Breaking the Vault: The Top 10 Casino Heist Movies in Hollywood History

Bianca Grasu

Casino expert

Breaking the Vault: The Top 10 Casino Heist Movies in Hollywood History

The heist movie is among the most exciting genres in Hollywood, and when you add in the glitz of the casino, it’s an even more intoxicating prospect.

Hyper-intelligent thieves, gruff detectives, and glamourous casino settings filled with amazing characters – casino heist movies have it all. We’ve hand-selected the best movies focused on casino heists and provided all the details on why you need to screen each film for your next movie night.

Surveying the Stick-Ups: How We Assessed the Films

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Our list is a truly mixed bag of the best and most influential casino heist movies in history.

To create a diverse list, we considered more than just box office performance and fame. Combining our expert knowledge of casino gaming and our love of cinema, we considered additional factors such as realism, cinematography, acting, and cultural significance.

This means we’ve selected some genuine blockbusters, some classic pieces of cinema history, modern favourites, and a few lesser-known deep cuts.

We’ll also provide crucial details about each film including the director, leading cast, interesting facts, and box office take.

A gun, playing cards and poker chips

So, turn down the house lights and gather your snacks as you prepare to be introduced to some truly magical movie moments in our rundown of the top 10 movies featuring a casino heist.

1. Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

  • Director: Lewis Milestone
  • Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr.
  • Box office (US): $5 million

The film that all other casino heist movies borrow and steal from, Ocean’s Eleven was the original casino heist film and still arguably the very best.

Dean Martin singing “Ain’t that a kick in the head”, Cesar Romero’s uber cool finger snap, that amazing ending – this film is packed full of memorable cinema moments that will live on forever.

Ocean’s 11 seriously propelled the “image” of Las Vegas through cinema and is easily one of the most culturally significant pieces of cinema.

The film centres around a casino robbery of five Las Vegas casinos conducted by two WWII veterans and their comrades.

This was a star-studded film with the main characters played by members of The Rat Pack, a group of popular musicians and entertainers which includes Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop.

2. Croupier (1998)

  • Director: Mike Hodges
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Kate Hardie, Alex Kingston
  • Box office (US): $7 million

One of the most criminally underrated casino heist movies, Croupier still maintains a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was critically acclaimed at release.

Clive Owen is the breakout star, playing an aspiring writer who begrudgingly takes part in a casino heist attempt.

As far as casino movies go, this one is a hidden gem and is arguably responsible for helping catapult Owen to international stardom.

The film is commended for its hyper-realistic depiction of casino processes and the atmosphere of a London underground casino operation.

3. 21 (2008)

  • Director: Robert Luketic
  • Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth
  • Box office (US): $8 million

Based on a true story, this is not your traditional casino robbery.

Rather than conducting an elaborate theft, a bunch of MIT students led by a charismatic professor, become expert card counters, and take as many casinos as they can for millions – just by playing casino games.

Kevin Spacey is utterly brilliant and steals the show from notable stars including Jim Sturgess and Kate Bosworth. This film made card counting cool and certainly toyed with the morality behind it.

It was also a very refreshing take on casino heists in movies, since the “Ocean’s” remakes and subsequent copycat films leaned heavily into elaborate, amongst impossibly complex robberies.

4. Revolver (2005)

  • Director: Guy Ritchie
  • Cast: Jason Statham, Mark Strong, Ray Liotta
  • Box office (US): $6.7 million

It’s a Guy Ritchie film, so you already know it is going to be heavily stylised. This is a relatively unknown film considering the enormity of Ritchie’s filmography.

Statham’s Jake Green is a con man who uses a powerful formula to guarantee victory in any game of chance – where do we sign up, right?!

Most casino heists in movies are performed with an element of revenge, but this one is purely about revenge. The feel is also deeper than most casino heist movies as it is rooted in themes of Buddhist morality and philosophy.

There are two versions of the film, and we recommend the Director’s Cut – Guy Ritchie’s preferred version.

