Vegas is an iconic city, and is particularly popular not only among gamers and sun worshipers, but also with screenwriters, directors and filmmakers. From the lights of the Las Vegas hotels and casinos of the Strip and downtown to views of soaring mountains and the desolate desert, the city never fails to provide a dramatic backdrop to any storyline and cast.
Dark dramas like Leaving Las Vegas to classic movies like Long live Vegas, great heist movies like the different versions of Oceans 11, or comedies that deserve more respect like Fools rush and Honeymoon in Vegas — the movies on this list have something for every movie buff in your household. Fan of mafia movies? Get ready Casino or honorable mention Godfather Part II. Feel like laughing ? Look no further than The hangover. Looking for something to hit you in the feels? Light up Pay it forward.
As a setting, Las Vegas has it all — the glitz and glamor of casinos and shows, the over-the-top luxury of a Las Vegas hotel, the rugged landscape of mountains and deserts, upscale neighborhoods full of mansions juxtaposed with a different class of unlucky neighborhoods full of run-down apartments, a thriving town off the Strip, and the seedy underbelly of the gambling industry.
Before moving on to the list of the best movies shot in Las Vegas, we have a few honorable mentions to review. These three films are all iconic and beloved for various reasons, but they only partially take place in Las Vegas. Swingers stormed 1996 and made Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn famous. The Godfather Part II is a classic film, widely considered better than its predecessor, and not only an influential film in the gangster/mafia genre, but also one of the greatest films of all time. and finally rain man with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman introduced the world to the art of card counting. All of the following are the best movies set in Las Vegas.
ten Indecent Proposal (1993)
In 1993, everyone was talking about what they would do if faced with the kind of proposal from the characters of Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore. Indecent Proposal (and knockoffs of Moore’s iconic ’90s black dress were in every store). If someone offered you a million dollars to spend the night with them, would you do it? Would your partner or spouse be okay with that? That’s the question at the center of this Las Vegas-based film also starring Robert Redford. Never mind that in real life, the rich man offering $1 million probably wouldn’t look like Redford.
9 Long Live Las Vegas (1964)
In 1964, Elvis Presley (still so synonymous with Vegas) and Ann Margaret were two of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Long live Las Vegas was a huge hit and is widely considered one of Presley’s finest films, and audiences fell in love with the chemistry between Elvis and Ann Margaret and their musical numbers. Elvis played Lucky Jackson, who traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the city’s first Grand Prix race. Unfortunately, his car needs a new engine. He runs into further trouble when the hotel’s swim instructor, Rusty Martin (Ann Margaret), pushes him into the pool. Lucky then has to work as a waiter at the hotel to pay the Las Vegas hotel bill, and he enters the hotel’s talent show in hopes of winning the cash prize to fix his engine. Fun fact: Long live Las Vegas is one of Teri Garr’s first films.
8 Pay It Forward (2000)
Pay it forward is the only film on this list that is set in Las Vegas but not in a casino on the Strip or downtown. In the film, seventh grader Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) starts school in Las Vegas. He lives with his alcoholic single mother (Helen Hunt). His teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), is emotionally (and physically) scarred. Trevor launches a goodwill movement known as “pay it forward” that is rapidly changing the lives of struggling adults around him in this poignant motivational film that has in fact inspired many similar movements outside of schools and colleges. businesses.
7 The Hangover (2009)
Comedies set in Las Vegas are generally highly underrated, at least until 2009 when Todd Philips debuted the first of the The hangover franchise. A group of four friends who call themselves The Wolf Pack travel to Las Vegas for one of the bachelor parties, which turns into an epic blackout. After waking up in a ransacked hotel room in Las Vegas, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis play the band to locate the groom (Justin Bartha) who disappeared during their night of debauchery. The hangover is the cinematic expression of the slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, except with Mike Tyson and a tiger.
6 The Cooler (2003)
The cooler stars William H. Macy as Bennie, a professional chiller employed by a casino to end gamblers’ winning streaks. A cooler is a person who, when in a casino, kills people’s luck and kills winning streaks. Maria Bello plays a cocktail waitress named Natalie who falls in love with him, and Alec Baldwin is the casino manager Shelly. It turns out that Bennie is a former gambling addict who works for Shelly to pay off his gambling debts. When Bennie and Natalie fall in love, his luck turns, much to Shelly’s anger. Baldwin and Bello were nominated for a Golden Globe for their phenomenal and melancholic work on this excellent film about gambling.
5 Fools Rush In (1997)
Fools rush is one of the best comedies of all time set in Las Vegas. Matthew Perry plays architect Alex Whitman, a straight WASP who is sent to Las Vegas from New York to oversee the construction of a nightclub. One evening, he meets Isabel Fuentes (Salma Hayek), a sassy Mexican-American photographer. They have a one-night stand and break up. When they meet again three months later, Isabel tells Alex that she is pregnant. As he gets to know her and her family, a fiery Latino clan, he falls in love with her. Their cultural differences as well as the difference in lifestyle compared to his life in New York make up the bulk of the comedy. In a scene that anyone who’s ever suffered a sunburn in the desert town will recognize, Alex’s parents appear on a bright red sunburned escalator.
4 Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, James Caan and a plane full of parachuting Elvis impersonators are just a few reasons Honeymoon in Vegas wins first place for a comedy set in Las Vegas. Cage plays Jack Singer, who swore to his mother on her deathbed that he would never marry. As the film opens, he and his girlfriend Betsy (Parker) have been dating for years, so she wants to get married and start a family. He proposes that they fly to Las Vegas to get married, where Jack gets involved in a high-stakes rigged poker game and loses Betsy. finally putting on an Elvis costume and a parachute to literally fall down and pick up Betsy. One sentence sums up the ridiculous hilarity of this film: “Flying Elvises, Utah Chapter”.
3 Oceans 11 (1960 and 2001)
Whether it’s the 1960 version of Ocean 11 with the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and Peter Lawford) or the 2001 iteration with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts — nonetheless, it’s a pretty perfect movie, star-studded and brimming with great music and energy in both directions. The underlying premise of a group of people robbing a Las Vegas casino is the same in both versions, and the chemistry between the stars is spot on in each.
2 Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Nicolas Cage won the Best Actor Oscar for his role as the suicidal alcoholic screenwriter who travels to Las Vegas to get drunk to death in Leaving Las Vegas. The film is based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by John O’Brien who committed suicide after selling the film rights to his novel. Cage plays Ben Sanderson, a man from Los Angeles who has lost his family and his job; once in Las Vegas, he engages with Sera, a hardened prostitute interpreted to perfection by Elisabeth Shue. The film is dark, with Shue’s character violently raped and expelled, and Cage’s character determined to die, in this emotionally devastating look at alcoholism, depression and loneliness.
1 Casino (1995)
by Martin Scorsese Casino is one of the best films of all time. The film is based on the book Casino: love and honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with the great Scorsese. It revolves around Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) at Casino de Tanger, a gambling expert and handicapper who oversees hotel and casino operations in Las Vegas. Other characters include Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), a “made man”, and Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone), who marries Sam. The film perfectly captures the look and feel (from fashion to interior design to the architecture) of Las Vegas in the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as all the changes the city underwent during that time. It’s an epic love letter and dissection of the iconic “sin city” that is Las Vegas.
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