Blackjack Goes to the Movies – Movies Involving Blackjack

By Dennis Lilly.

Movies are made at a staggering rate these days, and the days of only hearing about blockbuster films are gone, as films can be released independently or go straight to Netflix or other broadcasters.

Gambling has its part to play in these stories, and in books and podcasts, and there are even games where people can play representations of blackjack, such as Fallout: New Vegas and GTA. We’re focusing here on movies where blackjack has played a role and worked its way into the plot – in some, it forms a crucial part of the narrative.

Blackjack in the Movies

Why is Blackjack a Popular Topic?

What makes blackjack such a popular game to include in movies? Along with the rich history of the game, the fact that it is often played in casinos which are visually impressive helps to make it a good setting for filming.

Growth in the industry in general also shows how many people are interested in blackjack these days, online casino blackjack has helped to make the game more accessible which means that more people understand the rules and ideas behind the game, so it is easier for them to know what is going on in these scenes, and the filmmakers know that there is interest.

Casinos in general have proven to be a popular topic for films, and people may instantly think of movies like Casino Royale, where the focus of the film is within a casino setting with some incredibly dramatic scenes.

Directors are not afraid to put the game into these scenes because of the simplicity of the rules, so even people who don’t necessarily know the ins and outs of casino gaming may understand the premise and the fact that the goal is to get to 21.1)EDITOR NOTE: Actually, the goal in blackjack is NOT to get to 21.  The goal is to “beat the dealer”, which can be done in two ways.  1) Get a hand closer to 21 than the dealers hand or, 2) Let the dealer bust and go over 21. You don’t have to play a lot of the game to know what is going on, plus the imagery of the cards, croupiers, and other interesting aspects of the game are also part of the reason for the inclusion in films.

Croupier

Croupier is a movie that has been described by many as a hidden gem. Clive Owen stars as a writer who is down on his luck and takes up a role as a croupier, which he is very good at. Of course, there is a love triangle and plenty of other cinematic tropes involved, but generally, the tale of Jack Manfred is an interesting one.

The movie culminates in a scene where Jack (Clive Owen) has to deal the cards to his boss, and there is a good level of tension and interest in this particular scene. Plenty of other casino movies and blackjack movies are better known, but Croupier is one that is worth watching, especially if you like British cinema.

The Hangover

The Hangover has become known as one of the best comedy movies of its time, with a huge cult following and sequels that are virtually as successful. Sometimes crude, and riotous throughout, the movie features a lot of casino references, and of course, they play some blackjack.

They make some silly decisions and the movie isn’t exactly realistic (unless you have the craziest group of friends) but The Hangover is a casino comedy like no other.

Jinxed

This is another film that comes under the comedy genre. Jinxed is a weird premise and has elements of fantasy and magic along with humor. Jinxed is about a guy who has been cursed and happens to be a blackjack dealer. The story is amusing as they go from casino to casino trying to use his curse to their advantage.

Jinxed has some really funny moments and some big names involved including Rip Torn and Bette Midler. The snappy and funny dialog throughout is well-written and the movie takes a light-hearted approach. Fair to say it has mixed reviews, but 75% of the audience has given it a positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Rain Man

Possibly the most famous (and critically acclaimed) of all of the movies involving blackjack is Rain Man, which has huge names including Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise starring in their roles. They play brothers. Charlie Babbitt (Hoffman) is a selfish man who looks to exploit his brother’s unprecedented skill.

Casino gaming and blackjack really play a big part in the narrative, which is otherwise a story about family, the relationship between the two brothers – Cruise and Hoffman – and the trials of family life. Rain Man explores what can happen when one family member doesn’t have another’s best interests at heart. Rain Man received eight nominations at the 61st Academy Awards and is known as one of the most successful movies of its time.

Conclusion

Franchises are incorporating blackjack as a part of the narrative in the modern age, and movies including James Bond have a strong casino theme, so it is little surprise to see growth in the games involved. As casino culture and online casinos become bigger and bigger, there seems to be a growing demand for the game to be included in other forms of entertainment.

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Footnotes

Footnotes
1EDITOR NOTE: Actually, the goal in blackjack is NOT to get to 21.  The goal is to “beat the dealer”, which can be done in two ways.  1) Get a hand closer to 21 than the dealers hand or, 2) Let the dealer bust and go over 21.

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