Is it time for a shake up in casino movies?

The forthcoming release of The Gambler, starring Jessica Lange and Mark Wahlberg, has got tongues wagging as to whether or not the remake will do the original justice this November.

Gambler movie 2014

Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is in a downward spiral until Amy (Brie Larson) offers hope in ‘The Gambler.'(Photo: Claire Folger, Paramount Pictures)

Directed by Karel Reisz in 1976, the original film starred James Caan as a literary professor who made one too many bad choices when it came to indulging his gambling vice. The film was a hit in the 70s – but will the remake show James Caan justice? More importantly however, is it time we stopped making movies based on outdated gambling methods and started moving forward into the 21st century?

When people think of casino movies, there’s one outstanding flick that pops into everybody’s mind: Casino. Released in 1995, the film glamorized the darker side of the gambling scene, from lies and deception to owning your own empire, and it also propelled Sharon Stone onto everybody’s radar.

Later, in 2009, four hapless buddies got together to satirize the ‘boys will be boys’ culture of Las Vegas in award-winning comedy The Hangover. Just like Casino, the film won a Golden Globe, but it had a completely different outlook on Vegas.

What the two films did have in common however was that they both dealt with the traditional elements of Vegas – card playing, table games and slot machines. The casino genre is definitely a popular one amongst Hollywood, so perhaps it’s time to ask: is it time for a shake up in casino movies?

As trends move forward, so too should the subject matter in today’s blockbusters. For example, today, more and more of us are turning to sites like to play online rather than leaving the house to have a cheeky gamble. If we are all turning to the internet to indulge our gambling habits, should script writers not move in the same direction?

Indeed, the idea was dabbled with in the 2013 flick Runner Runner, which saw main protagonist Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) winning an online poker game and consequently landing himself into a spot of bother with some very unwelcome enemies.

The film had a lukewarm reception, achieving just 5.6 on IMDB, which is all the more reason why Hollywood should play with this idea a little more. Films about the impact of the internet have been on the rise in recent years – The Social Network, for example, won three Academy Awards.

In an age where we’re struggling to think of something new, movies about online casinos could be the next big thing in film franchises. The possibilities for plot ideas are endless, whether it’s hacking into a multi-million dollar online casino corporation or a gangster battle between the online empire owners. If it worked so well for Scorsese in the 90s, it might be an idea for movie makers to try it again with a 21st century twist – take note, Hollywood.


  1. Cynthia R says:

    I don’t gamble online but I know a lot of people that gamble with friends, online, and those gambling machines you find here and there in stores and bars.