SWL’s top five…Vegas Movies


From The Las Vegas Story in 1952 to recent box office smashes such as The Hangover, directors have always been keen to set their films in America’s


By SWLondoner staff

Las Vegas has long held an irresistible allure for Hollywood moviemakers.

From The Las Vegas Story in 1952 to recent box office smashes such as The Hangover, directors have always been keen to set their films in America’s own Sin City. Such is its appeal that casinos the world over, including the online casinos that you can find at sites like, are all indebted in some small way to America’s gaming capital, from Vegas-themed slots to reproductions of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Here are five films that, in our humble opinion, really seem to capture the essence of Las Vegas…

The Hangover

This buddy-comedy romp follows the exploits of three guys on a stag weekend in Las Vegas. Suffice to say, they encounter many hilarious mishaps (such as finding a tiger belonging to Mike Tyson in the hotel bathroom) along the way, and this film proved such a hit with viewers that it spawned an equally-successful sequel, imaginatively titled ‘The Hangover 2’



Opinions vary on whether Robocop director Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls is one of the worst movies ever made, or one of the very best. Certainly, if you have a strong dislike for films with a deliberately kitsch tone, over-the-top acting, dialogue that sounds like it was written by a 13-year-old boy, and scenes of gratuitous sex and violence, then you will probably be in the former camp. If, however, you love all of that stuff, then this is probably already one of your favourite films alongside Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights and John Waters’ Pink Flamingos.


Viva Las Vegas

As Elvis movies go, this is one of the better mid-period efforts. Sure, it’s not nearly as good as Love Me Tender or King Creole, but it’s no Spinout. Plus, it features the definitive performance of ‘Viva Las Vegas’, which has since become the de facto anthem of the city, in glorious Technicolor!

Ocean’s Eleven

Which Oceans Eleven could we be talking about? Could it be the super-cool yet fatally flawed original starring Ol’ Blue Eyes himself and his infamous Rat Pack, or the competent but relatively charmless remake with George Clooney and Brad Pitt? We’re not sure. They’re both good heist movies in their own way, so perhaps you should watch them both and make your own mind up.


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Hunter S. Thompson’s vivid gonzo-beatnik prose was always going to be difficult to translate to the big screen, but this didn’t stop Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam from having a good crack at it in the late 90s. This CGI-enhanced road movie stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro as Duke and Dr Gonzo as they drive through a psychotropically-enhanced Nevada desert in search of kicks and strange conversation. A cult classic.

Fancy having your own Vegas experience, like something out of the movies?  Well, now’s your chance. have teamed up with Front Magazine to offer one lucky winner and a friend the opportunity to have the real live casino experience in Sin City itself with flights for two, accommodation in one of the top hotels and, for the real adrenalin junkies, a bungee jump from the top of the world famous Las Vegas Stratosphere.  To be in with a shot, enter the competition here:

Photo courtesy of purple_onion, with thanks. 

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