Roulette is one of the most popular casino games so it is no surprise that it appears in some of the most classic movies.
Lovers of the game will notice that it is almost always American or European roulette that is played rather than the more obscure versions like 100/1 roulette, where there is more chance to win big, or French roulette, the original version of the game that translates as ‘little wheel’ in French and offers a better chance of winning against the house on account of the La Partage rule.
One thing is for sure: you would struggle to match the drama experienced at a roulette table as showcased in these momentous films.
Diamonds are Forever
James Bond just loves the casino and we get to see the world’s favourite secret agent in roulette action in this 1971 film.
From where we first met Bond in Dr. No to Casino Royale, which is among films to offer a more modern twist on the casino industry, it’s clear that the spy with a licence to kill fancies himself as a bit of a gambler.
Sean Connery plays 007 in Diamonds are Forever, one of the series’ most iconic films, and he gives a typically charismatic performance.
The casino forms a central part of the plot as it is owned by arch enemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Bond goes undercover as diamond smuggler Peter Franks in Las Vegas
Dressed in a white suit, he is seen playing several games at the casino and we get to see his roulette betting strategy in action before the famous craps scene.
Hailed as ‘an undisputed masterpiece’ by Rotten Tomatoes with a 99% rating, Casablanca is an all-time classic.
A high-stakes game of roulette forms one of the most famous scenes from the 1942 movie, played in the nightclub owned by main character Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart.
Set during the Second World War, Blaine discovers his old flame in town with her husband and they bet everything they have on the number 22 to escape German occupation.
The game is set up so that the couple win, enabling them to flee to America in this romantic tale.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Steve Martin and Michael Caine play two con men in this comedy based in the French Riviera as they take on the casinos.
In one of the funniest scenes, Steve Martin’s character Freddy Benson is in a wheelchair as he makes his way to the roulette table in a bid to win over a woman they are both pursuing.
He asks her to choose a number and when he loses and the dealer refuses to accept a war medal for chips, he leaves the table in distress before she chases after him, as Caine collects his winnings.
In this 1993 film, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson play a couple who go to Las Vegas to save their dream home after being hit by a recession.
What ensues is a compelling game of roulette that their future depends on and, although it is a game that can provide a rush like no other when you win, they are not so fortunate as they blow all their money.
A billionaire played by Robert Redford offers them a way out of their mess – but the indecent proposal involves Moore’s character spending the night with him.
Run Lola Run
With her boyfriend’s life at risk, Lola finds a casino in Berlin hoping to win enough money to save him in this 1998 German film.
The whole casino is gripped after she wins once and then puts the winning chips down on the same number 20 again, the tension rising during the long wait for the ball to land in the pocket.
The memorable roulette scene is one of three separate endings to the movie.
A tale of gambling as Elliott Gould and George Segal go in search of a big pay day in this 1974 film.
They go from one casino to another and roulette is among the games they play.
The pair have some lucky moments but it is not all plain sailing as they are accused of colluding during a poker game.
See gambling from a different perspective in this 1998 movie as Clive Owen plays an aspiring writer who turns to life as a croupier to make some money.
As most of the film is based in a casino, the roulette table features regularly throughout.
Owen’s main character Jack Manfred closely observes the highs and lows of the gambling lifestyle but it begins to affect his own life.