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Cool Stuff | Pop Culture | 80s

Top Three Casino Movies From The Eighties

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

The eighties were a fine time for blockbuster movies. Some of the most innovative, memorable cinematic triumphs arrived, many of which are still being franchised and remade today. Throughout its many genres, the themes of wins and losses in the casino have remained a big narrative lure. Below, we pick out our favorite gambling movies from the decade.

The Big Town

The Big Town is one of the lesser-known casino movies from the decade. It fuses several genres, including film noir and classic thriller. Matt Dillon plays the lead character, J C Cullen, who comes to the big city to find his fortune as a professional gambler. However, his plan does not go well as he soon finds himself juggling two lovers, and becomes the center of a feud between several deadly factions.

The movie is based on a novel by Clark Howard named The Arm. It was the result of producer Martin Ransohoff’s deal with Columbia and was the first picture he would produce with them. His previous movies had been about pool sharks and poker, so he had a history of making engaging movies about gambling. Despite its pedigree and it is fine film about the coming of age, it was not a box office success.

Sadly, it is doubtful that the movie could be updated for today's audience. Many of the best online US casinos can be accessed from a mobile device, so players don’t need to head to big cities to enjoy all the casino has to offer. With welcome bonuses and a great range of games to play, many people now choose to play table games in the comfort of their homes.

Rain Man

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Rain Man is one of the most iconic movies of all time, not only the decade. The story focuses on Charlie Babbitt, an egocentric money grabber. When his estranged father dies, he is distraught that he has been left nothing. Finding out his dad had $1 million placed in a trust fund he tries to access it the only way possible: By caring for his autistic brother.

The most iconic casino scene comes when Charlie takes his brother to Vegas. Having a knack for card counting, his brother manages to have a huge win at the blackjack table. Starting as a tale about lust for money and greed, it turns into a heartwarming story about the developing bond between the two brothers. It is the only film to date that has won both the Golden Bear and Academy Awards for best picture.

The Color of Money

The Color of Money is another Tom Cruise classic, this time directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese. Paul Newman stars in the lead role as Eddie Felson, who takes on Cruise’s character Vincent as his unknowing pool-playing protégé. The two end up heading out on the road, playing high-stakes games that culminate in a casino.

Many people don’t realize that this was a sequel to a 1959 novel known as The Hustler. It had a 1961 film adaptation in which Newman reprised his role, though the character had moved on. Surprisingly, it was the only time he won an Oscar for his acting skills.