Top Ten Vegas Films

Vegas, baby! Vegas!

by | April 23, 2008 | Comments

American cinema worships an array of iconic landscapes: Monument Valley; the streets of New York; Niagara Falls; the car-chase hills of San Francisco; and last, but certainly not least, Las Vegas. Vegas, with its neon haze and endless tales of lost hope and fortune, has provided a gaudy back-drop to many great films. With the upcoming release of the Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy, What Happens in Vegas, RT thought it might be time to brush-up on the Las Vegas canon with our Top Ten Vegas Films.

The Godfather: Part II 1) The Godfather: Part II

In one of the greatest sequels ever made, the story of the Corleone family continues. A chilling moment in this chapter of Coppola‘s saga is the Hyman Roth “There was this kid I grew up with” speech. “That kid’s name was Moe Greene, and the city he invented was Las Vegas”. Rotten Tomatoes has goose bumps just thinking about it!

RT’s favourite review: “The performances, Gordon Willis‘ memorably gloomy camerawork, the stately pace and the sheer scale of the story’s sweep render everything engrossing and so, well, plausible that our ideas of organised crime in America will forever be marked by this movie.” Geoff Andrew, Time Out. More reviews

Leaving Las Vegas 2) Leaving Las Vegas

This is not the most upbeat pick for a Friday night but it will hold you riveted right to the end of the bottle. It has got bright lights, addiction and a hooker with a heart of gold but that is where the Vegas stereotype ends. It is relentless and while many describe it as a cautionary tale, the reality is that it is dark enough to drive you to drink.

RT’s favourite review: “The plot goes nowhere, but under the pornographic circumstances Figgis, Cage, and Shue all do fine jobs.” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader. More reviews.

Casino 3) Casino

Yeah yeah, he did it all before in Goodfellas but no-one does a mobster like Scorsese and this time it is under neon lights. Where better to set a story about the destructive force of greed but in the ‘morality car wash’ that is Vegas?

RT’s favourite review: “People talk and talk about how Vegas works, and Scorsese’s camera sprints to keep up. He’s like an energetic tour guide making sure we understand everything.” Rob Gonsalves, More reviews.

Ocean's Eleven 4) Ocean’s Eleven

It is not often that a re-make outshines an original but the 1960s rat pack vehicle is quite shambolic beside the slick, uber-sexy perv fest that is this little slice of Clooney/Pitt/Damon/Garcia heaven. It is fun, serviceable eye candy.

RT’s favourite review: “One expertly made piece of pure, unpretentious popcorn entertainment.” Michael T. Grace, Film Threat. More reviews.

Viva Las Vegas 5) Viva Las Vegas

Elvis WAS Vegas. Combining the two was an act of cinematic genius.

RT’s favourite review: “Hallucinatory but fabulously entertaining.” Nell Minow, Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies. More reviews.

The Cooler 6) The Cooler

In the true tradition of the Vegas genre, The Cooler is about luck and who has it and who is so far out of it that it takes some serious work to be that down. William H. Macy carries his hang-dog expression to great effect as a man running away from lady luck.

RT’s favourite review: “A curious mix of thug violence, romance, and whimsy.” Steve Crum, Kansas City Kansan. More reviews.

Swingers 7) Swingers

Before Jon Favreau went all blockbuster with the likes of Iron Man, he was making cool, independent films that made us all want to grab a martini, say cool things and hit Vegas with our equally cool friends. In retrospect it may have been a little too cool for its own good but it sure gave good vernacular.

RT’s favourite review: “The first and best outing from Favreau and Vaughn. Trendy, but hilarious. VEGAS, BABY – VEGAS!” Brian Mckay, More reviews.

Diamonds Are Forever 8) Diamonds Are Forever

Don’t try to keep up, just enjoy the smooth sophistication of Connery, the greatest of the Bonds. Debonair in the face of ludicrous surroundings, this Bond movie may be the perfect Vegas metaphor.

RT’s favourite review: “30 years later, Connery is STILL Bond!” Michael A. Smith, Nolan’s Pop Culture Review. More reviews.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 9) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

This is not everyone’s cup of tea with a peyote chaser. Depp‘s performance is not unlike sitting in a centrefuge at a heavy metal concert or, for that matter, going on a drug binge in Las Vegas with Hunter S. Thompson. It may be teeth clenchingly frenetic but so was the original book by Thompson, and this is a gripping adaptation of both the book and the man.

RT’s favourite review: “About as enjoyable as a bad trip.” Dennis Schwartz, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews. More reviews.

Showgirls 10) Showgirls

Smut, nudity and some of the bitchiest slanging-matches to hit the screen. There is no question that this is a truly dreadful film, but dreadful films can bring so much pleasure. Best watched in a pack.

RT’s favourite review: “Tasteless, tawdry, and guaranteed to leave you rolling in the aisles… the best bad filmmaking Hollywood has to offer.” Michael Dequina, Mr Brown’s Movies. More reviews.

What Happens in Vegas opens in Australian cinemas on May 8 and US and UK cinemas on May 9.

