There are quite a few films that feature gambling and high roller casinos. Most of them are poker or blackjack films as bluffing, suspense, hard decisions, big wins and huge disappointments keep the audience engaged. Many of these films are represented by some great music that helps make the films even more iconic or successful.
Maverick, starring Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster and James Garner, was released in 1994 and follows Gibson’s and Foster’s characters as they con anyone they can across the western US in order to enter a high roller poker match. The film’s soundtrack features a who’s who of country music during the time period including Clint Black, Tracy Lawrence, Confederate Railroad, Vince Gill and others. Black’s “A Good Run of Bad Luck” was arguably the most famous track from the film as it reached No. 1 in the United States and Canada. The song uses gambling imagery to describe falling in love and uses scenes from the film in its video.
Kenny Rogers turned his 1978 song “The Gambler” into a film for CBS in 1980. The film was loosely based on the song and stars the country singer/songwriter as Brady Hawkes, a gambler trying to reunite with his son. The movie was the start of a franchise that sparked four sequels over 15 years, but none had the success of the original. While Rogers made the song famous, he wasn’t the first to record it. Bobby Bare and Johnny Cash also have versions of the track, recording it prior to Rogers taking it to No. 1 on the country and pop charts.
Viva Las Vegas
Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” was recorded in 1964 specifically for his film of the same title. The King of Rock never performed the song live, even though it’s become synonymous with his name and the city of Las Vegas. The RIAA certified the single gold in 1992 after selling 500,000 copies in the United States. The song has appeared in countless films and TV series and covered by many, including ZZ Top and the Dead Kennedys.
Dean Martin recorded and released “Ain’t That A Kick in the Head” specifically for the film Ocean’s 11 in the 1960 original starring Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr, and Joey Bishop, known as the Rat Pack. The song was never considered a hit by pop radio standards, but appears on many of Martin’s greatest hits compilations. The song was released before the film which is considered a quintessential Las Vegas heist movie.