Everyone who goes to the movies will have seen at least one featuring a casino scene, but more often than not, movies tend to feature people playing the likes of roulette or poker at the casino, rather than blackjack. In the real world online blackjack is one of the most exciting and popular of casino table games, but few filmmakers seem to have picked up on that. There have been a few great movie scenes featuring blackjack though, with these three perhaps being the best.
This 1988 film is probably the single most famous example of a blackjack movie scene, and it also defined the way in which blackjack is usually featured in movies – i.e. card counting. Here Charlie (Tom Cruise) takes his autistic brother Raymond to play blackjack at casinos in Vegas, so that he can capitalise on the latter’s genius maths ability by getting him to count the cards. The scene is one of the quirkiest uses of a casino in a movie, as well as being vital in establishing the character traits of both brothers.
Another card counting blackjack movie, this drama from 2008, focuses on the true life story of the MIT Blackjack Team, a group of whizzkid maths geniuses from MIT who make a fortune counting the cards in Vegas – led by their charismatic teacher (played by Kevin Spacey). The film is a morality tale about allowing your talents to be used for the wrong reasons, but before all that, there are plenty of entertaining scenes at the blackjack tables.
Licence to Kill
Bond movies always feature casino scenes, but they don’t usually involve blackjack. Classic era Bond had a preference for baccarat (and occasionally roulette), while the new Bond favours Texas Hold’em poker. However in the 1989 Timothy Dalton movie Licence to Kill, Bond gives blackjack a shot and ends up winning £250,000 at the casino owned by bad guy drug kingpin Franz Sanchez.