Blackjack in the Movies

The relationship between Hollywood and gambling has always been a close knit one. Casinos seem to pop up in more movies than most actors and casinos are regularly used to film scenes for major tinsel town blockbusters.

Hollywood always looks for out of this world subjects to invigorate its movies. And what better subject than the emotional, tens and exciting world of gambling to make great Hollywood films

Of all gambling variations it seems that Blackjack is one of Hollywood's favorites. Its main attraction is, no doubt, card counting. Over the years, the notion that a casino player can actually use his mind and various mathematical methods, all totally legal, to gain a real advantage over the casino has fascinated film makers. The fact that the casinos are doing their outmost to prevent this, otherwise legitimate, phenomena, has made the subject even more appealing and brought a shower of Blackjack movies and movie scenes to the large, and small screens.

Here are just a few of the most famous Hollywood films that used Blackjack and card counting as the scenery of their plot.

Rain Man

Perhaps the most famous Hollywood film that includes a Blackjack scene. The film, a gentle, sensitive drama, dealing with the relationship between Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman's sibling characters, not only brought the ignorance of autism to light but also showed how misunderstanding someone can often be a major cause of broken down relationships.

The blackjack scene in the movie is based on Hoffman's autistic character's card counting capabilities. Cruises character, discovers these abilities and takes his brother to the Blackjack table in Las Vegas, where they use card counting to beat the House on an amazing winning streak. The scene helped communicate how Tom Cruise's character took advantage of his brother's disorder before realizing there was a close bond between them that was never given a chance to flourish.


The most financially successful blackjack film was based on the book 'Bringing down the House' by Ben Mezrich. The movie tells the true story of a group of MIT students who became professional card counters, thus making hundreds of thousands of dollars in Las Vegas Casinos. As they make more and more money, their greed increases, until they eventually get caught by the casino. The film focuses on the tension involved as they take bigger risks in an attempt to earn more money. The blackjack scenes themselves accentuate how much they have to gain and lose...


The film that made blackjack cool. Clive Owen's character shows off his skills with the cards as he interviews for a job. He starts working as a croupier in a casino and then finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the world of gambling.

License to Kill

James Bond has become synonymous with casinos, gambling and the playboy lifestyle that card game world can offer. In this film Timothy Dalton's Bond cranks up the pressure and enters a game of blackjack for $250,000 at the casino of a drug baron named Franz Sanchez, played by Robert Davi. This film epitomizes how the ambiance of a film can completely shift when the croupier shuffles up and deals.

The Hangover

Zach Galifianakis's character decides to take on the casino after reading a book about blackjack. Instead he falls flat on his face and comically references Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man exploits as his case of defense. This film, like Rain Man, takes the opportunity to highlight how ignorant people can be with regards to blackjack and card counting.