Rupert Pupkin Speaks: My Favorite Gambling Films ""

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Favorite Gambling Films

Just a quick list of my favorite gambling related films. My friend Will over at The Gentlemen's Guide to Midnite Cinema had thrown out the idea and so I came up with this list. Hope you like!(as always, you're suggestions for stuff I missed are welcome)

1. THE LADY EVE(1941; Preston Sturges)
2. CALIFORNIA SPLIT(1974; Robert Altman)

3. COCKFIGHTER(1974; Monte Hellman)

4. THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN(1970; George Stevens)

5. THE STING(1973; George Roy Hill)

6. HARD EIGHT(1996; Paul Thomas Anderson)
7. THE HUSTLER(1961; Robert Rossen)
8. THE CINCINNATI KID(1965; Norman Jewison)

9. KINGPIN(1996; Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly)

10. HARD TIMES(1975; Walter Hill)

11. BOB LE FLAMBEUR(1956; Jean-Pierre Melville)

12. THE GAMBLER(1974; Karel Reisz)
13. THE COLOR OF MONEY(1986; Martin Scorsese)

14. FEVER PITCH(1985; Richard Brooks)

15. CROUPIER(1998; Mike Hodges)

16. ROUNDERS(1998; John Dahl)


Drew McIntosh said...

Excellent list, tough to argue with any of those.

Big Hand for the Little Lady has always been a personal favorite of mine.

Hal said...

I agree, great list.

Although the improvisational nature of the film means there are a lot of poker mistakes, the recent THE GRAND (2007) has enough hilarious moments (particularly from Gabe Kaplan, Barry Corbin and Woody Harrelson) to be a recent list-crasher for me.

Of course, "gambling" could create a wide universe of films here. For example, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, LITTLE DARLINGS and countless other films center on one "big bet".

How about CASINO? More of a mob film?

I'll second the affection for BIG HAND FOR THE LITTLE LADY too. Amusing.

Will Errickson said...

Great list. CALIFORNIA SPLIT and BOB LE FLAMBEUR are simply two of my favorites movies ever. I'm surprised I haven't heard more about THE GAMBLER, which I liked. Good call on that one.

Rupert Pupkin said...

Gentlemen I must admit I've never seen BIG HAND FOR THE LITTLE LADY, just jumped to the top of my queue!

Hal-Haven't seen THE GRAND but that's another I'll check out. Not sure why I left off CASINO, certainly a great film. I guess I was trying to choose films where the characters actively gambled a bit more. Love the idea of "Bet" movies. SMOKEY & LITTLE DARLINGS would certainly be on there. Maybe GUMBALL RALLY too. Any other thoughts on "bet" films? I need to do that list!

Rupert Pupkin said...

Will-Yeah CALIFORNIA SPLIT is such a standout film , even in Altman's fantastic filmography. Sad state about its edited dvd, but maybe we can hope for a Criterion some day!(fingers crossed)

Unknown said...

Love CALIFORNIA SPLIT. After THE LONG GOODBYE, it's probably my fave Altman film. The edited DVD doesn't bother me too much and I was suprised/shocked out how fast it went out of print!

Another fantastic film that features gambling/con artists is David Mamet's HOUSE OF GAMES. There's fantastic poker game sequence early on the film where Ricky Jay faces off against Joe Mantegna with some great Mamet dialogue:

Mike: I think you’re bluffing.
Jay: What are you, Joe Hep? I didn’t ask what you think! Raise, call or fold.
Mike: I should raise your ass. But I’m just gonna call. My marker’s good for a moment?
Jay: What is this marker? Where are you from?
Mike: Where am I from? I’m from the United States of kiss my ass!

Love that film.

Another good one is the very underrated SHADE, Stuart Townsend plays a card shark who infiltrates a big-time, cash-only poker game. Sylvester Stallone drops his action star schtick for a film and plays the big-time card player that Townsend's character tries to take down. The card playing scenes are quite good.

Rupert Pupkin said...

J.D.-Couldnt agree more Re: CALIFORNIA SPLIT, might be my next favorite Altman after THE LONG GOODBYE as well. HOUSE OF GAMES is pretty solid too, just not a huge fan of the Lindsay Crouse performance in that film and it pulls me out of the movie. Some great Mamet dialogue there though.
Never heard of SHADE, sounds quite cool, gotta check that one out!
Love the new avatar btw!

Ned Merrill said...

Check out LOOKIN' TO GET OUT! when you have a chance, too.

Graygrrrl said...

Totally have to agree with "Hard Eight" and "Croupier". Two of my favorite films of all time.