Where Were Famous Casino Movies Filmed?

Have you ever wondered where your favorite casino movies were filmed? Let's take a look.

Pop Culture

Who doesn’t love some good casino movies? If you can’t make it to the casino or don’t have the funds to play online, the next best thing is cozying into the couch and living vicariously through the lives of hotshot gamblers. But, while watching these classic flicks, have you ever wondered where they were filmed?

We certainly did — so we’re digging into where famous casino movies were filmed. While some casino movies were filmed exactly where they take place on-screen, others created lookalike casinos in hotel ballrooms and soundstages. Let’s take a look at where some of the most iconic casino films were made.

Casino Royale (2006)

Daniel Craig’s debut as James Bond took 007 across the world from Madagascar to Miami, but filming took place in Europe and The Bahamas.

The Montenegro scenes were shot in the Czech Republic. The titular Casino Royale is the exterior of the Kaiserbad Spa in Karlovy Vary. Built in the 19th century, the building was originally a bathhouse inspired by renaissance and baroque architecture. In the 1980s it briefly became a casino but closed in 1994. Two years after Casino Royale’s release, the building became government property and is now a prominent tourist attraction.

Grandhotel Pupp inside

Hotel Splendid, where Casino Royale was filmed.

Hotel Splendide, the luxury hotel Bond stays at in the film, is the Grandhotel Pupp, which is right across the street from the Kaiserbad. The building is over 300 years old and was originally built as the Saxony Hall in 1701.

There is a real Hotel Splendid in Montenegro, although it isn’t associated with the Bond franchise in any way. The Hotel Splendid Conference & Spa Resort opened in July 2006, and in 2010 the Splendid Casino Royale opened on the 10th floor of the resort.

Fun Fact: Casino Royale was the first Bond movie to be released in China. Due to the country’s strict movie censorship laws,  none of the previous 20 Bond films had ever made it past the screening process. A couple of lines and scenes were changed or removed prior to release, but nonetheless, China was finally able to meet 007.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

The first film in the Ocean’s franchise is a remake of a 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name. With a star-studded cast and a witty plot, the film was a huge success. Ocean’s Eleven follows Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) as they plan a $150 million heist from the guy Danny’s ex-wife is shacked up with, Terry Benedict, who also happens to be the owner of the Bellagio, a luxury hotel and casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Thanks to a friendship between the Bellagio’s then-owner Kirk Kerkorian and Ocean’s producer Jerry Weintraub, the production had 24-hour access to the property for filming. They were able to make use of the casino and the Bellagio’s other stunning features like the Conservatory, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, and botanical gardens. Filming right in the heart of Vegas, they were also able to take advantage of the Las Vegas Strip’s iconic aerial views for some stellar B-roll footage, making the film especially pleasing to the eye. 

Outside of the main filming locations in Nevada, other filming spots included New Jersey, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Burbank.

Lit-up fountains at night in front of the Bellagio

The Bellagio’s iconic fountains at night.

Coupier (1998)

The iconic neo-noir film follows Jack Manfred (Clive Owen), an aspiring writer, as he takes on a job as a croupier to make ends meet. He ultimately plays a role in a robbery organized by a man on the inside and watches his relationships change as he becomes more and more obsessed with his job and the casino world. 

Croupier was mainly filmed in the United Kingdom, with some other scenes being filmed in South Africa and Germany. The casino Jack gets a job at is the Golden Lion Casino, which doesn’t exist. Rather than being filmed in an existing casino, Golden Lion Casino was built and filmed on a film set in Germany, the now-closed Infostudios. 

Casino (1995)

Directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, Casino follows Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a Chicago Mafia associate, as he is assigned to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. The film was inspired by real people, nameably Frank Rosenthal a.k.a. “Lefty”, a mafia associate who ran the Stardust, Fremont, Marina, and Hacienda casinos in Vegas from the early 70s until 1981, and Anthony Spilotro a.k.a. “Tony the Ant”, a mob enforcer. The Tangiers Casino was based on the history of the Stardust Casino that Rosenthal ran — although it’s important to note that casinos aren’t currently run by the mob, (that we know of). 

The entrance of the fictional Tangiers Casino was filmed at the Landmark Hotel and Casino, which had been closed since 1990. Later in the year once filming was complete, the hotel was demolished and turned into a parking lot. 

The Landmark hotel and casino

The Landmark Hotel circa 1963.

All other casino scenes were filmed inside the Riviera Hotel and Casino at night — except for the counting room scenes since only casino staff was allowed in the counting room. The Riviera was a popular filming location before its demolition in 2016 and was featured in 17 films, including Ocean’s 11 (1960), Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, The Hangover, and Jason Bourne.

Fun Fact: In order to maintain authenticity, Scorsese hired real dealers and pit bosses to appear in the film, rather than hiring extras and teaching them how to perform different casino duties.

Heist (2015)

De Niro returns, this time as the big boss man, Francis “The Pope” Silva. Luke Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) works at The Pope’s casino, and one day asks for a loan to pay for his sick daughter’s surgery. When The Pope refuses and fires Luke, he retaliates by assisting a security guard in a $3 million casino heist.

Filming was supposed to take place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but ended up being filmed in Mobile, Alabama, taking full advantage of Mobile’s historic downtown area and beautiful riverfront. The fictional 1940’s themed casino from the film, The Swan Casino, was filmed at The Battle House Hotel. It’s one of Alabama’s most luxurious hotels and has been in operation since 1852.

Fun Fact: The film was originally titled Bus 757, after the number of the bus that is hijacked in the film. It was later changed to Bus 657 before ultimately becoming Heist. 

The Hangover (2009)

Caesar's Palace at night

Caesar’s Palace at night.

The Hangover tells the story of either the worst or the best bachelor party ever, depending on your bachelor party standards. It follows Doug (Justin Vartha), Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), and Alan (Zach Galifianakis) as they travel to Vegas for Doug’s bachelor party at Caesar’s Palace. The next morning, they wake up to find a stolen cop car, a shockingly large strip club bill, $80,000 in casino chips, and no sign of Doug anywhere. Hilarity ensues. Oh, and professional poker player Sasha Barrese plays Doug’s wife-t0-be.

The movie is (loosely) based on the true story of a bachelor party that executive producer Chris Bender attended. Bender’s friend, the bachelor, went missing from his own party, blacked out, and woke up in a strip club with a large bill in his name. The script was re-written to include a stolen tiger, a baby in the closet, and other ridiculous situations that we’re 99% sure didn’t happen at the casino, and The Hangover was born.

The film was largely shot on location at Caesars Palace. The suite that gets trashed was built inside the Warner Bros studio. Other scenes take place around the Las Vegas Strip and in Los Angeles.

Fun Fact: Atomic Liquors, the bar that Phil, Stu, and Alan run into Mr. Chow at, can also be seen in Casino. It is the oldest free-standing bar in Vegas, opened in 1952.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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