10 Best Vegas Movies

Yes, I know… what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas, but that definitely isn’t the case for movies shot in Las Vegas, that’s for sure. (And apparently, Las Vegas is the 17th most shot location in the world… so there are a lot of things leaking out of Vegas, that’s for sure. But it makes sense, what with all the neon lights, the gaudy casinos, the glittery locations. As I was reviewing the most best gambling movies ever made, I started thinking… ‘Sure, Las Vegas and gambling are the perfect pair, but there’s a lot more to Vegas than meets the eye.’

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

There are heist movies, and then there is Ocean’s Eleven. Director Steven Soderbergh went all-in on this remake of the 60’s movie classic. I mean, the casting heist alone with regard to this movie is the real feat involved here. I think the Bellagio Fountain is actually jealous of what is happening here. Sorry, awful. Yes. Anyway – personally, my daughters prefer Ocean’s Eight… but that is to be expected. Regardless, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon??? Come on. This elite group of con artists are on their way to rob one of the biggest casinos in Vegas. If you’r looking for glamour, and cunning, you’ve knocked on the right door.

21 – 2008

21 is another heist movie, but from a different angle. This time its based on a card counting story based on real life. The movie follows a group of MIT students who cheat multiple casinos at blackjack. We’ve all heard of the card counting systems hailed by the super smart MIT students, no? In real life, the MIT students actually operated for thirty years straight, and along the way, made millions doing it. It is unclear if anyone else has been successful attempting this same idea.

The Hangover – 2009

The Hangover is a car crash of a movie. No one will begrudge me this fact. I mean, Mike Tyson warbling out “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins? Wild tigers on the loose in a Vegas hotel room? Zach Galifianakis getting tased for some odd reason or other? But is this the essence of the Las Vegas experience? I wouldn’t know… I’ve never had tigers loosed on my hotel room in Vegas before. Never been tased, in Vegas or otherwise. Who knows?

Rain Man – 1988

Long before Tom Cruise began doing all his own stunts, and began a career doubling as a stunt man… Cruise was already a pretty solid actor. That being said, I’ve always thought that Rain Man was a career defining role for him. I recently watched it with my kids, and they really enjoyed it. Many movies I think should hold up, do anything but. But Rain Man really worked for them. Basically the story is about Charlie and Ray go on a blackjack winning spree, utilizing Ray’s amazing abilities to count cards. I think even the Hangover cast recreated Rain Man’s counting scenes, and heck, you can too. I think you can play baccarat, blackjack, roulette, etc etc. And unlike Ray, you don’t have to be a wunderkind to have fun.

Con Air- 1997

Of all the movies on my list, Con Air is without a doubt my favorite. Nicholas Cage? (Leaving Las Vegas etc.) His mullet alone is worth watching this particular film. What happens in this film – Um. I think Poe is paroled, but as he is leaving the prison (on a plane?) his plane is highjacked by felons going to the supermax. It’s stupid levels of outlandish. None of it makes sense. And it’s why I love it so much.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998

Fear and Loathing has been a slow boil towards cult classic. Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys, Monty Python, etc) took Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro on a mind trip through Las Vegas. They chase the American dream with the help of a metric butt-ton of narcotics. Gilliam literally admitted out loud that he wanted the film to become one of the greatest, and one of the most hated movies ever made. Regardless, definitely a worth while watch.

Casino – 1995

Robert De Niro leads this crime drama as a mob associate sent on a mission to Vegas to watch a casino controlled by the mafia. The weird thing about this movie is that Scorsese said himself there was no plot. Only lots of action. Personally don’t think I’ve ever heard of a better way to advertise a movie. Still, there’s no talking about a movie shot in Vegas without mentioning Casino.

Army of the Dead – 2021

Vegas + zombies? (Some would argue that isn’t much of a stretch.) Zack Snyder’s got you covered. Brace yourself for a non-sensical plot and way too much slow motion madness in this action packed casino heist/horror movie. Not a great film, but for your action fans, it might top this list… who knows.

Viva Las Vegas – 1964

This musical directed by George Sidney was a massive success when it hit the theaters. It’s got romance, memorable dances, catchy songs. It’s definitely just a vehicle for Elvis to just strut his stuff for 90 minutes long.