There have been plenty of casino themed films throughout the years, as they have become a staple in Hollywood. However we’re not here to give you a listicle of the very best casino films, rather we will focus on the music in these movies.
Music and the casino industry are heavily intertwined, especially with Las Vegas being the Entertainment Capital of the World, which is why casino films often have a great soundtrack. Here are our top 5 soundtracks from casino themed films:
The Rounders soundtrack perfectly captures the atmosphere of playing poker, and that’s all thanks to the sonic genius of Christopher Young. Young delivered a classic soundtrack that captured the excitement of playing underground games. The soundtrack also features Counting Crows’ “Baby’ I’m a Big Star”, which was written specifically for the film.
Nowadays, it is hard to comprehend just how much of an impact Rounders had, not only cinema but also modern culture. CNBC credits Rounders as a major factor, along with ESPN and the rise of poker star Chris Moneymaker, that pushed poker into the mainstream in the early 2000’s.
Rounders introduced the idea of exclusive poker clubs, and it is a concept that has become popular online, both for veterans of the game and newcomers. Today many online platforms have taken this idea of poker clubs one step further, and rather than make them exclusive, as in Rounders, they are now aimed at bringing in as many players as possible. GeekMag’s review of the online platform PPPoker details how the gaming company allows players to create their own clubs where they can play using virtual chips. This allows them to play with people of their own level rather than compete in online poker tournaments against seasoned professionals. Granted these games may not have the same stakes of the underground ones in Rounders; but they recreate the same social atmosphere. Rounders has become a cult classic, and its soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment to the film and any game of poker, whether online or the real deal.
A light-hearted Western comedy deserves a light, bubbly soundtrack. This Mel Gibson action-comedy has exactly that in the form of ten terrific country songs. Among the featured artists on the Maverick soundtrack are Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, and Tracy Lawrence. Country music superstar Clint Black, who was recently named to New Music City’s Walk of Fame, also contributed a song, titled “A Good Run of Bad Luck.” It’s is a good one — upbeat yet easy on the ears, which is typical of Black’s hits. Randy Newman, composed Maverick‘s equally light and lively score, and captured the fun of the film perfectly.
The Cincinnati Kid
Any soundtrack with a Ray Charles song (the titular “The Cincinnati Kid” in this case) goes up a notch in our book. That’s the case with The Cincinnati Kid, which chronicles the life of Eric “The Kid” Stoner. Renowned composer Lalo Schifrin was tasked to score this Steve McQueen film, and to this day The Cincinnati Kid soundtrack remains one of his most successful film scores. It is bluesy and vibrant, and captures the gamut of emotions that come with playing poker. That’s why this soundtrack is a great musical complement to the film.
Mark Isham needs no introduction. He’s one of the best musicians and film composers alive. His work on The Cooler soundtrack is testament to this. It is elegant and atmospheric, and revels in that unmistakable Vegas vibe. This makes the soundtrack laid-back, sensual, and energetic all at the same time. It also has notable songs like Paul Servino’s rendition of “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” and Bobby Caldwell’s version of “Luck Be a Lady.” But the heart and soul of this collection is Isham’s delicate, sometimes wistful musicianship (seen in “Leaving Las Vegas”). This soundtrack is a feel good, easy-listening masterpiece, and is a perfect counterpoint to the world of casino gaming.
The soundtrack of Ocean’s Eleven is a kinetic mix of David Holmes’ original score and a collection of songs. But the soundtrack is mostly hip and upbeat, with a sprinkling of blues, funk, and electronica. The additional songs deliver as well, most notable being Percy Faith’s “A Song for Young Lovers” and Quincy Jones’ “Blues in the Night.” In all, this soundtrack offers a diverse mix of tracks, which helped this film become an early classic of the 2000’s.