Aside from slots and blackjack, roulette is the most popular casino game around. Some even argue that it is more iconic than the previously mentioned two, as it has a sense of glamour. Though its name derives from the French word “ little wheel, “ roulette has Italian roots in a game known as Biribi. In the past, this gaming option was only available at select luxurious gambling establishments. Yet, today, anyone can play online roulette for real money, as the internet is chock full of online roulette betting sites.
Hollywood has had an obsession with casino movies since the 1950s. However, the figure of roulette ones is not tremendously vast. Thus, there is not a massive pool of films we can draw from when attempting to present the best roulette wins that have occurred on the silver screen. Thankfully, the few available options are quality ones worthy of a viewing. So, let us dive deep into exploring the top roulette movies Hollywood has managed to produce.
Directed by prolific golden age director Michael Curtiz, Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman is a movie classic if there ever was one. Released in theaters in 1942, it tells the story of an American café owner who struggles to help his ex-lover and her husband escape French Morocco and the Nazis.
In the film’s pivotal scene, Bogart’s character Rick rigs a roulette spin to pay off the number 22, ensuring that the couple in danger has enough money to leave for America. Casablanca won three Oscars, exceeded box office expectations, and became one of the first films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Diamonds Are Forever
Everyone knows that James Bond loves casinos. Ian Fleming’s legendary character has always been partial to baccarat, but he has also had a great deal of love for roulette. In the seventh addition to the movie series, Sean Connery enjoys a bit of roulette action at the Whyte grand mansion while investigating a diamond smuggling ring.
Interestingly, this film featured a Sammy Davis Jr. cameo of the famous entertainer betting at a roulette table. Sadly, that scene did not make the final cut. The editors deemed that it ruined the movie’s pacing. Diamonds Are Forever was a gigantic hit, grossing $116 million on a $7.2 million budget.
Here is a pick that rarely gets brought up when the subject of roulette gambling movies comes up. Croupier is a hidden gem directed by Mike Hodges, which gained notoriety once it got a DVD release in North America in 1999.
It stars Clive Owen in a breakthrough role and provides an authentic look into the inner workings of a small London casino through the eyes of one of its dealers. In one scene of the movie, Owen’s character Jack Manfred notices a woman laundering money via roulette play while receiving no resistance from the casino manager for this practice.
She bets the same massive amount on both red and black and instantly cashes out her prize, breaking even. Croupier did not win any notable awards but is now a cult film with a decent fan base.
Run Lola Run
This one is a bit of a cheat, as it is not a Hollywood-produced movie. Nevertheless, it is of such quality that it would be a shame to leave it off this list. Run Lola Run is an experimental thriller that sky-rocketed the careers of German director Tom Tykwer and German actress Franka Potente. It is a hyper-kinetic, multi-reality movie that shows the title character, Lola, played by Potente, searching for 100,000 Deutschmarks to get her boyfriend, Manni, out of a potentially deadly jam.
One of the alternative realities in the film involves Lola screaming at the roulette wheel, successfully making it stop on the number twenty, winning her the needed amount. Interestingly enough, this movie made its budget back almost twenty-fold. It was also the German entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 1999 Academy Awards but was not nominated.
Based on Jack Engelhard’s novel, Indecent Proposal is a 1993 drama starring Woody Harrelson, Robert Redford, and Demi Moore. In it, Harrelson and Moore are high school sweethearts that lose a lot of money during a recession and go to Vegas with hopes of winning big so that they can save their land from being repossessed.
However, while luck is on their side at first, they gamble away everything at a roulette table. At that time, a billionaire named Cage (Redford) steps in and offers the unfortunate couple a million dollars for a night with Diana (Moore).
Despite getting unfavorable reviews from critics, Indecent Proposal was a smash hit at the box office, pulling in $267 million worldwide. The movie differs drastically from the book, as Harrelson’s character, Joshua, is Jewish, and Redford’s (Cage) is an Arab. Thus, the themes in the novel have more to do with materialism versus spirituality and Israel versus the Arab countries.
To Sum Up
As mentioned, roulette does not have a vast presence in cinema. Aside from the five films mentioned above, if you want to watch more celebrity roulette action on celluloid, you can check out California Split, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Vegas Vacation, and The Gambler. For a more grim version of the game, the Deer Hunter is the most obvious choice. 13 is another option that features an ensemble cast that includes Michael Shannon and Mickey Rourke.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by Safest Betting Sites. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.