The big screen has played host to some enthralling action scenes. Whether it’s suspense and drama you seek or even some light-hearted comedy, you are usually rewarded by film-makers with a film to remember. Which brings us onto blackjack – as long as the cinemas and the movies have been around, this card game has been around a lot longer. It has even done more than its fair share for the film industry by bringing us plenty of iconic film moments! It doesn’t matter if it’s Zach Galifianakis or Dustin Hoffman at the tables, viewers have been treated to some dramatic big-screen blackjack moments. Although online blackjack games can be fun, there is simply no replacing the drama of a casino scene being played out in a blockbuster movie and with that so, here’s some of our top picks for you to enjoy.
The Hangover (2009)
Blackjack rooms are usually cigar smoke-laden atmospheres, full of wealthy and exuberant gamblers who seem to have a knack for picking the right cards at exactly the right times. None of this could be more false when it comes to Zach Galifianakis though, who plays a socially-inept son-in-law named Alan Garner in this 2009 classic. The film sees four men, dubbed ‘The Wolfpack’, head to Vegas for a bachelor party, before ending up in a whirl of trouble after forgetting the events of the night before. The chances are that you have seen this film, given its success – which sparked two sequels – so we really shouldn’t be spoiling anything when we reveal that the future of one of the Wolfpack is left in the hands of Alan, who remarkably uses the art of card-counting to earn the vast sum of $80,000 to save their supposedly kidnapped pack-brother. Although the casino scene only takes up a couple of minutes, it is simply hilarious to see a man, who believes Caesar actually lived in Caesars Palace – the casino – succeed at delivering a small bankruptcy on a Vegas-strip casino.
Rain Man (1988)
Speaking of Alan Garner, the character actually references this 1988 classic directly on more than one occasion during The Hangover. Rain Man sees two long-lost brothers journey across the country in a relationship building road trip. Whether the two brothers – played by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman – would have reconnected had Hoffman proved to be inept at card counting remains to be seen, but his shrewd ability to earn enough cash for Cruise to pay his debts, despite the fact his brother is clearly using him, is as heart-warming as you will ever see. In fact, the casino scene in this movie is so integral to the brothers’ reconciling, that had Hoffman simply blown what little money they had left, the scene would probably be on this list anyway.
The more serious successor to Rain Man’s exploits, 21 sees Kevin Spacey lead an elite MIT blackjack team across a host of Las Vegas casinos, as they look to exploit them for every penny they have through the art of card counting. With individual group needs and objectives proving too much for the group to handle, the film sets itself up for a dramatic conclusion as Lawrence Fishbourne – who plays a ‘man-on-a-mission’ type pit-boss – enters the fray as he bids to capture the group one by one. Although the film didn’t receive that much critical acclaim, a lot of the scenes give insight into the underground world of casinos and card-counting, whilst also showing how excelling academics can make a lot of money fast (if they break the rules of course!).