Thursday Movie Picks: Gambling

Hello there, and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks, a weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves where you share three movies to fit the theme of the week each Thursday.

This week's topic is gambling. Personally I am not much of a gambler, I like to play it pretty safe if I have to be honest, but gambling movies, I love that stuff. It's impossible not to like them. There are the silly, clichéd but entertaining ones, and those more serious that mostly focuses on the character. Today I've picked both, and here they are

The Gambler (1974)

Axel is a literature professor with a gambling problem. The other problem is that he usually loses so he ends up borrowing money from his girlfriend, his mother and some really bad guys. This is a pretty intense drama/thriller about gambling with a spectacular character study. It shows that despite intelligence, a man can still be victim of something this stupid.

21 (2008)

In order to pay his Harvard tuition, Ben becomes a member of a small group of students trained by a Math teacher to count cards with the only goal to walk out of Las Vegas with millions. Yes, this is the silly, clichéd but entertaining one. It is well paced and it does have a very unpredictable ending - I really didn't see that coming considering how clichéd it was.

Owning Mahowny (2003)

Dan Mahowny is a bank manager and gambles on anything, from horses to sports, to casinos. Where does he take all the money? He creates dummy accounts with the clients money to gamble. Just like The Gambler, this one's also brilliant as well as a detailed and devastating character study. Another well paced, tense thriller that makes you wonder how far the main character will go. With a superb performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman. 

And that's it for this week. 


  1. I also chose 21. Owning Mahowny sounds interesting based on the cast alone, even though I'm not a huge fan of gambling films.

  2. Aw Owning Mahowny, Philip Seymour Hoffman was just so brilliant. I haven't seen any of these but I've heard quite a bit about The Gambler.

  3. I have seen The Gambler so long ago that I can't remember most of it. 21 is quite good actually and, apparently, based on true events. I have not seen the last film but sounds good.

  4. I've only seen the remake of the Gambler and it was forgettable. Haven't heard of your last pick but it sounds interesting.