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Craps Games in Hollywood Movies

By: Fabian Rictor, Thursday December 30th 2010
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Craps is a visually alluring game. There is a large table with the shooter rolling the dice across it. With all the bettors and the table staff the scene is buzzing with activity. Add to that the expectation of rolling a particular number for a big win and you get the perfect recipe for a movie scene. It is hardly surprising that there are Hollywood movies based on craps gambling.

One of the earliest movies of this genre was Guys and Dolls released in 1955 and starring Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando. It is set in New York in the late 1940s when illegal gambling was rampant. Sinatra runs an illegal craps game and Brando is a high roller. Both have their love interests in this musical. "Luck be a lady tonight" is the song old timers will not forget. In the climax Brando rolls to save a mission run by his girl. Needless to say that he wins, the lovers get married and all is well that ends well.

Though The Big Town was released in 1987, it was set in 1957. Matt Dillon plays J.C. Cullen a small town craps shooter with a talent for winning. He goes to Las Vegas to earn a living as a professional gambler. In a private craps game at the Gem Club owned by George Cole he breaks the bank. Then he falls in love with two women, one of them Cole's wife. Then follow a number of exciting craps scenes between Cullen and Cole, with other members of the cast entering into the intrigue.

Hard Eight is a movie that does not have a focused craps theme, but its title is taken from the game of craps. Hard eight is a craps throw that shows a total of eight with four on each die. The hard eight bet in craps works as follows. The bet wins if the shooter rolls a hard eight before he rolls eight in any other way or before he rolls a seven. There is an excellent craps scene in the movie in which a wager of hard eight is placed and won. The film otherwise deals with a pro gambler teaching his protégé earn survival money in Las Vegas casinos.

Another movie that has an overall casino gambling theme with a short craps sequence is Ocean's Thirteen. This is the third and final movie in the Ocean's series. Elliott Gould is conned by his partner Al Pacino into giving the ownership of a casino. George Clooney, playing Ocean, gathers a team with the objective of taking the casino to the cleaners. One of the mechanisms they employ is cheating at the craps tables. They manage to substitute the casino dice with loaded ones. The loaded dice have a high probability of rolling a total of two, which is also known as snake's eyes. Then they bet heavily on two and clean out the craps tables.

No James Bond movie is complete without a casino scene, but it is usually baccarat that is the preferred game. Diamonds Are Forever makes a departure by using the craps tables instead. Searching for a link to the diamond smuggler Bond goes to a local casino where he meets Plenty O'Toole shooting craps. Plenty frequents this casino with the objective of seducing high rollers and Bond is more than a willing victim.

Hollywood movies have played their part in popularizing craps. Though there are many more movies featuring blackjack and poker, the craps scenes described earlier are unforgettable.

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