Roulette, which is named after the French word meaning ‘little wheel’, has been the most popular casino game since the 19th century. It has cemented this position in the world cinematic universe by its depiction in a number of popular movies centred around the casino theme. The crown-head-like resemblance, the clacking of irresistible suspense and the sense of royalty exuded by the game has won over the hearts of many Hollywood screenwriters in popular movies as evident below.
Diamonds are Forever
The legendary Bond movie released in 1971 has Sean Connery donning the hat of Agent 007 and bingeing on casinos. Among the numerous casino games played by him was the thrilling game of Roulette. Without resisting the allure of the wheel, James Bond steals the show with his big bet on 17, contributing to the atmosphere of excitement and victory in the air.
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
The Frank Oz-directed 1988 movie featuring Martin and Caine packs a good hold over the audience with a riot of comedy sequences. Set in France, the movie shows the actor duo conning casinos in the country to win hundreds of thousands of dollars. In one of the iconic scenes, the actors play Roulette against each other and lure in others to eventually sweep the whole table. Since the 17th century, when Roulette was invented in France, the country depicts the poetic justice of the game in its different forms.
The 1974 movie directed by Robert Altman has completely focused on the world of gambling and its various forms including Poker, Craps and Roulettes. The actors, George Segal and Elliott Gould bond after a false accusation of collusion in one of their Poker games. The duo then wins big pots in all games including Roulette, as a way to redeem themselves. Segal’s character finally gives up on the whole idea and lifestyle to get back to his previous way of life. This manoeuvre surprises Gould who is then prodded by Segal that winning is not everything.
Indecent Proposal depicts a grave crisis at the heart of a Roulette game played by the movie’s main characters. The 1993 movie was sensationalised with its prime question: What will you agree to do for a million dollars? The characters of Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson unthinkably gamble away all their money in a single game of Roulette. With their fortunes slipping, Robert Redford’s character has an unimaginable offer for the couple in exchange for a million dollars, which shows how far things can go in the span of a single mistake.
If all the world’s movies are a cake, then the 1942 movie Casablanca is the icing on the cake. It is critically acclaimed for its brilliant screenplay, which is set against the backdrop of the Second World War. The legendary Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick, is a casino-cafe owner who decides to rig the Roulette wheel in the favour of a newly-wed couple. The line of the movie, “Have you tried 22 tonight?” by Rick to the woman turns the game in the favour of the couple, who are trying to secure exit visas for a safe passage to America from the onslaughts of a corrupt inspector in Nazi Germany. The couple bets twice on the number 22, as advised by Humphrey Bogart, and runs with the money to secure their freedom.
The magical world of Roulettes in casinos is on stark display numerous times in the world of cinema across the world.