Movies Based on Roulette Or With Roulette Scenes

Tuesday, 22nd August 2017

Roulette is one of the oldest and most famous gambling games in the casino, so it should surprise no one that it’s been featured in multiple films. In some gambling related movies, roulette games are going on in the background. On this page I’ve listed movies where roulette actually plays a significant role in the plot. I’ve also included a section about a new app for Netflix that I love—it’s called “Netflix Roulette.”


13

13 is a 2010 movie about a desperate young man who’s playing Russian roulette in order to win enough money to pay for his father’s medical care. The Russian roulette game in the movie is a staged event for rich spectators, but the stakes are real (at least in the fictional world of the film).

13 is an American remake of a 2005 Georgian-French film, 13 Tzameti.


Casablanca

The roulette scene in Casablanca is probably the most iconic on-screen depiction of the game. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) operates an illegal casino in his café. He has a conversation with a young woman who is considering prostituting herself to the local police commissioner in exchange for being able to get a visa so that she and her husband can move to America. Cryptically, Rick tells the woman that everyone in Casablanca has problems, but maybe hers will work out.

Later Rick sees the young woman’s husband playing roulette, and he asks him if he’s tried the number 22 tonight. He tries it. Rick nods at the croupier, and the young man wins. Rick tells him to leave the bet there, and the young man does so, winning againt. After his third bet on 22, and his third win, the young man is told by Rick to cash it in and don’t come back.

It’s a pivotal scene in the movie, because we see that Rick cares about people, even though his gruff exterior makes him seem cynical in the extreme.


Croupier

Croupier is a 1998 neo-noir starring Clive Owen as a croupier, which is what they call the “dealer” at the roulette table. Jack is an aspiring writer, but he works as a croupier to make ends meet. He slowly becomes enmeshed in the gambling business. He has one friend who’s also a croupier who is cheating the casino. He has a lover who is another croupier.

The movie is critically acclaimed. The roulette action is mostly backdrop for the interesting and complex characters as they live their way through the plot. Croupier is also considered one of the most realistic films about casinos.


Havana

Since Havana is a loose remake of Casablanca, it’s only natural that roulette should be featured in the movie. It’s not a pivotal scene, but it does demonstrate how smart the main character, Jack (Robert Redford) is about gambling in general.

Jack meets a woman gambling at the roulette table, and he tells her to start betting on black or red instead of on individual numbers. She asks him if she’ll be more likely to win by doing that, and he explains, no, you’ll still lose. You’ll just lose more slowly.

This is good advice for roulette players everywhere.


Indecent Proposal

Robert Redford is a major force in movies with roulette, because three of the films on this list include him in a starring role. Everyone knows what Indecent Proposal is about—a billionaire offers a young couple a million dollars in exchange for a night with his wife. The characters in this situation happen to meet at the roulette table.

Indecent Proposal also features an early cameo appearance by Billy Bob Thornton.


Run, Lola, Run

Run, Lola, Run is a German time travel film in which Lola, the main character, has twenty minutes to come up with a huge amount of money in order to save the life of her boyfriend. The movie has three chapters (or “runs”), each of which starts from the same situation. Each of the chapters has a different outcome though.

In the third chapter of the movie, Lola wins two consecutive bets on the roulette table, earning enough money to save her boyfriend’s life.

Run, Lola, Run was nominated for and was awarded multiple cinema awards, including a BAFTA. It’s well worth seeing, but audiences tend to love it or hate it. Few people have mixed feelings about the movie.


The Sting

The Sting is a 1973 vehicle starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman as a couple of con men. The rigged roulette table in The Sting is not just similar to the roulette table in Casablanca—it lands on the same number, black 22.

The Sting won the Best Picture Oscar.


Netflix Roulette

Netflix Roulette isn’t a movie. It’s a new app for Netflix Instant subscribers. It’s supposed to make watching movies more fun by eliminating the decision-making process for you. It randomly selects a movie for you to watch.

You’re able to set certain criteria for the selection, too. If you hate horror movies, you can filter them out. If you like comedies, you can make them preferential. It’s a quirky and silly app, but it’s surprisingly popular. I wouldn’t feel right about writing about roulette and the movies without including a mention of this app.

Almost every gambling movie features roulette in some respect, although it’s usually consigned to window-dressing the background. I tried to list the movies where roulette plays an actual significant role in terms of plot or character development. Roulette is a universal aspect of life, symbolizing the random nature of events in the world around us.