mark Walberg) is a Literature professor, but secretly — also a gambler.
Due to his risk-taking nature, Jim borrows a lot of money from a loan shark and puts his life as collateral. Unfortunately, after losing, he has to find a way to return the money in a week or die trying. Ultimately, this gets him and others in a lot of trouble.
The Gambler is one of the greatest films about gambling, as you get to see and experience all the ups and downs gamblers can put themselves through.
The film was a success and made a total of $38.7 million in the worldwide Box Office.
You can stream this movie on US Netflix, Pluto, Tubi, and Amazon Prime Video.
Even though it’s been 20 years since the release of Ocean’s Eleven, you still come across this movie every once in a while when watching TV.
Ocean’s Eleven will have you at the edge of your seat because it’s one of the best gambling movies ever.
Director Steven Soderbergh’s gambling masterpiece is a blend between crime, thriller, and comedy. The story was written by George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russel, and Harry Brown.
The best part? The carefully hand-picked stars! The film features George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, and Julia Roberts.
As soon as Danny Ocean (George Clooney) leaves prison, he tracks down his partner Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) to help him steal three casinos’ money from a vault containing $150 million, all in one night. But inevitably, a problem arises when Danny finds out that Tess, his ex-wife (Julia Roberts), is Terry Benedict’s girlfriend (the owner of the casinos).
Despite all the troubles, the dream team makes the robbery work.
These Las Vegas movies completely captivate your attention, but hey, they’re worth it!
Ocean’s Eleven’s worldwide gross revenue is a gripping $450.73 million.
You can find the movie on HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, iTunes, and Google Play.
Due to its recent release in 2019, Uncut Gems is relatively new on the list of movies about gambling. It was written and directed by two brothers — Benny and Josh Safdie, and co-written by Ronald Bronstein.
Although we typically see Adam Sandler in comedies, he plays a serious leading role in this crime/drama/thriller gambling movie. The movie also stars Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, and Eric Bogosian.
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a gems dealer who has flushed all his money down the drain because of gambling. These enormous gambling debts lead to the eventual downfall of both his family and career.
He always places new bets trying to get the next big win. Then, finally, he finds rare uncut Ethiopian gemstones, for which he’s found a rich and influential buyer.
However, despite all the troubles he goes through selling the gems, his greed and compulsive nature are the death of him.
Uncut Gems made $50 million in revenue on the domestic Box Office, and you can find it on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, iTunes, and more.
If you like poker movies, Rounders is a must-watch. John Dahl directed this crime/drama film in 1998, based on the screenplay by David Levien and Brian Koppelman.
We don’t know if it’s fate, but Matt Damon stars in yet another best gambling movie. This time, the lead roles also include Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol, and John Malkovich.
Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) is a law student who’s into poker. However, after getting too cocky with his $30,000 bankroll, he loses the money to Teddy “KGB” in a single game. Having learnt a lesson, Mike tells his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol) that he’ll focus on law and getting an honest job to make ends meet.
However, after running into his friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton), he gets sucked into the world of gambling again.
The two friends get themselves in trouble, which forces Mike to try and win a game of poker against KGB once again. This time, he succeeds.
After paying off his and Worm’s debts (although they’re no longer friends), Mike leaves to pursue the career of his dreams — playing in the World Series of Poker.
Rounders earned $22.9 million in the domestic Box Office.
You can watch it on Acorn TV, Amazon Prime Video, AMC+, Apple TV+, BritBox, discovery+, Hulu, Disney +, and ESPN.
Released in 1961, The Hustler is an oldie but a goldie. Even today, it’s considered one of the best gambling movies of all time.
This two Oscar-winning drama/sports movie was directed and co-written by Robert Rossen. The Hustler is based on a novel by Walter Tevis, which goes by the same name.
The movie stars Paul Newman, Myron McCormick, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, and George C. Scott.
“Fast” Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is a talented pool player who, along with his partner Charlie (Myron McCormick), travels around to try and win money. To his demise, he challenges the legendary player, “Minnesota Fats” (Jackie Gleason), and after playing for 25 hours, Eddie loses this high-stakes match.
After his catastrophic loss, he becomes romantically involved with Sarah Packard (Piper Laurie). However, they don’t have an ideal relationship because he is more bound to pool gambling. Ultimately, Sarah becomes so sad that she ends her life.
After this, Eddie rechallenges Fats and this time, he wins.
The Hustler had gross domestic revenue of $7.6 million.
You can watch this movie on Hulu.
Maverick is a 1994 Western action, adventure, and comedy movie, but also — one of the best movies about gambling.
This Oscar-nominee was directed by Richard Donner and written by Roy Huggins and William Goldman. Maverick’s cast features some A-list names like Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, and James Garner.
Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) is a gambler who intends on participating in a poker tournament but is short of $3,000 of the $25,000 tournament entry fee. Therefore, he aims to win this money by gambling while he’s travelling.
He scams Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster), who’s a potential contestant, and Angel (Alfred Molina) — a bad-tempered man and sore loser, making enemies of both players.
During Maverick’s attempts to avoid these two, he begins to realize that he’s got Marshal Zane Cooper (James Garner) on his tail, who ultimately turns out to be his father.
Internationally, Maverick made a gross revenue of $183 million.
The movie is available on Netflix, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video.
On top of being one of the best gambling Las Vegas films, Lucky You has another crucial element besides the drama — romance!
The 2007 movie was directed and co-written by Curtis Hanson and Eric Roth. It stars Eric Bana, Drew Barrymore, and Robert Duvall.
Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is a poker player who, after meeting singer Billie Offer (Drew Barrymore), has to balance attempting to win a slot in the World Series of Poker and his relationship with this new-found love.
