Gambling is something that we have seen many times on the big screen over the years and Mississippi Grind is the latest gambling drama.

Gambling on Female First

Gambling on Female First

The movie sees Ryan Reynolds team up with Ben Mendelsohn in pursuit of a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans, and the DVD is out tomorrow.

To celebrate, we take a look back at some of the best gambling movies of recent years. Do you have a favourite?

- Casino (1996)

Martin Scorsese returned to the director's chair in 1996 with Casino, a big screen adaptation of the book by Nicholas Pileggi. It was the first feature film for Scorsese since The Age of Innocence and sees him reunite with actor Robert De Niro.

Casino was their eighth collaboration and their first since Cape Fear in 1991. Casino was the last time that we saw this actor and director work together on a feature film.

The three-hour mob-movie epic is all about greed, deception, money, power, and murder between two mobster best friends and a trophy wife arguing over a gambling empire. De Niro takes on the central role of Sam 'Ace' Rothstein and is joined on the cast list by Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, and James Woods.

The gangster/mob movie has always been Scorsese's forte and Casino is another terrific example. Casino is a movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and is packed with interesting characters and great relationships.

Of course, De Niro gives a wonderful central performance but it really is Sharon Stone who shines - she went on to pick up a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her work.

Casino was met with critical acclaim upon release and was a commercial, as well as a critical, success. Stone's Best Actress nod was the only Oscar nomination for the film.

- Casino Royale (2006)

Hard to believe that it has been a decade since Daniel Craig first introduced himself as James Bond. Casino Royale saw the actor take over the role from Pierce Brosnan for the first time - and was a hugely controversial choice.

Armed with a licence to kill, Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem.

Casino Royale was an explosive introduction to Craig's Bond we some great action moment and wonderful set pieces. However, it is the poker scenes that are the most tense as Craig go head to head with villain Le Chiffre; the battle between them really does have some hugely tense moments.

Casino Royale, which was directed Martin Campbell, was a terrific introduction to a new era of Bond and Craig showed that he was going to be a very different 007 - he was darker and more violent than any Bond that we had seen before.

This movie kicked off Craig's tenure as Bond in fine style as the film was both a hit with critics and audiences. The movie grossed $599 million at the global box office and was, until Skyfall came along in 2012, the highest grossing Bond film of all time.

- Ocean's Eleven (2002)

It is not very often that a remake is better than the original but Ocean's Eleven is one of the few movies that really does buck that trend.

Ocean's Eleven was the first of three movies in the crime caper franchise and saw Steven Soderbergh in the director's chair. George Clooney took on the central role of Danny Ocean and was joined on the cast list by Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, and Don Cheadle.

The movie follows Danny and his eleven accomplices as they plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos at the same time - a feat that has never been achieved.

From start to finish, Ocean's Eleven is a fast paced, witty, funny, and wildly entertaining movie that delivers on every level - it really is a whole lot of fun.

The banter and the chemistry between the central characters is what really drives this film forward - Clooney and Pitt make a particularly good team.

Ocean's Eleven was a big box office success upon release and went on to gross over $650 million at the global box office. Two more films followed by they were never as good as the first.

- Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

It was back in 1998 when filmmaker Guy Ritchie made his feature film directorial debut with Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels. As well as being in the director's chair, Ritchie has also penned the film's screenplay.

A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash, and two antique shotguns.

Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, and Jason Statham take on the central roles of Tom, Soap, Eddy, and Bacon and made a terrific central team and this is a movie that the stars of all of them rocketing - particularly that of Statham.

Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels is a wonderfully fast paced movie that is packed with interesting characters and some witty dialogue. Ritchie finds the perfect balance between violence and comedy and this kicked off his directing career in fine style.

- 21 (2008)

Robert Luketic returned to the director's chair in 2008 with 21. The movie saw him move away from the comedy genre and tackle the crime/thriller for the first time.

The movie was based on the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, who told the true story of an MIT blackjack team. The movie followed six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne made up the exciting cast list.

21 is not quite the fascinating study of the story and the characters that it could have been but it is an entertaining watch. Kevin Spacey could read the phonebook and it be terrific and he is the best thing about this movie.

The movie went on to top the U.S. box office and was a box office hit back in 2008, even if it did fail to win over the critics.

- The Gambler (2015)

At the beginning of 2015, Mark Wahlberg returned to the big screen with The Gambler, which saw him team up with filmmaker Rupert Wyatt. The Gambler was the fourth feature film by the director and his first since the huge success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The movie was a remake of the 1974 film of the same name and saw Wahlberg take on the central role of Jim Bennett.

Literature professor and gambler Jim Bennett's debt causes him to borrow money from his mother and a loan shark. Further complicating his situation is his relationship with one of his students. Will Bennett risk his life for a second chance?

Wahlberg does give a very compelling performance and The Gambler is worth watching for him alone. The Oscar-nominated actor is joined on the cast list by Jessica Lange and Brie Larson.

It is a slick and rather fast-paced film but it will, inevitably, be compared to the original. I found The Gambler to be an entertaining watch that sees Wahlberg on top form.

- Mississippi Grind (2015)

Mississippi Grind is another gambling movie that hit the big screen in 2015 and saw Ryan Reynolds team up with Ben Mendelsohn. The movie also saw Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck in the director's chair for their first film since It's Kind of a Funny Story.

Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry (Mendelsohn) teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis (Reynolds), in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what's been lost.

Mississippi Grind is a terrific character study with two great performances at its core - Mendelsohn and Reynolds are truly on top form.

Both Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds are great in the roles of gamblers Gerry and Curtis and they make one hell of a fantastic film partnership. There is a genuine chemistry and spark between them and go on this great journey together.

Fleck and Boden have created a really gritty movie about a gambling addiction and yet, they have made a very human and relatable tale. The writing is top notch and it is the script and the character development that really carries this film forward. Mississippi Grind was one of the best indie films of 2015 and must see if you are a fan of either of the central actors.

Mississippi Grind is available on DVD and Digital Download 7th March, courtesy of Entertainment One.


by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
find me on and follow me on


Tagged in