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Boiler Room

This film owes a credit to Glengarry Glenn Ross and Wall Street, but I actually liked this better. Why? Because it seemed more real to me (the script and acting probably did it) than the other films. I liked the Giovanni Ribisi character, which changes slightly through the film, but eventually we see the real side of him, which is great. Funny, thrilling and cool, this film may not be for the weak at heart, but it is for anyone who can afford the tickets. Ben Affleck appears (in one of his better performances) as Ribisi's showy and pushy boss at the stock place. One of the better films (top 20) of the new year. A+

Rounders 1998

Like I said, John Dahl's cult movie gets me every time, especially John Malkovich as the mad Russian Teddy KGB, who takes Damon's law student for $30,000 in tuition at the poker table. Munching Oreo cookies, splashing the pot with chips (a poker no-no) and speaking with an accent that defies deciphering ("Ho-kay, Meester sum of a beech"), Malkovich soars so far over the top, he's passing Pluto. I love it.

California Split 1974

Even with the legendary Robert Altman in the director's chair, this gem about the compulsion to gamble never found its rightful high place in the Altman canon. George Segal and Elliot Gould are in top form in a film that examines the underside of a winning streak in Reno. The dialogue is pitch perfect. Gould to a casino cashier: “I’d like a thousand dollars’ worth of credit”—short pause—“Tell you what, just give me a roll of nickels.”


Martin Scorsese's 17th film rarely gets any love; many wrongly consider it a lesser sequel to GoodFellas. But there's no better film about the business of gambling. And as Robert De Niro runs his Vegas casino, the audience gets to follow the money with a documentary realism that brings out Scorsese' genius for obsession.

Croupier 1999

Mike Hodges set this low-budget mindbender in a London casino. Clive Owen excels as a wannabe writer who takes a job as a croupier. He's grown up around betting tables and sees his job as a chance to observe people as subjects for his novel. The job appeals to Jack's need for control and emotional distance. He gets to watch the suckers play at life and risk losing. And so do us, with mounting fascination.

The Cooler 2003

Wayne Kramer 's smashing directing debut deserved a lot more attention. William H. Macy is superb as a Vegas gambler with a knack for losing. His casino-manager pal (Alec Baldwin, revelatory in an Oscar nominated role) hires him as a cooler, a "piece of walking Kryptonite" who can jinx a high roller just by sitting next to him. Then love in the person of the glorious Maria Bello enters the picture and his bad luck changes. Or does it?

Spin-offs :

All for the Winner (1990) - Stephen Chow is the Saint of Gamblers in this popular parody of 'God of Gamblers'.

The Top Bet' (1991) - This is a spin-off of 'All for the Winner', with only several characters from the original reprising their role. Stephen Chow did, however, make a cameo appearance in this spin-off. The film stars Anita Mui and Carol Cheng.

Saint of Gamblers' (1996) - A spin-off of the 'All for the Winner' series, with only Ng Man-Tat reprising his role.
God of Gamblers
  • God of Gamblers (1989) - Chow Yun Fat
  • God of Gamblers II (1991) - This film continues where the original 'God of Gamblers' storyline left off. Andy Lau's character teams up with Stephen Chow's character from 'All for the Winner' for this film, but Chow Yun-Fat did not return for this film.
  • God of Gamblers III: Back to Shanghai' (1991) - the sequel to 'God of Gamblers II'. Only several characters from 'God of Gamblers II' returned for this sequel.
  • God of Gamblers Returns' (1994) - Also released under the name 'God of Gamblers 2' (but not 'God of Gamblers II'), this is the 'true' sequel to the original 'God of Gamblers' film, with Chow Yun-Fat back to reprise his role as the God of Gamblers.
  • 'God of Gamblers 3: The Early Stage' (1996) - A prequel of the original 'God of Gamblers', starring Leon Lai as Ko Chun, and Jordan Chan.
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