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The Hollywood glitz has inevitably rubbed off on movies, and specifically movies about gambling. Today we will take a look at the highest budget gambling movies there are.
Each is a classic polished off not only by big-budget effects and lavish frills, but similarly by great acting, fantastic writing and an ambiance that pulls you in.
They say that good cinema is priceless, but you can actually put a price on pretty much anything, and so is the case with every item on our list of highest budget gambling movies.
• Budget: $150 million
• Box office: $606.1 million
The name is Bond, James Bond. This phrase has seared itself in popular culture not only thanks to Ian Fleming’s brilliant writing, but also thanks to the movie franchise now spanning over 24 quality flicks. The one we are going to talk about today cost director Martin Campbell $150 million to shoot, a pretty penny.
Still, this is almost twice as cheap as Spectre, a bit of a disappointing flop in the series, but a pricey $300 million production nevertheless. Well, “Casino Royale” is the second highest-rated James Bond movie and it’s certainly one of the highest budget movies about gambling, secret agents, and a femme fatale, no less.
“Casino Royale” heads to one of Europe’s gambling hubs, Montenegro, where Daniel Craig, who plays 007 in the movie, will square up with a terrorist simply known as Le Chiffre. The game of poker that ensues is interrupted, whether it’s food poisoning or a madman attacking James Bond with a scimitar of all things.
Well-written and doubly well-shot, “Casino Royale” is not only one of the most expensive movies about gambling – it’s also one of the best productions to have graced the big screen.
• Budget: 85 million
• Box office: $450.7 million
“Ocean’s Eleven” is a movie about heists, casino heists. Now, anyone familiar with the story of Las Vegas is probably aware that these things don’t end too well. Well, “Ocean’s” Eleven needed a sequel for spectators to find out just how much trouble Danny Ocean, a gangster, and his eleven partners get into, by deciding to rob Terry Benedict, pulling simultaneous heist at Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos. It’s not an easy plan to execute, but the movie has it all, including a constellation of star actors and actresses.
The cast features iconic picks as George Clooney (Danny Ocean) and Brad Pitt (Rusty Ryan) who’s Clooney’s partner in crime. Of course, Danny’s decision to mess with the wrong person is not motivated by logic or cupidity. The movie has grossed $183,417,150 in the United States and around $450,717,150 million worldwide, according to GamblingNews data.
There is Julia Roberts who plays Tess Ocean, who is now Benedict’s girlfriend. It’s about a man’s pride and Danny Ocean decides to strike with all his ingenuity and cunningness, costing Benedict a pretty penny.
Or does he? Well, you might need to watch the sequel to be absolutely sure. Now, there have been much better casino heists in real life, but the fact that Steven Soderbergh didn’t think of a similar scenario is simply because he had to stick with some plausibility after all.
• Budget: 35 million
• Box office: 159.8 million
Of all the high budget gambling movies, “21” is a minnow look at it any which way you wish. The movie is quite brilliant, and you should definitely will want to see it if you have heard about the notorious MIT blackjack team, an outfit that accumulated wealth out of counting cards in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and well across the world.
The movie stars Kevin Spacey in the role of Micky Rosa, a hardened, morally ambiguous and unscrupulous mathematician who knows how to game casinos. There is only one drawback, he can’t really show his nose in a casino or security would be quickly all over it.
So what good is Rosa’s talent if he can’t make any money out of it? Well, he can teach it to others and act as a coach from the sideline, giving his incredibly smart pupils and MIT students a way to become millionaires over the course of a few months.
The movie may have cost only $35 million to make, but it shines with superb camera work, great writing, and even better acting and is definitely a movie you would love to see for yourself.
• Budget: $12 million
• Box office: $22.9 million
John Dahl definitely knows how to tell a good story. Rounders operated on a modest $12 million budget, but the movie was shot back in 1998, well before movie budgets got too bloated for their own good.
“Rounders” is a fantastic movie that had a bit of a modest reception, with just $22.9 million in the box office across the United States. Why feature it here you may wonder? Well, the movie definitely has a lot of potential and it was one of the first times we would see Matt Damon, a gambler at heart himself.
Well, “Rounders” proved to be quite the success with the gambling community, and poker players. While there were a few disgruntled souls who fussed about the implausibility of some of the hands, Rounders did the game of poker quite a bit of justice.
In fact, that was one of the first great screenings of a poker movie where the played hands and game dynamics were properly captured and quite realistic. Add to this the fact that the ambiance and acting was great and you have a movie that is hard to overlook.
Perhaps, “Rounders” isn’t one of those movies where we can talk about high budgets, but it’s still a very worthwhile flick you might want to take the time and watch yourself. There are quite a few twists in the plot, but we will save those for you to see.