When non-English folks think of Britain, they think of the Royal Family and their long line of Kings and Queens. They think of the notable attributes of Britain such as its historical landmarks Big Ben, the London Eye, and Buckingham Palace and its heritage sites such as Stonehenge and the Roman baths. And of course, they think of one of its favorite pastimes that Brits take very seriously, football/soccer. But did you know that another famous pastime in Britain is gambling?
Research states that in 2018, 54% of the island nation participated in gambling activities including nine percent who enjoy casino games online. Since this pastime continues to thrive, we thought we’d take a look at our favorite gambling movies that take place in Britain.
The 1998 crime drama Croupier takes place in London and it solidified Clive Owen as one of the best actors of his generation. Owen plays Jack Manfred, an aspiring writer, who hasn’t had much success. In order to support himself, he works as a croupier. While there he realizes that life as a croupier would make a great novel. However, he gets drawn into the seedier parts of the casino world and his job begins to take over his life. He even gets involved in a heist which may sound fun but for Jack, it’s anything but.
Snatch is the first of three Guy Ritchie-helmed films on our list. The crime comedy takes place in the criminal underworld of London and stars Jason Statham, Benecio del Toro and Brad Pitt. Much like Pulp Fiction or Magnolia, the film has intertwined plots.
In one plot, there is a diamond heist where an 86-carat diamond is stolen. In the other plot, we see a world of fixed boxing matches, slot machines and sketchy characters. The two worlds collide when a criminal trying to fence the diamond sets a bet on a match.
Jason Statham appears on our list again in this 2005 Guy Ritchie gambling film that also stars Ray Liotta. Ritchie wanted the film to be set in a no-man’s land saying:
“The movie is set in no-man’s land. It’s a kind of transatlantic destination that is really supposed to be illustrative of East meets West somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic. In fact, we shot most of it in London and the Isle of Man, which isn’t quite the middle of the Atlantic but it’s going that way.”
Statham plays Jake Green, a man just released from a seven-year sentence in prison which he spent in solitary confinement. After getting out of prison, he spends two years winning at casino games in order to exact revenge on gangster Dorothy Matcha (Liotta,) who is responsible for Green being sent to prison. However Green finds out he only has three years to live. In addition to that, a hit is placed on his head. His next three days are filled with danger, crime and possibly, atonement.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Our last installment in the Guy Ritchie/Jason Statham partnership is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. In this London heist drama, Eddie loses a huge sum of money in a fixed game of three card brag and is given a week to pay off his debt to an East End crime boss. Eddy and his mates decide to rob a small-time gang to get the money. And, in a different scam, two criminals are trying to steal two expensive antique guns. Wires get crossed and hijincks ensue.
In this strange comedy/horror film, a man named Max, played by Benny Young, wins the ancestral home of Callum Chance, played by Christopher Lee, in a game of Poker. A win that seems awesome for Max turns life-threatening since the stately home is haunted by a homicidal jester who is out for blood.
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