5. The Good Thief (2002)

  • Director: Neil Jordan
  • Cast: Nick Nolte, Tchéky Karyo, Gérard Darmon
  • Box office (US): $5.7 million

Nick Nolte stars as a drug-addicted, retired thief and gambler who attempts to make up for his dire losing streak by robbing a casino in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

This is another one of those casino heist movies that has many of the popular tropes you expect. Gorgeous scenery (the French Riviera), a cat-and-mouse game between police and criminals, and an item of extraordinary value housed within a casino.

The film really explores the complex relationship between law enforcement and thieves, which few casino movies have done quite as well.

Chris Menges won Best Cinematography for The Good Thief at Madridimagen 2002.

6. High Sierra (1941)

  • Director: Raoul Walsh
  • Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ida Lupino
  • Box office (US): $1 million ($22 million – adjusted for 2023 inflation)

A list of top casino heist movies wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Bogie, and this is the film that transformed him into the famed leading man he would become.

At the time, this was considered a “gangster” film and critics such as Bosley Crowther, thought the film made a “perfect epilogue” for the aging genre. It also heavily influenced future crime films for decades to come.

In a film noir style that both Bogart and director Raoul Walsh became known for, Bogart’s character attempts a jewel heist at a resort casino in Sierra Nevada, California.

The film, and its two stars, won National Board of Review awards in 1941.

7. 3,000 Miles to Graceland (2001)

  • Director: Demian Lichtenstein
  • Cast: Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courtney Cox
  • Box office (US): $7 million

Think Reservoir Dogs but you actually witness the heist. Another one of those casino heist movies that lean into many Las Vegas themes, this film tells a classic story – casino heist + partner gets greedy = utter madness.

The film certainly lacks the finesse of an Ocean’s 11 or 21, but there is a compelling gruesomeness to the violent robbery – something that many heists in casino movies often gloss over.

However, you will need to put your film analysis hat on to see the significance of this film since on the surface, it is a rather violent, vulgar attempt at reliving the cinema “cool” of the late 90s that Tarantino had already left in the rear-view mirror.


Why I do declare! Everyone should see this film for Courtney Cox’s woeful attempt at a Southern accent.


8. Reindeer Games (2000)

  • Director: John Frankenheimer
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Charlize Theron, Gary Sinise
  • Box office (US): $32 million

A common trope in casino movies is a former crook or shark that is pressured into another score. Well, Ben Affleck played that role better than most.

Affleck’s Rudy Duncan assumes the identity of his dead cellmate and is forced to participate in a casino robbery.

Filled with double-crosses, twists, and shocks, Reindeer Games plays out much more like a traditional thriller than the tongue-in-cheek heist movies of the time.

Several members of the film’s stunt team received nominations at the World Stunt Awards for their roles.

9. Now You See Me 2 (2016)

  • Director: John M. Chu
  • Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo
  • Box office (US): $9 million

Both Now You See Me and the sequel helped reenergize the theme of casino heists in movies.

The refreshing modern characters attracted a younger audience than the Ocean’s films and certainly opened the door for younger viewers to start exploring precursor casino movies like Ocean’s 11 – the film and its stars notched several Teen Choice Awards nominations.

Like the first film, Now You See Me 2 centres around a team of professional casino illusionists who use their unique skills to commit Robin Hood-style raids.

The film differs from the norm by focusing on Macau, in China, rather than the usual American or European heists.

10. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

  • Director: Steven Soderbergh
  • Cast: Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Al Pacino
  • Box office (US): $7 million

The final film in the trilogy of “Ocean’s” remakes of the original 1960 film. This casino robbery was much more of a Robin Hood story than showed the criminals as “honourable thieves” stealing from a dishonest man, rather than stealing for the thrill of it.

It was also one of the last outings of the late and very great Bernie Mac.

Just like the previous two films, Soderbergh maintains the same alternative film and audio techniques, and the ensemble cast is a mile-long, exclusively featuring top-tier stars.

While just as elaborate as the series’ previous heists, the film does add a unique twist where an element of the casino robbery features rigged machines that pay out all the casino’s players.

In Conclusion: From the Big Screen to Big Wins

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We hope you’ve found some inspiration from our list the best casino heist movies for that perfect movie night. Alternatively, if you’re hankering for something a little more interactive, we’ve got all the tools and ideas you need to plan the perfect casino-themed party.

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