Gambling movies have long captured the imagination of people worldwide. Obviously, Ocean’s Eleven is by far one of the most stunning gambling movies, alongside Casino Royale from the James Bond franchise. 

Casino movies

Casino movies

While Ocean’s Eleven raked in $450 million at the box office and made Brad Pitt’s career, it’s easy to forget that for every male superstar, there is a female star who made many casino-themed movies what they were.

So, let’s explore the best female performances from the world’s leading casino-themed movies.

Jodie Foster - Maverick

Jodie Foster is no stranger to the upper echelons of Hollywood. While many audiences today know her for her epic performance as Agent Clarice Starling opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, one of her best performances came in the Western comedy Maverick. This was also a relative rarity because Foster herself admitted she prefers dramatic roles.

Foster played a con artist with a talent for poker, opposite Mel Gibson, who also put in an epic performance as a larger-than-life character.

This 1994 movie introduced poker to a new generation and also explored Foster’s range as an actress. While she was originally known for her dramatic characters, this was a welcome change from her usual repertoire.

Sharon Stone - Casino

Casino is a movie that delivers precisely what it promises. This 1995 box office hit was an opportunity for Sharon Stone to show an audience around the dark underbelly of Las Vegas.

In many ways, Casino inspired many players to explore the earliest incarnations of online casinos for the first time. Although the games of that time weren’t as advanced as today’s online slot hits such as Starburst, Casino brought glamour and tragedy to our screens.

Sharon Stone’s performance as Ginger focused on organized crime in Vegas. She played opposite Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in this star-studded hit directed by Marin Scorsese.

Stone perfectly encapsulated what it is to be a casino actress as the shining star in the middle of this action-packed story.

Julia Roberts - Ocean’s Eleven

Still the most successful movie in the Ocean’s franchise, no article on gambling-themed performances would be complete without a salute to Julia Roberts.

The first instalment follows a huge heist in Las Vegas, alongside an epic love story. Roberts played Tess Ocean to perfection, as she acts as the voice of reason to ensure the gang completes the heist and escapes with the cash.

Interestingly, Roberts gets to depart from the purely heroic concept of a leading lady by playing opposite the villain, Andy Garcia. Tess is the fulcrum that enables the heist to happen, and without Roberts reaching a peak in her acting career, this movie would undoubtedly not be as widely remembered as it is.

Eva Green - Casino Royale

Many consider Casino Royale to be the ultimate casino-themed movie – and for good reason. In this movie, Green proved that she was a prodigy in the acting world.

Green played opposite Mads Mikkelsen in the Bond movie that brought the historical franchise back to the big screen. Just like the original, the high-stakes poker table scene remains a standout, and Eva Green’s look-over added to the intense atmosphere that made Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond such a worthy one. 

Although Casino Royale may not be remembered as fondly as the older flicks on this list, it’s only a matter of time before the movie world recognizes it as a legend of the genre. As far as modern, casino-themed movies go, Green’s performance made Casino Royale a movie that has gone down in the history of the cinema.

Rita Hayworth - Gilda

Rita Hayworth may not have won any awards but her performance in Gilda nailed a memorable character that movie buffs know to this day.

Starring as the glamorous wife of a casino owner, Hayworth’s performance goes down in history because it was one of the first prominent female roles in a gambling-themed movie. Even though this 1946 hit has been supplanted by more modern productions, Hayworth receives the plaudits for defining the genre and paving the way for the female stars of the future.


Cinema is often filled with defining performances, some of which could yield success when award season rolls around. However, casino-themed movies have often performed spectacularly because they are few and far between.

As a small niche, gambling movies have come a long way since the Westerns of the mid-20th century that focused on dusty saloons and 10-gallon hats. But the success of gambling movies must be attributed to their female co-stars who enable their male leads to shine.

What’s your favourite gambling movie performance of all time?