Filmmakers flock to Nevada because it has a lot going for it that can become a great backdrop for a Hollywood production. In addition to the vibrant nightlife of Las Vegas, there are the iconic casinos and hotels as well as movie-friendly permitting which can make a big difference to any movie budget. It may also be why so many top-grossing films over the years have been set in Vegas. There truly is something special about a city that never sleeps.

Here is a look at some of the best movies filmed in Las Vegas.

1 – Viva Las Vegas

Any film with Las Vegas in the name can’t be ignored and when that film included the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, you know you have a hit on your hands. Elvis was very familiar with the Vegas Strip having been the headliner at the Hilton for most of the 1970s. The movie, which was released well over 50 years ago has very different views of the city, which has since become congested and busy. However, you probably have been humming the song of the same name as the movie since you started reading this and that’s okay. It was a huge hit for Elvis and continues to get a fair deal of airplay.

2 – Ocean’s 11

The Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel plays the main character in this 2001 remake that stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon. Not only were the stunning outdoor water fountains featured, but the Bellagio entrance, Botanic Gardens, and Picasso Restaurant all also make notable appearances as part of the movie. Sadly, the classic scene featuring Julia Roberts on the Grand Staircase of the Bellagio has since been removed from the film. Other iconic Vegas landmarks that appear in Ocean’s 11 include The Sundance Helicopters office and the MGM Grand Garden Arena. According to the Nevada Film Commission, the cast and crew had unprecedented access to the Bellagio and even stayed there during filming.

3 – Rocky

In 2006’s Rocky Balboa movie, the fight scenes against Rocky and Mason Dixon was filmed in the sports arena at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It was filmed the evening following an actual fight at the very same venue. Although there were many ‘stand-ins’ to fill the crowd in the movie, apparently several inflatable dummies were used to create the illusion of sold-out fight night. Had the movie been filmed a decade later, CGI would have resulted in real looking extras as opposed to ones filled with just hot air. The exhibition fight between Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago was filmed at the former MGM Grand Hotel, which is now Bally’s.

4 – Casino

It only makes sense that a city that operates primarily on gambling and entertainment would eventually have a feature movie filmed on-site called ‘Casino.’ This 1995 release featured Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. It went on to become an award-winning classic under the direction of Martin Scorsese. What made this an iconic Las Vegas film is that it features the city no less than 33 times and made use of several sites and landmarks that still exist. They include the Main Street Station, Oscar’s Steakhouse at the Plaza Hotel, Piero’s Italian Cuisine (changed in the movie to be the Leaning Tower), the former Federal Courthouse (now the Mob Museum) and a place known as Atomic Liquors (which also made an appearance in the movie titled Hangover).

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5 – The Hangover

Caesar’s Palace has appeared in many Hollywood films and The Hangover is no exception. The 2009 release that features Bradley Cooper was set at Caesar’s Palace where many scenes were also shot in the lobby, entrance, pools and on the 24th floor of the Augustus Tower. Other key Vegas locations appearing in the film include the Wild Wild West Hotel, an empty lot near the Mandalay Bay Resort and the Riviera Hotel and Casino. One interesting thing to note is that the actual hotel room scenes that included the tigers were shot on a soundstage as tigers are not allowed in hotel rooms – in case you were wondering.

6 – The Godfather

There were several sequences in this classic movie that were filmed in Vegas. The Tropicana Hotel was the principal site used. The Godfather was released in 1972 and starred Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. The film was directed by Francis Ford Coppola and had a budget of between $5-6.5 million. It was a box office smash earning well over $286-million. It was a popular venue as the television series titled “Vegas” which starred Robert Urich and ran on ABC-TV from 1978 to 1981 was also set in the Tropicana.

Other Vegas Venues With Hollywood History

Caesar’s Palace we have stated has had a long connection in the movie industry. Some of the films that have used this venue as a primary location include “Rain Man,” the classic Mel Brooks “History of the World, Part 1,” and Robert Redford is best remembered for riding a horse through the casino in “The Electric Horseman.”

Planet Hollywood made appearances in “Knocked Up’ and “Get Him To The Greek.”

Circus Circus Appeared in “Austin Powers,” the James Bond classic “Diamonds Are Forever” as well as in the movie “Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.”

Choosing set locations for movies is not easy. Sometimes you need a site that not only helps to keep the storyline intact but if you are fortunate enough to film a movie at an iconic Las Vegas hotel and casino, it will often become a character in the movie simply because in Las Vegas the venues are alive with all kinds of activities. But according to Mike Tan At Online Casino Gems, this isn’t too much of a surprise. “When you consider the number of locations along the Las Vegas strip, and the ease in which the Nevada Film Commission issues permits for such productions, it only makes sense to see the movie industry as another form of tourism promotion for Nevada and Las Vegas.”

The tourism commission couldn’t afford that kind of promotion that never ends as long as the movie is a hit.