Oct 24, 2022
Your trip is booked and the waiting game has begun. Help pass the time with 5 of the best Las Vegas movies available.
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For those who love Las Vegas, there’s nothing more exciting than booking the plane tickets and planning out all the events for your next trip. Whether it’s a short one week away, or a grueling 6 months, the leadup to Las Vegas is nearly as exciting as Las Vegas itself. While nothing is going to speed up the time or truly scratch that Vegas itch, I’ve found the following movies are must-watch entertainment to take the edge off and keep me in the Vegas state of mind.
In no particular order, the 5 best Las Vegas movies to prepare for your next trip are as follows:
Ocean’s Eleven embodies the glitz and class of Vegas better than any other Las Vegas movie on the market. Daniel Ocean, played by George Clooney, is not only a proper gentleman, but he is also well-connected, cunning, and (okay I’ll say it) quite handsome. Just like a lot of us, Mr. Ocean is down on his luck and looking to strike it big in Vegas. He may be looking to do it illegally, but it’s the thought that counts, and I think that’s something we can all relate to.
Ocean’s Eleven features a star-studded cast and intriguing storyline, but it’s a combination of cinematic elements that really capture the Vegas energy. From the music to the plethora of casino and gaming scenes, Ocean’s Eleven is sure to make anyone crave that one-of-a-kind Las Vegas atmosphere.
If Daniel Ocean embodies the individual we all strive to be, then the cast of The Hangover is probably closer to the people most of us actually are. Completely opposite of Ocean’s Eleven, The Hangover is a Las Vegas movie that showcases, though slightly amplified, the hilarious drunken behavior and regretful decisions we are all bound to make during our time in Las Vegas.
With a worldwide gross of over $467 million, The Hangover is not only one of the best Las Vegas movies, but it’s also one of the funniest movies of all time. If you’ve been to Las Vegas in the past, then you can probably relate to at least a couple of the scenes. And if it’s your first time visiting, then The Hangover is a little glimpse of what you might expect.
On a side note… I would love to know how many times the receptionists at Caesars Palace have been asked “Did Caesar Live Here?”
Like it or not, organized crime has played a huge role in creating the Las Vegas we all know and love today. Though we can all agree that we should not celebrate the actions of these individuals, I know I am not alone in wishing I could go back in time to experience a few nights at The Dunes, Sands, Stardust, or Desert Inn in their heyday.
At the time of writing this article, Elon Musk has not yet perfected time travel and the movie Casino is the closest we can get to experience the glamour that was once Las Vegas. Combining the charm of 1960s Las Vegas with a stellar cast and captivating storytelling, Casino is sure to give everyone a better understanding of the personalities and back-alley dealings that built this town.
I’m doing a little research on these movies as I write this, and apparently, I am one of the few people who actually enjoy this movie. But I’m keeping it on the list anyway.
For me, Vegas Vacation is one of the best Las Vegas movies because I can relate so well to all the emotions Clark Griswold endures throughout the movie. From the initial excitement and bewilderment of Las Vegas’ lights and sounds to the burning desire to get back to even, Clark’s Las Vegas experience is one that many visitors have had themselves. Pair Clark’s sadly relatable narrative to Rusty’s elusive winning streak and you’ve got two storylines we can all appreciate. One you’ve likely played through yourself, and another we are all chasing.
“In Boston, I was just Ben Campbell. But in Vegas, I could be anyone I wanted.”
A trip to Las Vegas is all about escaping the mundane reality of real-life and letting go of all your reservations for a short period of time, and 21 is the perfect Las Vegas movie to capture that sentiment. Loosely based on the real-life story of MIT’s infamous card counting team, 21 proves that when you’re in Vegas, anything is possible.
Like Rusty’s run of luck in Vegas Vacation, 21 portrays the Las Vegas experience we all hope to have (At least in the first half of the movie). Shots of big wins at the Blackjack table, VIP suites, bottle service, and limo rides down the strip feed the soul and remind us all exactly why we love this city so much.
Lastly, on a completely unrelated note, my kids recently had me watch the movie Coco, and I have to say it’s one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time. So, go ahead and throw that in your lineup and enjoy a family classic to break up your Vegas movie marathon.
You can’t beat Casino. That’s the the only one I have to watch before going.
How do you not include Fear and Loathing?
It's good to know I'm not alone in my love for Vegas Vacation. I will stop and watch it every time it comes on TV. And Mr PapaGiorgio definitely rides the Vegas train like we all hope to do.