Comfortable and Furious

80s Movies That Made Gambling Popular

Gambling has existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that it was cool to be a betting man. In the 80s, everyone from Bruce Willis to Tom Cruise were risking their money with every roll of the dice or card dealt.

‍Photo credit Miguel A. Padrinan by Pexels

This list looks at some of the most popular gambling movies released during the 60s and 80s. These movies make for great viewing on a rainy afternoon or any night you’re feeling nostalgic.

The Hustler (1961)

In one of the first movies about gambling and card playing, Paul Newman plays a talented pool hustler named Fast Eddie Felson who travels to New York City to take on all challengers. 

Eddie meets with a veteran hustler called “Minnesota Fats” who introduces him to a young woman named Sarah, whose husband “The Professor” owns a high-end gambling club. Fast Eddie soon falls in love with Sarah while making new gambling friends. 

The Hustler is a classic black-and-white film that shows how gambling has been a way of life for many people for many years. The Hustler is a must-see for any fan of gambling themed movies.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

Ocean’s Eleven is a classic gambling movie that shows how one greedy man can ruin a good thing for everyone.

In this heist movie, a group of elite criminals known as “The Organization” plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos during the annual Navy-Air Force football game. The Organization seeks out a former member named “Cool” to help lead the mission.

Cool used to be a gambler, but he left the business because he had become too greedy and wanted to be able to start a new life with his wife and child. 

When The Organisation approaches Cool, he tells them he doesn’t want to get back into gambling and stealing, but they blackmail him into helping them rob the casinos.

Atlantic City (1980)

This drama-comedy film follows a young woman named Linda who travels to Atlantic City with her sailor husband and his friends to celebrate his return from duty in the Vietnam War. Linda eventually gets tired of her husband’s immature antics and leaves him to travel to other casinos with one of his friends. 

Linda soon becomes addicted to gambling while trying to find the money to repay the casinos for her mounting debts. Atlantic City is a great movie about how gambling can ruin a person’s life and lead to consequences even when they have good intentions. 

Let It Ride (1989)

In this gambling comedy, three friends visit a local horse-racing track and decide to place a large bet on one of the horses. When their horse comes in first place, they decide to double their bet by betting on the same horse in the next race. 

When they win again, they become greedy and decide to bet on the horse one more time, but it comes in last place. They lose all of their winnings and learn the valuable lesson that true winners know when to quit.

Other Films Featuring Gambling

Gambling has made a prolific stance on the movie industry and flourished during the 80s.

The following are some notable movies that feature gambling and games:

First Blood (1982)

This action film stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a war veteran who travels to a small town in Washington State with the hopes of earning enough money to go back home. When the town bullies take Rambo’s money, he decides to take justice into his own hands.

The Money Pit (1986) 

This comedy stars Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as a couple who buy a house in need of repair and soon find themselves in over their heads. 

The Great Escape (1963)

This is a classic Hollywood film set in a German prisoner of war camp. Although gambling is not the central focus, there are a few scenes that feature card games between prisoners. 

In one scene, an American prisoner who is rather unlucky at cards says, “I was born unlucky, I guess.” His friend responds with, “You were born in Texas,” and everyone laughs.


There are numerous ways to view movies, but none are as unique as old VHS tapes of classic 80s gambling movies. Watching movies is fun but partaking in a game of chance takes things to a whole new level. If you want to try an online casino and spin the reels like some of your favorite stars, play fortunes asg and who knows, you might come out on top.