The Most Iconic Roulette Scenes in Movies

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by Charlotte Wilson
| 19/06/2022
The Most Iconic Roulette Scenes in Movies

Poker, craps, and blackjack are popular casino games that are oftentimes portrayed in movies. However, at a closer look, roulette scenes seem to dominate the industry, whether we are talking about action-packed thrillers, dramas, or comedies. The CasinosHub team has compiled a list of some of the most fascinating, memorable and iconic roulette scenes in Hollywood movies.

No matter if you are a gaming aficionado who also likes to devour movies on the weekends or you are simply curious to know how the movie industry chose to portray the fascinating game that has an inimitable charm, read on.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Starring Steve Martin (Freddy) and Michael Caine (Lawrence), the 1988 movie shot on the French Riviera tells the tale of two scoundrels trying to trick heiress Janet Colgate (played by Glenne Headly) out of all of her money. The movie has several casino and roulette-focused scenes. One of the funniest and most iconic of them is the scene in which Freddy pretends to be an army vet in a wheelchair trying to swap one of his fake medals for a few bucks at the roulette table. Another memorable roulette scene shows Freddy and Lawrence engaged in a game, playing against each other and against other players.

CasablancaThe Most Iconic Roulette Scenes in Movies

Highly praised as the greatest movie ever made, Casablanca stars legends Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa) and Humphrey Bogart (Rick). Rick owns a bar and is helping his former lover Ilsa get away from the Nazi-occupied city of Casablanca with her new spouse. The game incorporates a memorable roulette scene. In it, Rick attempts to secretly facilitate the couple's exit visa to America and secure them with sufficient money by rigging a roulette game. He makes eye contact with the slick croupier who looks like he has seen and done it all, then straddles up to Ilsa’s husband and tells him to bet on 22. As expected, the croupier rolls a 22 and Ilsa’s husband collects the winnings. Rick then tells the man to place the same bet on 22 once again. The croupier, who is also Rick’s friend, immediately understands Rick’s intentions and once again Ilsa’s spouse wins.

As the two men and Ilsa leave the gaming room, another player who had witnessed the two consecutive wins asks one of the waiters “Are you sure this game is honest?” to which the waiter replies “Honest? As honest as the day is long!”. 

Diamonds Are Forever

Legendary secret agent 007 is seen setting foot in numerous casinos in his iconic movies. One of the most impactful casino-focused scenes takes place in the 1971 movie Diamonds are Forever. In it, James Bond is seen playing several casino games, including roulette. The tense roulette scene occurs right before 007 switches to the craps table. The tension is cleverly ratcheted up with the help of excellent camera work and dramatic music. 007 is seen getting involved in heavy gambling behind the roulette table inside the Whyte House Mansion Casino. Bond tries to flat bet on the same numbers during each round, symbolizing his attempt to beat all the odds as the drama keeps unfolding around him.

Run Lola Run

In the 1998 movie, Lola (played by Franka Potente) is on a desperate mission trying to raise enough money to pay off her boyfriend’s debt. She walks into an upscale casino in Berlin and goes straight to the roulette wheel where she places her only chip on 20 and wins. Next, she bets on 22 and, once again, she wins. Only this time, while the wheel is still spinning and the camera work does a wonderful job at intensifying the tension, Lola starts to scream so loud and intense that all the glasses start breaking around her. Her scream, however, has a very special meaning. Lola can actually use it to bend the rules of the universe and completely get rid of the element of chance. This way, she can build her own certainty, making the game end exactly the way she wants it to end. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to just scream your way into a win next time you are sitting in front of an online roulette table?

Croupier

The 1998 movie stars Clive Owen who plays Jack Manfred, an aspiring writer trying to make a living working as a croupier in a casino. The movie portrays British casinos as seen through his eyes, while trying to answer an existential question: can the croupier stay honest and loyal to his job while witnessing so much money, luxury cars, and beautiful women around him? As the movie progresses, Jack witnesses both the highs and lows of the gambling world, gathering material for his book while showing numerous inspiring roulette scenes. 

Right before spinning the reels of the roulette wheel in one of the most memorable scenes in the movie, Rick is asked by one of the players “What aftershave are you using?”. He does not answer, but instead we “hear” him thinking: “Never converse with the punters. It slows things down. Money down. Speed is volume. Volume is profit for the casino. Aim at 40 spins an hour.” 

These are just a few of the most popular movies with iconic roulette scenes. If you haven't seen them already, we recommend you grab some popcorn and plan a long movie night ahead!   

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