If there is any city in the world that defines the meaning of excess, it is the city of Las Vegas. Not only the city is famous as a spiritual home of gambling but it has also provided some of Hollywood’s most spectacular movie extravaganzas such as The Hangover, Casino, Viva Las Vegas, Ocean’s Eleven, etc. The city’s drag-show narratives are unmatched and this highlights in the city’s entertainment culture rivalling anything Hollywood has to offer.
6 of The Best Las Vegas Themed Movies of All Time
1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
The movie is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s brutal and harsh portrait of the Vega strip, this Terry Gilliam film is both explosive and unpredictable at the same time. Viewed through distorted and psychedelic eyes, this movie features everything from awry sounds to hallucinatory images that are bound to warp your mind. The film portraits Vegas as the city full of mindless gamblers, life’s losers, and hidden thrill-seekers. Once the film ends, you will either want to book a flight straight to the city or you will never want to visit Vegas in your lifetime.
2. Casino (1995)
The movie is mainly shot at the Riviera casino and is a true-life story marketed as a loose sequel to the amazing Goodfellas. The Casino was directed by Martin Scorsese and features Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci at their brutal best. In the movie, Scorsese portraited a corrupt and decadent Vegas of the ’70s and his most poignant shot of the movie is of the old casinos being dynamited and replaced those casinos with Disney-themed toy castles partnering with America’s baroque peasantry.
3. The Hangover (2009)
The Hangover is easily one of the best Vegas-themed movies of all time. It uses a simple comedy plot to create an amazing movie filled with lots of action-adventure and limitless belly laughs. The movie starred Bradley Cooper at his cool and listless best and tells the story of a bachelor party on the pursuit of an adventure before their forthcoming nuptials. On the trip, things did not go according to their plan resulting in a series of hilarious situations, a roaming tiger and an unfortunate brawl with heavyweight boxing legend Mike Tyson.
4. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ocean’s Eleven is undoubtedly one of George Clooney’s best films and is based on a 1960’s original. The movie tells the story of a group of confident tricksters who target a famous casino in the city aiming to break the bank and steal millions of dollars. Add to that a complicated scheme and a romance between Clooney’s character and his ex-wife played by Julia Roberts and the casino owner played by Andy Garcia. The movie also used The Bellagio as one of its locations capturing its beauty and its inherent sense of style.
5. Viva Las Vegas (1964)
Viva Las Vegas features the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley who arrives Vegas to participate in the city’s first Grand Prix but found himself waylaid by Ann-Margret. This 1964 George Sidney directorial is one of Elvis’s memorable movies and probably one of the major reasons why Elvis made Vegas his second home during the final years of his career. Camp and dated by modern standards, the film is made memorable by Elvis’ amazing performance as well as its stunning theme song crooned by Elvis himself. The Strip’s oldest building The Little Church of The West features in the movie’s final scene.
6. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
While movies set in Vegas are usually fun-filled and light-hearted, Leaving Las Vegas starring Nicholas Cage is the opposite of it. This Mike Figgis directed 1995 drama features Nicholas Cage as an alcoholic intent on drinking himself to death comes and had a long-lasting impact on audiences’ minds. The movie takes a Vegas transient with Nicholas Cage and a Vegas lifer, played by Elisabeth Shue and watches them in a steadily widening cycle of alcoholism, rape and total absorption of the Seven Circles of the Vegas Hell. The Nevada Tourist Authority most likely does not like to watch this movie, but it shows Vegas in a way that all other Vegas miss.
There are numerous Hollywood movies shot in Las Vegas throughout the years and the above six are some of the noteworthy among them. Many other movies also capture the heart and soul of the city such as Bugsy, Showgirls, Now You See Me, What Happens in Vegas, etc. Therefore, find some time off from your busy schedule and watch these flicks, they won’t disappoint you.