I have started going to casinos about three years ago. Ever since I first set foot in Las Vegas, I became absolutely mesmerized by the casino scene and I engage in one form of gambling or another whenever I get the chance. Not only that, but I am also very interested in how various forms of art have depicted casinos over the years. A very large part of that is constituted by movies. And if you are ever interested in seeing how things were back in the 70s and 80s, there are few movies that can show you that better than Martin Scorsese’s 1995 masterpiece, Casino.
The movie’s depiction of casinos from that age (because it does seem like an entirely different age) is absolutely stunning. Over the decades, Las Vegas has become a truly legendary city, and the movie manages to show part of the reason. In Vegas, you can rise to wealth and power in less than a minute, but you can fall from grace equally fast. The movie’s main protagonists, played by the majestic Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone, take a rather illicit route towards greatness. Their ties to organized crime show how big of a part the mob played in the casino scene, just a few decades ago.
But if they try to disconnect from all the mob and FBI plots, the smart law abiding gamblers will have something to learn from this movie. And that is that Las Vegas is the place where absolutely anyone (of legal gambling age) can become rich and famous. All you need is a bit of luck and the ability to keep your wits about you. De Niro, Pesci and Stone spend the first half of the movie rising to unprecedented and unexpected heights of wealth and, in some cases, power. However, it soon goes to their heads and they manage to contrive ways to self-destruct.
For me, it shows that the glamorous gambling life can get to you when you least expect it. A casino, and especially those in Las Vegas, can overwhelm your senses and make you think that you can never lose. That’s probably one of the things about casinos that has not changed since the 70s and will probably never do so. And with that kind of attitude, it doesn’t take the mob or the FBI (like in the movie) to make sure you will lose everything.
Another thing that I loved about the movie is that it shows just how important casinos have become in the modern world. More often than not, they represent the complete entertainment package. All you have to do is go there and have a good time gambling, and you can get free food and drinks, you can get to see a show and you’re usually surrounded by interesting men and women. As far as the movie is concerned, it is a veritable masterpiece and I think anyone should watch it at least once. It just captures the thrill of the gamble and it’s an awesome window to the past.