While there is no real consensus on the true origins of blackjack, most experts agree that the game originated as vingt-et-un (which translates to “21”) in French casinos sometime during the 18th century.
Blackjack remains one of the most popular casino games to this day due to its fast-paced nature and relatively simple gameplay in comparison to some of the more involved casino games. With that being said, it’s unsurprising that the game has been featured in a number of high profile films over the years and so below is a select list of films which have provided us with some of the most memorable blackjack scenes in movie history.
In a casino scene that pays homage to the Dustin Hoffman-led Rainman, 2009’s The Hangover did an excellent job of portraying the serious high stakes nature of blackjack while adding a much needed comedic element to the proceedings. Bradley Cooper plays the role of enthusiastic cheerleader whilst Zach Galifianakis’ character tries to bail the group of friends out of hot water by scoring a big win. Of course, Alan pulls through and scores the group $80,000 which allows them to pay off their debt and rescue their missing friend Doug.
Johnny Got His Gun
Johnny Got His Gun contains a number of blackjack scenes that feel just as compelling as they did back when it was released in 1971. The movie takes a close look at the interaction between players around the blackjack table, which provides an emotive backdrop to some of the most authentic casino dates ever seen in the movie industry. While this movie was released when blackjack was exclusive to brick and mortar casinos, it’s now even possible to play blackjack not just on your PC or smartphone but to do so as part of a live casino setting, which means a direct video link from your device to a casino floor, where a dealer handles playing cards for the player, who bets on the action using an overlay and even chats to the dealer. All this is a world away from the 1971 world of casino gambling, but the gameplay itself remains the same.
License To Kill
Fans of 007 will know that the British secret agent is a baccarat man at heart so the blackjack scene in the 1989 hit movie License To Kill was a nice change of pace. However, a James Bond movie isn’t a James Bond movie without massive amounts of personal pride and money at stake so of course, Bond secures a staggering £250,000 win against the lead villain and various other casino owners in a very stylishly shot high stakes game of blackjack. A little cheesy? Perhaps, but extremely entertaining nonetheless.
Casinos + the Movie Industry = a Winning Combination
The fact that the aforementioned movies all arguably belong in different genres demonstrates just how flexible blackjack and other casino scenes are when incorporated into a film correctly.
Whether a movie attempts to embrace the gritty side of the gambling industry or chooses to highlight the more positive and entertaining aspects of the casino, there are numerous examples of various different approaches working extremely well, and casino scenes continue to excite and exhilarate audiences in equal measure.