Gambling in the Movies

The Centre’s blog series “Gambling in the Movies” reviews the media’s portrayal of gambling, the relationship between gambling and addiction, and the extent to which these films provide any true insights into the psychology of the gambler. Recommend your favourite gambling film at gamblingresearch@psych.ubc.ca.

Gambling in the Movies: Mississippi Grind
“Gerry, it don’t get any better than this.” One of the reviews for our latest choice for Gambling in the Movies, from Melbourne radio station 3AW, said that “all good films about gambling are, in essence, anti-gambling films.” Based on the diverse collection of films we’ve reviewed until now in this series, I’m inclined to […]

Gambling in the Movies #6: The Gambler (1974)
After a short hiatus, the CGR film series is back with an old-school classic. The Gambler has been recently remade featuring Mark Wahlberg, but we wanted to take on the 1974 original, written by James Toback (a problem gambler) and starring James Caan (who at the time was struggling with cocaine use). As a couple […]

Gambling in the Movies #5: Two for the Money
The latest film in our gambling series focusses on the world of sports betting, with the Pacino / McConaughey blockbuster “Two for the Money”. McConaughey is the lead as Brandon Lang, a football player who is forced to take a job at a call centre after a career-ending knee injury. He’s quickly given an assignment […]

Gambling in the Movies #4: Owning Mahowny
“I don’t have a gambling problem. I have a financial problem.” The fourth movie in our Gambling in the Movies series was Owning Mahowny. The film was released in 2003 and was one of the first lead roles for the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing Dan Mahowny. Set in the 1980s, the film recreates the […]

Gambling in the Movies #3: Rounders
In thinking about film choices for this series, we’ve been struck that there are many films set in or around gambling establishments, but many of these films are not really about gambling. The Hangover has been suggested a couple of times –a film that has a few interesting things to say about the psychology of […]

Kung Fu Mahjong
The second movie we watched in the CGR film series was a Cantonese comedy, Kung Fu Mahjong. When I was asked to choose a gambling movie, several Mahjong movies came to my mind, largely due to the influence that the game has in the culture I grew up in. I settled for Kung Fu Mahjong […]

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“Gambling in the Movies” is a new blog series at the CGR in which we will revisit some essential gambling movies, and discuss their portrayal of gambling, gamblers and games of chance. If any readers have recommendations for films, then please let us know! Having been given the first choice of gambling flicks, I chose the […]

Gambling in the movies…
Over the next few months, CGR are going to revisit some classic gambling films. We’ll look at how the media portrayal of gambling has changed over time, the relationship between gambling and addiction, and the extent to which these films provide any true insights into the psychology of the gambler. And yes, it’s also a […]