Quick Guide to 9 Great Card Flicks
By Alex J Coyne © Great Bridge Links
If you love both cards and movies, what’s better than movies about card games? Here are some classics that you should add to your next game night. How many more can you come up with?
Secrets of the Playing Card
If documentaries (and the world of weird) fit your fancy, check out the History Channel’s Decoding the Past: Secrets of the Playing Card. The familiar deck of cards conceals hidden meanings that have links to secret societies and the occult. You can still find it over here on Amazon.com.
Smart Money (1931)
Smart Money fits on this list under good ol’-timey gambling movies. It features Edward G. Robinson as Nick Venizelos, a Greek barber who immigrates to the US and quickly climbs the ladder of the local gambling scene – until, of course, things go horribly wrong and a worthy plot ensues.
Grand Slam (1933)
Another old-timey flick, directed by William Dieterle and starring Loretta Young. In this one, a waiter called Peter Stanislavski gets pulled into the world of bridge. It’s based off a book by B. Russell Herts called Grand Slam: The Rise and Fall of a Bridge Wizard. You can check out the original trailer for the film on YouTube over here.
5 Card Stud (1968)
The topic of 5 Card Stud (starring Dean Martin) is, you guessed it, poker. When participants in a poker game start getting “folded”, a card-player and preacher are forced to investigate the killings.
Rain Man (1988)
A classic of modern cinema starring Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbit and Dustin Hoffman in an unforgettable performance as his estranged brother Raymond. When Charlie finds out about Raymond’s existence after the death of their father, he isn’t entirely sure what to do with him – but upon discovering that the savant Raymond has an uncanny ability to count cards, he takes him to Vegas. The film took four Oscars, and is remembered by everyone who saw it.
21 is based in a little bit of truth: The MIT Blackjack Team was a real thing, and was the place for great minds to exercise their talents in an…er…interesting way: Counting cards, and subsequently taking casino’s for millions in winnings. Their story has inspired several re-tellings, including The Last Casino. Now, several of the members head their own companies: Semyon Dukach, just one of them, went on to found Blackjack Science, a company teaching advanced Blackjack techniques.
Casino Royale (2006)
Starring Daniel Craig as the British super-spy James Bond, Casino Royale follows him through a poker game with deadly stakes. Oddly, Casino Royale was one of the earliest books by Ian Fleming, but one of the later movies in the series…
All In (2006)
I’ll admit to never having seen this one, but if the IMDB rating of 3.7/10 is anything to go back, you might want to skip this number unless you like really bad comedies. According to the description, it features six medical students who get together and try to win the World Series of Poker. Check out the trailer yourself and decide if it’s worth a watch…
High Rollers (2013-?)
While not technically a movie, this South African TV series has been running since 2013 and, now in it’s second season, is a definite worthy mention. It follows the exploits of the King family, and everything that happens within the walls of King’s Casino – deceit, murder and more. Non-South Africans should be able to stream it from SABC 3 (Wednesdays, 7PM, CAT) or check out episodes as they’re uploaded onto YouTube.
About the author: Alex J Coyne is a freelance journalist, author and language practitioner. Sometimes, he’s got an ace up his sleeve and a Joker in his hat. He can be found at his blog. alexcoyneofficial.wordpress.com