From Las Vegas to Monte Carlo, Hollywood has long has an obsession with the ups and downs of casino life. There are two immediately obvious reasons for this: firstly, casino towns tend to be a ready-made set, with eye-watering visuals that look even better at night.
Secondly, the raw emotions experienced by all gamblers – the vertiginous highs and deep, dark lows –are perfect fodder for drama. It’s difficult to watch a movie like Casino Royale or Ocean’s 11 and not be gripped by the desire to hop on the next plane to Vegas, though most of us can satisfy our need to feel like a movie star by visiting, for example, the live casinos at fortune palace for a spot of online poker or roulette.
Vegas itself is an iconic setting of course, but some of its casinos have become icons in themselves. Caesar’s Palace has been featured in dozens of movies and TV shows, including The Hangover (2009) and Ocean’s 11 (2001). The building itself is certainly iconic, and in real life it’s not only a fantastically popular place to gamble, but also the site of three Michelin-starred restaurants. It also incorporates The Colosseum, a theatre that can hold over 4,000 people. The Colosseum was built specifically for a Celine Dion show, but has also hosted Cher, Bette Midler and – weirdly enough –.
Circus Circus, also on The Strip, is no stranger to the big screen, appearing in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998). Hunter S. Thompson wrote memorably of a substance-fuelled evening of madness at Circus Circus in the original book of the latter. For anyone that’s familiar with the novel it’s perhaps unsurprising that the management refused permission to film the movie inside the casino. The big top at Circus Circus is still the largest in the world, and while the casino has a reputation for being slightly downmarket these days, the rooms were renovated quite recently and, at least as a hotel, it represents pretty good value.
The beautiful Belle Epoque architecture of the Monte Carlo Casino is perhaps as far as you can get from the crazy, dream-like facades of Vegas, and it’s an icon of a different kind for moviegoers. It’s synonymous with the glamorous, high-stakes side of gambling epitomised by James Bond in Casino Royale. However, it was Never Say Never Again (1983) and GoldenEye (1995) in which Bond actually visited Monte Carlo; it was used solely as inspiration for Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. Today the casino is as popular as ever with Europe’s high-rollers. Interestingly, residents of Monaco aren’t allowed in!
(Images courtesy of telegraph.co.uk, Wikipedia (x 2), vegasjacks.com)
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