The Best Scenes in Casinos in James Bond Movies
With the new James Bond movie Spectre in theatres, this action-packed movie franchise is once again making headlines as fans of the James bond films celebrate the release of the 24th Bond movie. Like the others that came before it, Spectre is bound to impress, wow, and deliver the unique thrill ride that can only come from a 007 film. However, while it is sure to be entertaining, some may wonder if the movie will feature a casino scene, like many of the other bond films that have come before it. Why would this matter? Aside from providing viewers with a glimpse of a luxury setting, some of the best scenes in James Bond movies happen in casinos.
What is the link between James Bond and Casinos?
Although you won’t find Bond at a casino in every movie, casinos are commonly associated with the fictional secret agent, about as much as “shaken, not stirred” dry martinis. The likely reason for this is that Ian Fleming, who created the character and wrote the original series of books, made Chemin-de-fer Bond’s preferred game. Chemin-de-fer is a variation of the casino card game Baccarat, and is also considered to be the original/old fashioned version of the game. While Chemin-de-fer is 007’s preferred card game, in the movies he does engage in other gambling games, such as Texas Hold’em in Casino Royale.
The most famous casino scenes in Bond movies:
Dr. No (1962)
The very first Bond movie introduces the James Bond lifestyle: taking on dangerous missions, loving beautiful women, enjoying a dry martini (shaken, not stirred), relaxing in a hot climate, battling bizarre villains, and playing at the casino. In fact the movie opens up with Bond, played by Sean Connery, in the fictional Le Cercle Casino in London. He is at a card table playing Chemin-de-fer. While at the table, he notices a lady (the first “bond girl,” Sylvia Trench), who has been observing him play. After nonchalantly opening his cigarette case, he gazes into her eyes and introduces himself; delivering arguably the most famous 007 line, “Bond...James Bond.”
This scene was not only defining for the character, but also made Sean Connery’s portrayal of the character tough to beat. Even though the James Bond actor list is long, every actor that has taken on the role since has been compared to Connery’s interpretation of the elite British spy.
The fourth Bond film is the next movie to contain a memorable casino scene. Connery is once again in the title role, but this time he’s in the Bahamas playing at a casino in Nassau. In the scene, he’s engaged in a card game with the villain Emilo Largo. The game quickly transforms into a public battle of wits.
You can see a rare behind the scenes video above. What’s also interesting is that while there are casinos in Nassau, this scene was actually shot at Pinewood Studios in England and not on the island, itself.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
The first movie to feature a new actor, George Lazenby, in the role of the famous spy, also features a casino scene that was filmed in the Casino Estoril in Portugal. In this scene, Bond meets Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo, whom he rescues when she makes a risky wager at the roulette tables.
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
Connery is back again, this time in his sixth and final portrayal of Bond. In this movie, he heads to Las Vegas and hits the craps table at a fictional casino, Whyte House, which is named after the mysterious casino owner, Willard Whyte.
This is the only Bond movie where the character plays craps and he makes the most of it. In addition to seducing the beautiful Plenty O’Toole, he manages to win $65,000.
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
In the ninth movie, Bond (this time portrayed by Roger Moore), heads to a casino in Macau. He follows Andrea Anders, who collects a shipment of golden bullets at the casino. However, Bond doesn’t actually play games in the casino. The scene was shot in Macau, an island famous for its casinos.
It isn’t until several years later that a casino makes another prominent appearance. This time it is the Casino de Monte-Carlo (Monte Carlo Casino) in Monaco. GoldenEye is the seventeenth 007 movie and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent.
During the casino scene, Bond beats the lovely (but deadly) Russian agent, Xenia Onatopp, at a game of baccarat. Unlike previous films, the casino game is actually featured prominently over several minutes. The game is important to the scene, creating suspense and highlighting the tension between the two characters.
Casino Royale (2006)
Based on the name of this Bond film, which is also the first for Daniel Craig in the title role, it should come as no surprise that it is the movie that features the most casino scenes. In fact, the several games of Texas Hold’em that take place in the movie are important to the plot. A good chunk of the film actually takes place in a casino. While the game has several players, it all comes down to Bond playing against the movie’s primary villain, Le Chiffre.
Another interesting fact about this movie is that it is the only movie where the card game can be followed by real players. However, true to typical James Bond fashion, while Bond does take some heavy losses, when all is said and done, he ends up being the big winner.
This film features the most stunning casino scene of all the movies in the franchise. The casino featured in the movie is the Floating Dragon Casino in Macau. Even though Bond (Daniel Craig) does engage in a game of Sic Bo, the real delight is the scenery.
Featuring 300 floating lanterns, super tall dragons, and a fairy-tale setting, the shots of this casino are visually breathtaking and make it one of the most memorable moments in the movie.