Follow Us on Twitter

The Three Most Exciting Casino Scenes that Drove the Plot Along in a Major Way

Feature by Jack Foley

IF there’s one type of scene or storyline that will have people on their edge of the seat in films, it’s a casino gameplay scene. Often, the scenes involve huge character arcs and feature the emotional culmination of what the film has been about. But not all casino scenes are created equally.

Here are three very different casino scenes that helped drive the plot along…

Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale is an obvious choice. In actuality, the latter half of the film revolves around a high-stakes poker game between new 00-agent James Bond (Daniel Craig) and terrorist financier Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen).

Not only does the game stake the entirety of Her Majesty’s finances, but the budding relationship between Bond and his colleague Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). The casino scenes are spread out between action and emotion and help build a rousing climax for the first of Daniel Craig’s spy outings. Bond has visited countless casinos over his 24 films so far, and will likely continue to in the future.

But the one we remember most is the one that cemented Daniel Craig as a credible James Bond.

Run, Lola, Run (1998)

Run, Lola, Run is an experimental German film that is loved by film students and art-house cinema fans around the world. Lola (Franka Potente) has to raise 100,000 DM to help her boyfriend in 20 minutes or he will suffer dire consequences.

From this moment, the film splits into three different scenarios, each playing out what might happen if Lola manages to raise the money in the 20 minutes. One of the scenarios involves Lola playing a casino game of roulette. The audience is as anticipatory as Lola as we know the high stakes of what could happen if she doesn’t produce the money.

So, it’s no surprise that live casino in which a real dealer can be seen has risen to prominence in the world of online casino, effectively replicating the tension and excitement that both Lola and the audience feel in that moment by fully simulating the land-based casino experience.

Ocean’s 11 (2001)

Ocean’s 11 gave us George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts together and embroiled in a heist at a casino. The plot is simple – they have to plan and carry out a heist at a casino. The scenes at the casino are perhaps the most exciting we have seen. The scenes that don’t necessarily feature any casino games are still filled with tension as we consider whether our heroes can actually pull it off. While two sequels did follow, as well as a semi-sequel with Sandra Bullock, the film helped showcase how effective a casino heist film could be.

Casino scenes are effective as they are already dripping with tension due to their very nature. When the storyline of the film weaves into such a scene, the excitement and tension are amplified. The director can then work on nuance and performance while we agonise over what the characters we have become invested in may do.