Tag Cloud

spanish language richard e. Grant 2015 cancelled TV series USA Network dceu SDCC zombies dark YouTube Premium police drama critics TNT crime drama franchise Bravo BBC America IFC cinemax Crackle robots cars Red Carpet hist Avengers binge The CW adaptation BBC best all-time sequel IFC Films Apple HBO Max cancelled television 2019 disaster Sundance TV batman free movies harry potter science fiction Disney+ Disney Plus mockumentary Baby Yoda Hallmark E! Sony Pictures crime Sundance Now Podcast crime thriller Nominations Elton John Emmys werewolf Polls and Games First Reviews Lucasfilm Heroines true crime dragons Cartoon Network Logo Film Festival canceled TV shows latino kids Interview movies MSNBC space spain MCU Winter TV cults VICE Mystery aliens Best and Worst LGBTQ ABC war boxoffice foreign Calendar Black Mirror chucky Writers Guild of America stand-up comedy casting Thanksgiving Esquire Mindy Kaling Fall TV Film Comic Book Superheroe comics Peacock Pride Month Tumblr DC Comics jamie lee curtis cancelled Biopics TCA Hulu award winner politics The Purge Rocky christmas movies Mary poppins TCA Winter 2020 SundanceTV DGA based on movie Amazon Prime Character Guide Mary Poppins Returns Fantasy medical drama Dark Horse Comics Tubi Song of Ice and Fire sitcom Ghostbusters comiccon Lifetime Chilling Adventures of Sabrina CBS stoner Showtime TV renewals sports National Geographic Mary Tyler Moore tv talk green book YouTube Red elevated horror Columbia Pictures Super Bowl indie Martial Arts CMT TLC ABC Family Photos book LGBT DC streaming service reboot Election OWN renewed TV shows 20th Century Fox zero dark thirty screen actors guild toy story Oscars Black History Month Travel Channel Pet Sematary X-Men TBS PBS Marvel Studios slashers Tomatazos Sneak Peek Infographic Turner Classic Movies Chernobyl FX on Hulu political drama what to watch Amazon dramedy Horror Endgame Creative Arts Emmys ratings Apple TV+ Certified Fresh Spectrum Originals President Star Trek Year in Review SXSW Awards teaser historical drama technology movie versus doctor who witnail Acorn TV Reality Competition First Look Cosplay OneApp facebook comedies cats theme song Teen 2018 Rock Freeform Hallmark Christmas movies crossover The Walking Dead Action hispanic halloween Marvel Television Rom-Com Lifetime Christmas movies Funimation 2016 APB Mudbound San Diego Comic-Con anime ITV Netflix Christmas movies Netflix Crunchyroll Box Office FX Countdown YA romantic comedy Christmas comic Britbox 2020 Warner Bros. Comics on TV Sci-Fi CNN nature Spike natural history GLAAD psycho TruTV Sundance independent Rocketman BET CBS All Access universal monsters cartoon Television Academy Nickelodeon name the review spinoff DC Universe VH1 Ellie Kemper Family Binge Guide Kids & Family Tarantino Classic Film Grammys Video Games Cannes streaming singing competition animated cancelled TV shows Academy Awards series El Rey cops transformers discovery social media Nat Geo Universal 24 frames RT History Stephen King AMC Disney streaming service festivals Opinion CW Seed mutant vampires Toys reviews concert justice league scary movies cooking miniseries Spring TV quibi 007 TCM E3 TV PaleyFest Pop TV screenings strong female leads anthology Comedy Central unscripted FOX American Society of Cinematographers Musicals USA GoT Starz adventure NBC WarnerMedia Paramount A24 Arrowverse 2017 Anna Paquin dogs psychological thriller Watching Series Masterpiece 21st Century Fox 71st Emmy Awards FXX Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Drama diversity Emmy Nominations Star Wars biography WGN Trivia Animation spider-man 4/20 See It Skip It Holidays Amazon Studios supernatural Food Network game show docudrama MTV video canceled Apple TV Plus The Arrangement Quiz directors TCA 2017 documentary Reality Shondaland joker child's play die hard Country period drama mission: impossible golden globes talk show ESPN composers DirecTV Amazon Prime Video YouTube south america The Witch Valentine's Day Awards Tour Turner Shudder Hear Us Out finale Marvel Comedy Fox News zombie dc Paramount Network Superheroes asian-american Disney Plus Discovery Channel breaking bad children's TV RT21 travel Women's History Month Vudu spy thriller Summer blockbuster serial killer Trailer Music 45 parents HBO blaxploitation Western History TV Land Pirates A&E GIFs game of thrones Ovation Walt Disney Pictures romance TIFF NYCC Pop Adult Swim sag awards Winners Extras Disney Set visit Disney Channel Schedule Captain marvel Epix Pixar Brie Larson a nightmare on elm street thriller Syfy Lionsgate revenge Premiere Dates Musical Trophy Talk criterion Marathons television rotten movies we love New York Comic Con Holiday ghosts