Films like Casino Royale or Casino are purposely left off the list, as they aren`t all that much about the sweet science of gambling, their focus lies elsewhere. So, without further adieu, here are the best 5 gambling movies ever made …
5. The Hustler (1961)
Not completely a gambling film per-se, as it doesn`t exactly deal with casino games or sportsbetting. However, pool hustling is as close as you can get, and there`s plenty of gambling throughout the film. Paul Newman is excellent, and there is an intense gambling-like atmosphere which will keep you glued to the screen, and is the reason for which this title is well worth of my Top 5 list. One of the all time classics, not likely to get out of style any time soon. The sequel (Color of money – 1986) is a must watch as well after this.
4. Two for the money (2005)
Shortly put, the life of a sports tipster. I felt this movie could have been better considering the premise and the cast (Pacino, McConaughey, Russo), because it has some Hollywood cliches. But then again my expectations were through the roof. Nevertheless, it`s a great flick, a must watch for any gambling – and particularly sportsbetting – enthusiast. It might be the purest movie about sportsbetting out there, and if you are a tipster, you will no doubt enjoy it even more.
3. The Sting (1973)
Maybe my favorite movie of all time, but it can`t be higher on this list because it is not exclusively gambling related. This is a classic hustling movie, but it does revolve A LOT around gambling, and has plenty of juicy poker and sports betting parts. I reckon it`s the best movie that involves gambling of all time, and it involves plenty of it. The entire film is brilliant, and of course the acting is top notch – you would expect nothing less from Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
2. Owning Mahowny (2003)
Probably Hollywood’s best ever portrayal of gambling addiction. Expect a (very) slow paced movie, but it is a masterful insight into addiction which will leave you breathless for days if you ever dealt with it, if you ever suffered big losses, or simply if you are a gambling enthusiast. It`s also based on a true story, which makes it that much more authentic and relatable.
1. The Gambler (1974)
I remember reading about this film back in the very early 2000`s, but I had to wait (very anxiously) some years to get my hands on it. It wasn`t as easy to watch some 1970 movie back then. But the wait paid off. Not only does ‘The Gambler’ portray a gambler’s mentality in a magnificently accurate way, but it`s also highly entertaining and engaging. It covers everything, from blackjack or roulette, to sports betting or match fixing. This is the flagship for gambling movies, and it still hasn`t been topped in more than 40 years. The 2014 remake is decent, but it doesn`t compare to the original – especially when it comes to that chilling metaphor in the ending scene.
Gambling addicts don`t bet to win. They bet so they can have something to lose the next day. – Axel Freed, The Gambler
Also read: Top 5 gambling movies you haven`t watched ↗.
Honorable mentions: Cincinnati Kid, Rounders, The Cooler, 21, A big hand for the little lady, Maverick, Shade, Color of Money, The Good Thief