CASINO + OCEAN’S ELEVEN + VIVA LAS VEGAS + FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS + THE HANGOVER: Five Great Films Set in Las Vegas
Las Vegas was founded as a city back in 1905, yet it was not until that the 1960s that it began its transformation into the entertainment capital of the world. Las Vegas' reputation has naturally led to the city becoming a base for a long list of great movies. In no particular order, we list five of our favourites below.
There’s arguably a no better place to start this list than with Casino, released in 1995 it tells the story of Sam “Ace” Rothstein – played by Robert De Niro – as he runs the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas for the Chicago Mafia. Directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, this crime thriller is set in 1970s Las Vegas, a time that the city was beginning its reputation as a gambling hub. Nowadays, the internet is a fountain of online casinos that provide gambling entertainment to millions of Americans. There is more info available on the best online casinos – and the unique welcome offers and bonuses that each provides – on BonusFinder. But Las Vegas in the 1970s was one of a finite number of locations where Americans were free to gamble and so this film provides an exceptional means of casting an eye back to that time.
First released in 1960 and revamped in 2001, Ocean’s Eleven tells the story of Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra 1960 / George Clooney 2001) as he puts together a team of criminals to rob a string of Las Vegas casinos simultaneously. The 2001 version of Ocean’s Eleven sees shots of multiple real-life locations in Las Vegas and reportedly resulted in a tourism boom. The success of Ocean’s Eleven (2001) spawned a number of sequels – including an all-female lead cast in Ocean’s 8 (2018).
Viva Las Vegas
One of thirty-one feature films starring the late great Elvis Presley – and arguably his best – Viva Las Vegas portrays Elvis as Lucky Jackson, a driver aiming to participate in Las Vegas’s inaugural Grand Prix Race. Featuring a strong set of musical song-and-dance scenes featuring Elvis and his on-screen love interest Ann-Margaret (Rusty Martin), Viva Las Vegas proved a huge success upon its release in 1964, resulting in it becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Adapted from the 1971 Hunter S. Thompson novel of the same name, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was shown on the big screen in 1998. Directed and co-written by former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam, the film tells the story of journalists Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo and their travels through Las Vegas and the Nevada desert. Although the film initially received a fairly modest response, it has since become something of a cult classic amongst film fans.
The Hangover tells the story of friends Phil, Stu, Alan and Doug as they travel to Las Vegas for the latter’s bachelor party. Released in 2009, the film proved a huge success amongst audiences worldwide, holding the title of the second highest-grossing R-rated comedy ever released in the United States. The film features shots of many famous Las Vegas locations and even includes an appearance from Las Vegas resident Mike Tyson. The success subsequently spawned sequels The Hangover Part II (2011), and The Hangover Part III (2013).
Now the 28th-most populous city in the whole of the USA and a renowned tourist destination, Las Vegas has also been the setting for a series of excellent films. If you haven't watched them yet, what are you waiting for?