We all love a good gambling or casino movie – there’s nothing like the glitz and glamour of a high-stakes Hollywood thrill ride. Gambling movies are, by their very nature, full to the brim with opulence, extravagance, and glorified violence and drug use and distribution. And beautiful women, that almost goes without saying.
From classic femme fatales to edgier modern movie stars, we’ve put together a list of some of the strongest, sexiest, smartest and most elegant and glamorous women raking in the chips in movies about gambling and casinos.
1. Jodie Foster in as Annabelle Bransford in “Maverick” (1994)
Jodie Foster was already an established name when she won hearts and minds playing the con-woman Annabelle Bransford. A comedy set in the Old West based on a 1950s television series of the same name, Foster starred alongside Mel Gibson and James Garner.
The movie is full of heists, shootouts, and rollicking good Wild West action as it follows Mel Gibson’s the titular character. A con artist, the film follows his attempts to collect, by any means necessary, enough funds to enter (and, by cheating, win) a high stakes poker game on a riverboat casino.
He is joined by his sometime heist partner Annabelle Bransford, and later on by the lawman Zane Cooper (Garner), as they team up to foil the machinations of a mob boss played by the inimitable Alfred Molina. Foster’s character was described by many critics as unlikable at the time, but contemporary audiences will enjoy her strength and sass.
2. Sharon Stone as Ginger McKenna in “Casino” (1995)
One of Martin Scorsese’s great movies, Casino follows a professional gambler played by Robert de Niro as he navigates the Las Vegas criminal underworld, when he is hired by a mafia outfit to run one of the biggest casinos on the Strip (that’s the Las Vegas Strip to those not in the know). Tensions between himself and the mob on the running of the casino, gradually increase throughout the film and simmer all the way to an explosive conclusion.
Sharon Stone’s character, Ginger, is a streetwise poker chip hustler also trying to find her way in the fabulous but shady city, and the two characters end up marrying. Their relationship adds a level of human drama to the otherwise crime-ridden storyline. Stone brings her typical charisma and sensuality to the role, for which she received a Golden Globe award and an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.
Based on the memoirs of a real gangster, the film also stars Joe Pesci, James Woods and Don Rickles, and raked in acclaim and accolades beyond count when it made its silver screen debut.
3. Julia Roberts as Tess Ocean in “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
Julia Roberts was a comedy it-girl of the late 90s and early 2000s, and her on-screen chemistry with George Clooney positively sizzles. While this is not technically a film about gambling, it is about a casino, and boasts a winning all-star cast that also includes Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Andy Garcia and Don Cheadle.
Roberts’ character is not initially a hustler, in fact she is successful businesswoman who owned an art gallery, as well as the ex-wife of Clooney’s Danny Ocean. Although initially reluctant to get involved in Danny’s heist, she ultimately became an integral part of the team’s plan to steal millions of dollars from three major Las Vegas casinos simultaneously in order to target their amoral owner (Garcia’s character).
Tess also impersonated a fictional character named “Julia Roberts” to help the team carry out their plan. This role is one in which Roberts gets to show the full extent of her comedic skills, and her relatively small role ‘steals’ the show in absolutely every scene in which she features.
4. Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in “Casino Royale” (2006)
One of many famous thespians to earn the title, Eva Green is a Bond girl of note. Daniel Craig stars as the man with the license to kill, rebooting the franchise to the very start of his illustrious espionage career.
Based on an Ian Fleming novel of the same name, the movie follows Bond on the trail of a shadowy financier (played by Mads Mikkelsen) who sponsors global terrorists. On the orders of M (now played with utter aplomb and savagery by Dame Judy Dench), Bond tracks the elusive man to a luxury Montenegro casino.
There he must win a high stakes poker tournament against international gangsters and expert players to meet financier. Green plays a British Treasury agent assigned to oversee and authorize the funds that Bond needs for the game and she plays the role with grace and dry wit.
Bond initially distrusts her, and the feeling is strongly mutual, but they later develop a romantic relationship, which ended tragically when it was revealed that Vesper had been working with the film’s villain to deliver the poker winnings to him in exchange for Bond’s life, unbeknownst to our hero.
Vesper ultimately sacrificed herself to save Bond, leading to his emotional detachment from future romantic relationships.
5. Kate Bosworth as Jill Taylor in “21” (2008)
Jill was a member of a group of whip-smart MIT students recruited by their amoral math professor, who is played utterly on-brand by Kevin Spacey before his fall. Knowing that they are all desperate to earn enough money to pay their tuition at the prestigious school, he trains them to use their card counting skills to win large sums of money in Las Vegas casinos. Something that wouldn’t work at Grand Eagle and other trusted and reputable online casinos!
Shockingly, this takes a turn for the worse when the group attracts the attention of shady casino owners as well as law enforcement. Aside from being the token female and love interest of the main character, Ben Campbell (played by Jim Sturgess), Jill was also a talented card counter in her own right.
However, their relationship became strained as the pressure of their secret gambling activities took a toll. Jill ultimately left the group and ended her relationship with Ben.