Many a great idea starts with an awesome movie. We all know the feeling of having discovered something new and exciting after having come across a new concept in a film. This is certainly very true when it comes to movies about Las Vegas, and a number of Sin City-based masterpieces have been produced to date. We take a look at 5 awesome movies that take place in everyone’s favourite casino capital.
Diamonds Are Forever – 1971
When talking awesome movies, there is no better place to start than with James Bond. Diamonds Are Forever is, true to classic Bond style, a British spy film masterpiece based in the exciting world of Las Vegas. It’s also the sixth and final film in the Bond sequel to have starred Sean Connery, making it even more of a timeless classic for many fans.
A casino craps table makes a star appearance when Bond meets the very opportunistic and mesmerising Plenty O’Toole. After taking her to his room, O’Toole meets an untimely death when she is mistaken for Tiffany Case by a group of wrongdoers wanting to get their hands on the ever-elusive stash of diamonds. What follows is typical 007-spy thriller action and Vegas provides the perfect backdrop.
Oceans Eleven – 1960
The 1960’s version of Oceans Eleven is the original rat pack movie, directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Frank Sinatra as Danny Ocean, Dean Martin as Sam Harmon and Sammy Davis Jr as Josh Howard.
It’s the ultimate story of a full-on Las Vegas heist, a planned robbery concocted with military precision by mastermind Danny Ocean. Ocean and Jimmy Foster, played by Peter Lawford, recruit a group of WWII war veterans to rob five Las Vegas casinos: Sahara, Riviera, Wilbur Clark’s Desert Inn, Sands and the Flamingo casino.
The plan is an elaborate one involving Howard taking on the job and persona of a sanitation worker who drives a garbage truck in order to gain access to the casino buildings. Harmon too, does his bit for the good of the group, entertaining casino patrons in one of the lounges. Demolition charges are planted on an electricity transmission tower, and the backup electricity systems are rewired in the process.
At midnight, all power is blown out and with no backup emergency system in place; the cunning thieves make their get-away with the bags of loot and the spoils of their thievery.
Martin Scorsese’s Casino – 1995
The setting for Martin Scorsese’s Casino is the Riviera casino in Las Vegas. The Riviera was a famous casino and served as the setting for many Las Vegas-based motion pictures. The Riviera closed its doors for the last time in May 2015, after having been in operation since April 1955.
Scorsese successfully endeavours to recreate the look and feel of a very corrupt but also very romantic Las Vegas as it used to be in the 1970’s and the movie includes a number of poignant scenes involving the demolition of old classic casino buildings earmarked to be replaced by Disney-style castles.
Casino pays true homage to classic Las Vegas.
Showgirls – 1995
Whilst Casino pays homage to classic Las Vegas, Showgirls is all about drugs, sex and eye candy. In many ways, Showgirls detests the spirit of Vegas, shifting the focus to cheap philandering and a shallow rendition of mindless gamblers and idiot-style Americans looking for a cheap thrill and an easy buck.
The movie does possess a certain charm though, catering to a more debaucherous view of Sin City. It also gives viewers insight into what working in Vegas is like, and how the day-to-day lives of poker professionals, showgirls and other regulars on the scene are perhaps a little less glitzy than we imagined.
The Hangover – 2009
Modern-day Las Vegas: hookers at your every beck and call, narcotics and off-key entertainment around every corner. The emphasis here is on comedy and that old famous adage: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
The Hangover considers the funny side of a bachelor’s weekend away going horribly awry, and shows off Vegas in all its neon lit glory.