Las Vegas, which is one of the most populated cities in the United States, is Spanish for ‘the Meadows’ even though it hardly resembles a meadow today, it is known all over the world as the hub of the gambling and casino. This is the place where people visit from all over the world to seek fame and fortune. Whenever you see the iconic lights and casinos such as The Venetian, The Bellagio or Caesars Palace you know exactly where you are, and you instantly familiarise yourself with the associations. Even with today’s growth in online casinos and with fantastic software for classic games like online slots and online blackjack, Vegas is still the epicentre. The films below feature all the instantly recognisable facets of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Hangover (2009)
The Hangover is a comedy film starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. This is the first movie in the Hangover trilogy. This story is about four guys, or the ‘wolf pack’ as Alan calls them, who travel to Las Vegas to for Doug’s bachelor party. They drive with Doug’s future father-in-law’s Mercedes to spend the night at Caesar’s Palace.
They celebrate by having a few drinks on the rooftop before painting the town red. The next morning, we see Phil, Stu and Alan waking up to find a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, Stu, who is a dentist, with a missing front tooth and Doug nowhere to be found. The film follows the trio trying to retrace their steps to figure out what happened the night before and get Doug to his wedding on time.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
This film stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro and it is directed by Terry Gilliam and based on Hunter S Thompson’s book. The movie is psychedelic as well as satirical. We follow the journalist and his attorney’s journey to Las Vegas where they are assigned to cover the ‘Mint 400’ motorcycle race. However, the duo has quite the stash of psychoactive drugs which they consume throughout the movie and we see them experience several hallucinations and behave bizarrely as they attempt to complete their assignment in the allusive Sin City.
21 is a drama movie starring Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne and Kate Bosworth. It is inspired by a true story where a group of MIT students along with their maths professor decide to train in card counting for blackjack then head to Las Vegas at weekends to use this skill to win huge sums of money.
Our protagonist, Ben Campbell, who is an exceptional student took some convincing to join the team, however, when he learnt that his dream of studying at Harvard Medical School might not become a reality since he cannot afford the $300,000 tuition, he was determined to play until he saved enough. Ben becomes a natural at the card counting scam, yet the team are not safe when the head of security at the casinos figures out what they are up to.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven is the first movie in the trilogy directed by Steven Soderbergh starring many famous names such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. This heist movie starts with Danny Ocean as he is released from prison travels to meet his partner in crime, Rusty, to propose his heist plan. Danny Ocean wants to simultaneously rob three of the biggest casinos which are the Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand. Danny and Rusty gather a team of criminals each with their own specialities that would help them pull this heist off. A big risk for a big sum of money.
Last Vegas (2013)
This movie stars Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline who are childhood friends from Brooklyn New York and are now in their senior years. A bachelor party is proposed for Bill who is getting married to his 31-year-old girlfriend, Lisa. Where better than Las Vegas as their destination? The four friends stay at Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel and head to where Billy’s wedding will be held which is Aria Resort and Casino. This movie is a humorous opportunity to watch well-known veteran actors having a good time in their old age as well as enjoy the development of their characters’ friendship over the years.
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Diamonds Are Forever is the seventh Bond spy movie starring Sean Connery as 007. This was Sean Connery’s final James Bond role. Bond impersonates a diamond smuggler in order to get access to a smuggling ring which leads him to learn of a plot planned by an old nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. He plans to use the diamonds in order to build a laser weapon. No-one better than James Bond to stop his nemesis from destroying Washington through nuclear weapons. Bond must travel the world, from South Africa, to Amsterdam and to the gambling halls of Las Vegas.
Rat Race (2001)
Rat Race is a comedy movie featuring an ensemble cast that includes Rowan Atkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr, Seth Green, Whoopi Goldberg and John Cleese. A wealthy businessman, Donald Sinclair creates a competition in order to entertain high rollers that visit his Las Vegas casino. The competitors must travel over 500 miles from Las Vegas to New Mexico where the winner would find and keep the $2 million prize in a luggage locker. What’s in it for the high rollers? Making bets on who is likely to win the race from this mixed bunch. With a cast known for leaving their audience in tears and stitches with laughter, they all bump into some trouble during their journey and it is certainly entertaining watching them try to get back on track to their destination.
It’s no wonder Las Vegas has remained a popular destination throughout the years even with the development of online casinos. As the films above show, there are all sorts of interesting characters heading to Sin City either to try their luck, let loose or to experience something new. The characters go on memorable adventures that have surprising twists and turns along the way.