With the help of CGI, you can make a movie without even leaving the studio. This technology has advanced to the extent that when watching a movie you get the impression that it is all authentic when in fact the whole movie was shot in front of the green screen. Other times, when movie creators want to have greater control of the environment they build an entire set replicating a scene.
However, when directors want to make a more authentic impression on their moviegoers, they opt for the real deal, where and when possible. When it comes to casino movies, the majority of them was actually filmed in existing casinos, mostly in the world-renowned Sin City – Las Vegas, Nevada. The main reason behind this is because the cost of making the whole set is almost the same as using an existing casino space.
Oceans‘ 11 (1960)
This heist film, directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford, was filmed in the Riviera Casino, located on the Strip in Las Vegas. The casino was opened in 1955 and shut down and demolished in 2015 to make room for the Convention Center.
Another film shot at the Riviera Casino was Martin Scorsese’s Casino, a legendary crime film starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. The film was shot at night when the whole casino floor was converted to a soundstage. Dealers and croupiers who worked there were cast to play in the film, and the people sitting at the tables and playing were actual guests of the casino and not extras. Scorsese said how he particularly enjoyed the yelling and the screaming of people winning in the background, and that they were not told to be quiet because all those sounds created an authentic atmosphere and made it on the soundtrack.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The casino scenes in this black comedy road trip starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro were filmed in Stardust Resort and Casino.
Casino Royale (2006)
The casino in the 21st film in the James Bond series, with Daniel Craig as 007, is located in Montenegro, but the filming of the casino scenes was done in the Bahamas, and the Czech Republic– the Atlantis Casino on the Paradise Island served as the interior and the famous Check spa, ‘Lazne I‘ was used as the exterior of the Casino Royale.
This is another heist drama movie filmed in actual casinos, starring Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth, is about MIT students, experts in card-counting, who took millions in winnings from Vegas casinos. The casino scenes were filmed at the Hard Rock Casino, the Planet Hollywood Casino and the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas.
The Hangover (2009)
The majority of this comedy starring Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms was shot at the legendary Caesars Palace, but the famous casino scene was shot, like many others, at the Riviera Casino. This scene is an homage to a casino scene in Rain Man, a 1988 classic, when an autistic savant played by Dustin Hoffman, accompanied by his wheeler-dealer brother (Tom Cruise) walks into a Las Vegas casino and wins big.