Should Huck make it to the table, he may have to face his father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall), with whom he has a bad relationship.
The budget invested in Lucky You was $55 million, and the total gross revenue made from the movie was $8.4 million.
You can find this movie on iTunes, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video.
Croupier is a 1998 crime/drama movie directed by Mike Hodges and written by Paul Mayersberg. The cast includes Clive Owen, Gina McKee, Paul Reynolds, Kate Hardie, and Alex Kingston.
Although this movie isn’t about a gambler but rather a casino worker, it’s still one of the best casino movies ever made.
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is a writer whose career isn’t very prosperous. So with his father’s help, he gets a job as a croupier. However, he quickly gets consumed by his new career path and starts drinking with his buddy Matt (Paul Reynolds). He even cheats on his girlfriend Marion (Gina McKee) with another croupier — Bella (Kate Hardie).
Although his life seems dull, he gets motivated when gambler Jani (Alex Kingston) proposes that Jack helps her rob the casino.
As a consequence of his actions, his girlfriend gets killed. Later in the movie, it’s revealed that Jack’s father only got him the job because he’d been behind the robbery all along.
This gambling movie earned a total of $7.07 million.
Croupier is available on US Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, BritBox Amazon Channel, Apple iTunes, and Amazon Video.
The Color of Money
Remember The Hustler that we mentioned above? Well, the movie The Color of Money is a sequel to it. It’s undoubtedly one of the best sports gambling films, and not only because of the incredible casting, but the plotline too.
The Color of Money was released back in 1986 and is a sports/drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay was written by Richard Price, based on Walter Tevis’ original novel.
The stars of the movie are Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, and supporting roles — Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro.
Vincent (Tom Cruise) is a talented pool player taken under the wing of the former champion “Fast Eddie” (Paul Newman), who wants to get back in the game after spending many years away from the gambling scene.
Through their journey of luring targets into playing with Vincent, Eddie becomes frustrated with Vincent’s arrogance and jealousy, which eventually breaks them apart.
The gross revenue of the movie was $52.3 million.
You can find The Color of Money on Netflix, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store, AMC, DIRECTV, and more.
Paul Thomas Anderson both wrote and directed one of the best Vegas movies and one of the greatest gambling movies ever — Hard Eight.
The movie was released in 1996, starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) is an older gentleman who finds John (John C. Reilly) in front of a diner in Sparks, Nevada. John needs $6,000 for his mother’s funeral, so Sydney offers to take him to Vegas and help him win back his previously gambled money.
Through the years spent together, they form something resembling a father-son relationship. However, the trouble starts when John meets Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson) and Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a waitress, prostitute, and his eventual wife.
Memorable Vegas films such as this one generate a lot of revenue, but surprisingly, this one only hit $142,356 on the domestic Box Office.
You can find Hard Eight on Amazon Prime Video and Pluto TV.
Guess what? We have Paul Newman in yet another leading role in our best gambling movies list!
This seven Oscar-winning movie is an excellent 1973 comedy/crime/drama directed by George Roy Hill and written by David S. Ward.
Other amazing stars in the movie, besides Paul Newman, are Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, and Ray Walston.
After the murder of their mutual friend, con-men Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) and Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) bound together to get revenge against the crime boss who killed him — Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).
Both schemers develop a plan, which they are sure would go unnoticed by the notorious crime boss. However, things don’t go quite according to their plan, which requires some immediate improvisations on their part.
The Sting made an impressive $159.6 million in the Box Office. We recommend you see it if you enjoy exciting gambling films.
Sounds convincing? You can find it on Netflix, Disney +, and Amazon Prime Video.
Rain Man is a four Oscar-winning drama that is yet another best gambling movie of all time.
Rain Man was directed by Barry Levinson, while Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass wrote the story.
This 1988 movie stars Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, and Valeria Golino.
The story revolves around Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who learns his distant father has died. Charlie returns home to settle his father’s estate to find he has an autistic brother — Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), who has inherited three million dollars from their deceased father.
Seeing the amount of money and becoming motivated by it, Charlie checks his brother out of the facility where he had been staying, and they depart on a journey to Los Angeles.
Both brothers’ lives change through their journey together, developing a close and loving relationship.
Rain Man made a gross revenue of $172.82 million at the domestic Box Office.
You can find the movie on Netflix, Disney +, Amazon Prime Video, Hoopla, or you can watch it for free with ads on Tubi TV, Pluto TV, Peacock, and Peacock Premium.
Atlantic City is a 1980 movie filled with action and suspense, with added drama, romance, and crime elements. It was nominated for five Oscars, making it one of the best gambling movies of the 20th century.
Atlantic City is a Canadian-French co-production, directed by Louis Malle, based on the screenplay written by John Guare.
The movie features Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Robert Joy, Hollis McLaren, and Al Waxman.
The movie follows Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon) after she leaves for Atlantic City to build a career in the gambling industry. During her journey, she faces issues with her possessive husband, Dave (Robert Joy), who intends on selling stolen cocaine.
Luckily, Sally finds mobster Lou Pascal (Burt Lancaster) and sticks with him, eventually becoming his lover.
Conveniently, by sticking with Sally, Lou finds a way to become successful — by selling Dave’s drugs after he’s killed by the mobsters he stole from.
After all the trouble they face, Sally and Lou both end up with a lot of money and part ways.
Atlantic City’s gross revenue was $12.7 million.
You can watch the movie on Paramount Plus, Amazon Channel, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.
There’s no doubt gambling is fun. As seen through this list, gambling stories can be so fascinating they have the potential to earn significant amounts at the Box Office.
Judging by their past success and their riveting plots, these movies made it on our list of best gambling movies.
Care to share some of your favourite gambling movies?
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