Even if you have never played blackjack in person or online blackjack, there is something so exciting and enticing about watching blackjack played in movies.
Blackjack is interesting because it is fast-paced, involves a heavy helping of skill, and typically has a favourite at the table. Some movies go out of their way to explain the game in advance or as the players’ play. Others play as if the viewer has some idea of what is going on.
Both types of scenes work very well for the viewer, but let’s face it – either way, you are probably going to google and check out of the scene was true to life or the odds for the hand that they played.
Blackjack has been a mainstay of the casino world and the world of movies and TV shows for many years now. And, if we are lucky, they will keep being a feature in new releases.
So if you want to indulge in some of the best blackjack scenes around, here is a movie list that you need to work through asap.
One of the essential things about Rain Man is that it has a rich backstory, which means the viewer knows where we are likely to end up. As things unfold, an unlucky gambler finds out that there is a brother that he never knew about, and that brother, who is autistic and living in a secure care facility, is a wizard with numbers.
As we know from many other movies, you are usually great with cards if you are good with numbers. Dustin Hoffman’s character isn’t just good with numbers – he is exceptional. And although it’s hard to like Tom Cruise’s character, there are moments when his humanity comes through a little more.
Charlie, played by cruise, decides to leverage Raymond (Hoffman) and his incredible recall to play some blackjack. They win hand after hand, and while there are some ups and downs, it is an excellent movie with blackjack at its heart.
Rain Man scores a high 90% audience score and 89% on the Tomatometer.
License to Kill
Other bond movies head to the casino to play poker or baccarat, but in License to Kill, blackjack has us enthralled. True blackjack fans have mixed opinions on the scene because they find it unrealistic, and this is where having less knowledge will allow you to enjoy it more.
Timothy Dalton plays Bond in this one, and this is one of the films where Bond is shown as a gambler – although it has been highlighted in many other ways in other movies.
It is one of the more violent Bond movies, but the blackjack scene delivers some tense moments.
What ups the ante in this scene is that Bond is in the casino of the villain and, at the same time as playing, is flirting and setting his sights on the baddie’s girlfriend. It is a high energy scene, and of course, true to Bond’s style, he leaves with the girl and cash.
Rotten Tomatoes has a 61% audience score and 78% Tomatometer.
If you want to deep dive into blackjack and have a complete explanation, see it in action – and have a true story, then 21 is the pick. A genius professor teaches his brightest students how to count cards, and through rigorous training, they become an unstoppable force.
This movie is a great watch because it is based on the true exploits of a group of MIT students and has to be seen to be believed.
Remember that it follows a familiar up, down, backstabbing and triumph with a few twists thrown in. You won’t be surprised, but it is an excellent watch anyway.
Rotten Tomatoes only offers up 36% on the Tomatometer and 66% audience score – but in terms of blackjack, it’s excellent.
The Hangover is a great movie that shows that blackjack doesn’t always have to be a serious thing, and while there is a lot of humour in the scene, it is excellent nonetheless. A small group of friends head to Vegas, and everything starts going wilder and wilder. Perhaps one of the funniest gangsters becomes someone they owe money to.
The one member of the group you expect the least from turns out to be a wizard at the table and attempts to count cards. He has previously read a book about card counting, so he wants to try and win the money. They aren’t subtle with it.
A short scene but a great one! Rotten Tomatoes has an 84% audience score and a 79% Tomatometer.
If you prefer films that are heavy on cynicism and a bit darker, then this film is one for you. A writer decides that he wants to learn more about gamblers and why they do what they do. What better way to study the matter than by becoming a croupier.
While looking for insight into the human experience, we see more than a little of the human condition. Clive Owen gives an outstanding performance – described as a tough but intelligent film; Croupier offers more than some light entertainment.
Rotten Tomatoes gave this one 95% on the Tomatometer and 79% audience score.
So next time you are looking for excitement, humour, darkness and action – look for a movie with a blackjack scene.