The Top 5 Film Soundtracks from Movies Featuring Casinos
Every good movie needs a decent soundtrack; some of the most timeless moments captured in film have been accompanied by a piece of music that will remain indelibly linked to the action on the silver screen.
Movies set in and around casinos are no different, and here are arguably the five best casino movie soundtracks to ever hit theatres:
Casino (Various Artists)
When Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro hook up, the results tend to be incredible, and that was certainly the case with the 1995 release Casino. Scorsese directs as De Niro, playing Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, is hired by mobsters to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas and ensure that rival gangs don’t run the firm out of town. The pint-sized Joe Pesci is De Niro’s right-hand man, while Sharon Stone is the femme fatale wife in a role which earned her an Oscar nomination.
The soundtrack also drew plaudits. It’s a diverse selection, with everything from blues (I’m Your Hoochie Coochie Man, House of the Rising Sun), to classical (Contempt – Theme de Camille) and 1980s pop (Love is the Drug, Go Your Own Way).
Ocean’s Eleven (David Holmes)
A Hollywood crime epic starring some of the biggest names in the acting world was always going to be a Box Office success, and director Steven Soderbergh knew he would need a soundtrack to match his lofty ambitions. Perhaps surprisingly, he turned to David Holmes, a then little-known Irish DJ and producer who was loved by the indie circuit but yet to taste mainstream success.
Nevertheless, Holmes crafted a funky soundtrack that helped to set an opulent tone as Messrs Clooney, Damon, Pitt & co set about robbing a trio of Vegas casinos.
Rounders (Various Artists)
Matt Damon was a box office sensation in the late 1990s, with the likes of Good Will Hunting, Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley confirming his status as a Hollywood heavyweight. Rounders, released in ’98, is not one of his best-loved movies, but it's still an enjoyable romp set in the world of underground, high-stakes poker games.
It went under the radar on release, but the boom in online poker that followed shortly after helped the film to attain cult classic status; not least thanks to typically powerful supporting roles from Edward Norton, John Malkovich and Martin Landau.
The soundtrack is a treat too. Where else would you find the laidback blues of Duke Ellington, the smooth jazz flute of Gene Krupa and the crunching guitar chords of Joan Jett in one place?
Leaving Las Vegas (Various Artists)
Whether you’re a Nicholas Cage fan or not will probably determine your enjoyment of Leaving Las Vegas, but this is surely his finest piece of work – and one for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor. While not set exclusively in a casino, Cage’s character – a suicidal writer who has just been fired from his job – spends plenty of time frequenting the tables after moving to Sin City.
The film is packed with humour and pathos in equal measure, and the soundtrack – penned largely by the movie’s director, Mike Figgis – ticks all of the boxes on that front. There are also exclusive recordings from Sting, Michael McDonald and Don Henley.
Revolver (Nathaniel Méchaly)
When Guy Richie teams up with Jason Statham and Ray Liotta, you can get a good idea of the hijinks that will naturally follow. Statham plays a card shark and trickster who finds himself in trouble after shooting a rival in the foot, and what follows is a confused, post-modern look at masculinity and the male ego. And there’s lots of swearing, naturally.
One bright spot of Revolver is the soundtrack, which was penned almost exclusively by the French composer Nathaniel Méchaly. It’s a fantastic body of work, with shifts in tempo and mood supporting the mind-boggling action perfectly. There’s also music from the legendary Ennio Morricone and Erik Satie.