There’s something in a movie set in the casino that almost always makes the film a masterpiece. Is it the thrill of win or loss associated with gambling? Or maybe it’s just the fact that casinos are often full of original and mysterious characters?
No matter what it is, it works. Now, when it comes to casino films, the most famous are the ones created in Hollywood. All-time classics like Casino, Ocean’s (pick the number), or Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, have established their position in the history of cinematography.
The situation is a bit different when it comes to British casino films, but there are a few examples which show that filmmakers in the UK know how to make a good movie set in a casino, or have a gambling-related plot.
Here is the list of the top three British casino films.
Let’s kick start our list with an absolute classic, that Guy Ritchie’s magnum opus Snatch, from 2000, definitely is. Great acting, costumes, exciting story, pure dark British humor, and fantastic music, Snatch has it all.
Guy Ritchie’s classic casts some of the best actors of all time, with Benicio del Toro, Brad Pitt, and Jason Statham showing the audience what real acting is.
Snatch tells the story of two best mates, Turkish and Tommy, who are engaged in fixing boxing matches. To the mix of a brutal world of underground gambling, Ritchie throws in some Irish Gypsies (because why not?), and a diamond heist. All of the characters are bizarre, and watching them on screen is pure joy for every person who loves good cinema.
Snatch may not be the casino movie per se, but is an absolute must-watch for anyone interested in gambling, and the brutal world of the British underground. Ritchie’s film is one of the best movies ever made. 8,3/10 on IMDb and 73 % on RottenTomatoes shows it perfectly.
The movie Croupier from 1998, directed by Mike Hodges, shows an entirely different look on how casinos work, by showing everything from the perspective of a professional croupier. Starring British superstar Clive Owen as the main character, Croupier is a fantastic film for a person who wants to learn more about the inside of the casino industry.
Hodges’s movie tells the story of Jack Manfred, who decides to end his unsuccessful writing career and become a croupier in a fancy casino. The main character soonly notices the ups and downs of gambling life, but it’s too late to stop.
His work interferes with his relationship, and when Manfred meets a fellow gambler with a talent for trouble, a movie’s pace increases to the point where you’re not able to take your eyes off the screen.
Croupier may not be the most famous movie. Still, it’s one of the most excellent examples of the British cinematography, with a 98 % rate on RottenTomatoes, 7,1/10 on IMDb, and one of the most memorable roles of Clive Owen.
Casino Royale (2006)
His name is Bond, James Bond, and what a Bond movie Casino Royale is! Even though it was released in 2006, Martin Campbell’s take on one of the classic 007 tales, has been hailed as one of the best James Bond movies ever made.
Introducing Daniel Craig as the new Bond, Casino Royale shows the beginnings of the world’s most famous secret agent, who has just earned his license to kill. After the opening sequence, the new 007 sets on a mission to find the notorious weapon dealer.
The movie sends Bond to the poker table, where he has to play high stakes with the main villain Le Chiffre, played by fantastic Mads Mikkelsen. As you can probably guess, not everything goes according to plan, and 007 has to face the most significant threat of his career.
Hailed as the best 007 movie next to Live and Let Die, or Goldfinger, Casino Royale is a must-watch for any action movie lover. It also perfectly catches the intensity of high stake poker games and shows the real face of a sophisticated casino.
What’s more, it introduced, according to many, the best Bond up to date, with an outstanding role of Daniel Craig. 8,0/10 on IMDb and 95 % on RottenTomatoes speaks for themselves.
The English cinematography is rich in phenomenal casino films. The three movies given above are just a few examples of the talent of British filmmakers. Funny Man, Revolver, or Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, also show how phenomenal the gambling-related British cinematography can be.
And even though the casino genre is mostly associated with the US cinematography, the United Kingdom shouldn’t be ashamed of their movies either. They stand proud among the abundance of American films, in many cases showing the superiority of the unique British cinematography.