Las Vegas is immensely famous for its high-end casinos and hotels, ever-buzzing nightlife, and endless list of over-the-top entertainment options. Many movies and TV series have featured this magnificent city, making it one of the most popular locations in the global film industry. Below is a list of the legendary movies filmed in Las Vegas:
Ten Legendary Movies Filmed in Sin City
1. Ocean’s Eleven (1960)
- Main Cast: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, Angie Dickinson, Richard Conte, Cesar Romero, Patrice Wymore, Akim Tamiroff and Henry Silva
- Release date: 3 August 1960 (Las Vegas), 10 August 1960 (USA)
- Story by: George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell
- Nominations: Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written Comedy
The classic movie features the famous Las Vegas Rat Pack, who played a crucial role in transforming the city’s entertainment scene. It also contributed to the buzzing film industry of Sin City. Ocean’s Eleven (1960) is a story about Danny Ocean and his ten friends. The group of 11 decide to rob five of the biggest casinos in Vegas on the eve of New Year. Despite planning the heist with the precision of military operations, things take a different turn, and the gang loses the money.
2. Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
- Main Cast: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts
- Release date: 7 December 2001 (USA)
- Story By: Inspired by the Oceans’ 11 (1960) by George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell
- Nominations: MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Duo, Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actor, ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards – Contemporary Film, MTV Movie Award for Best Dressed, Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble, ALMA Award for Favourite Movie Actor- Supporting Role among many others.
Unlike the classic Ocean’s Eleven (1960), the Ocean’s Eleven (2001) is an American heist comedy. In the first movie, Danny Ocean was an army veteran, but in this other one, he’s a gangster. He assembles a team of ten to help him steal money from three big Las Vegas casinos owned by Terry Benedict, his business rival. Terry is also the lover of Dany’s ex-wife Tess. The Bellagio Casino is the main target of the heist. Unlike the first movie released in 1960, Ocean’s Eleven 2001 has a happy ending for the gang.
3. Army of the Dead (2021)
- Main Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Matthias Schweighöfer and Nora Arnezeder
- Release date: 21 May 2021 (USA)
- Story by: Zack Snyder
- Nominations: Oscars Fan Favorite, Saturn Award – Best Make-Up, HCA Award – Best Supporting Actress, HMMA Award – Best Original Score (Horror Film), Sierra Award – Best Horror/Sci-Fi Film
The 2021 Army of the Dead brings a new zombie apocalypse concept. Zack Snyder combines a Vegas heist with a twist of the undead. The movie takes place in Sin City, where a team is assembled to go on a mission and retrieve $200 million stashed in a Las Vegas casino. The mission would have been easy if it weren’t for the fact that zombies, even a zombie tiger, overtake the city. This thriller action movie features the most iconic landmarks of Sin City, including the MGM Grand Hotel.
4. Viva Las Vegas – Little Church of the West (1964)
- Main Cast: Elvis Presley, Ann-Margret, Cesare Danova, William Demarest and Nicky Blair
- Story by: Sally Benson
- Release date: 20 May 1964 (USA)
- Nominations: Golden Laurel – Musical, Golden Laurel- Musical Performance, Female, Golden Laurel – Musical Performance, Male
Elvis Presley takes the main stage in this Vegas romance musical. The movie was hastily produced without a concept or script, but just on the determination of Elvis. It was filmed at the Little Church of the West, the oldest building on the Vegas Strip. The movie’s wedding scene so inspired Elvis that he proposed to his long-term girlfriend, Priscilla Ann Presley, after shooting it. The movie has inspired many Elvis fans and Vegas fans to go for an Elvis-themed wedding at the Little Church of the West, relieving the beautiful moments of Elvis Presley.
5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
- Main Cast: Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro
- Story by: Hunter S. Thompson
- Release date: 19 May 1998 (USA)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) is an American black comedy featuring Johnny Depp as the main character. Depp had to endure 56 days of continuous comedy shooting in Las Vegas. Most of the scenes from the comedy needed to be shot inside the Las Vegas casinos. Unfortunately, the filming permits the producers acquired limited them to only shoot the film between 2-6 am. The movie revolves around Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), Duke’s attorney, driving to Las Vegas with drugs hidden in their red convertible. The two have a crazy and alarming consumption of drugs which triggers a chain of events.
6. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Main Cast: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, and Bruce Cabot
- Story by: Ian Fleming
- Release dates: 14 December 1971 (West Germany), 17 December 1971 (USA), 30 December 1971 (the UK, premiere)
- Nominations: Academy Award for Best Sound Mixing, Satellite Award for Best Classic DVD
Sean Connery is one of the most celebrated and loved actors in the James Bond role. He brings the spying adventure to Sin City in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). The Bond movies always have a magnificent high-end gambling scene, making Vegas and Bond a match made in heaven. In the movie, James Bond tracks an international diamond smuggler’s ring, which operates from the Whyte House casino. What follows is a thrilling adventure full of spy-themed actions. The movie was filmed at the Las Vegas Hilton.
7. Casino (1995)
- Main Cast: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Kevin Pollak and James Woods
- Story: Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi
- Release date: 22 November 1995 (USA)
- Nominations: 20/20 Awards- Best Film Editing, Academy Awards- Best Actress, American Cinema Editors Awards – Best Edited Feature Film, Awards Circuit Community Awards – Best Cast Ensemble, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards- Best Director and Best Actress, among many others.
The 1995 masterpiece film sees Martin Scorsese returning to the “mob” days in Sin City, with an action/drama movie featuring some notable names in the USA film industry, capturing remarkable scenes in Las Vegas. Martin Scorsese directed the fantastic film, implementing his exceptional mastery of music and cinematography. Casino is one of his best productions and earned him three top nominations. The movie takes one through a roller-coaster of emotions from the beginning to the end.
8. Rain Man (1988)
- Main Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Jerry Molen
- Story: Barry Morrow
- Release date: 12 December 1988 (USA)
- Nominations: Academy Awards (7 nominations), American Cinema Editors Awards – Best Edited Feature Film, American Society of Cinematographers Awards – Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases, Berlin International Film Festival (2 nominations), Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards ( 4 nominations), Golden Globe Awards (4nomnations), among many others
The movie narrates the story of two brothers. Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) is a quick-thinking businessman who feels cheated off his inheritance when his autistic brother is awarded $3 million from their inheritance. After failing facility care to let him take care of his brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is autistic, he decides to kidnap his brother. Interestingly he discovers his autistic brother is a genius, and Charlie decides to take Raymond to Las Vegas so that they can make money playing blackjack. The film received many nominations and awards and is even recognized by the American Film Institute.
9. The Hangover (2009)
- Main Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha and Jeffrey Tambor
- Story: Jon Lucas and Scott Moore
- Release date: 2 June 2009 (USA), 30 May 2009 (The Hague)
- Nominations: Critics Choice Movie Award for Best Comedy, People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie, BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards – Contemporary Film, Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and many more.
The Hangover movie is a modern classic comedy that was released in 2009. The movie shattered box office records and led to two sequels: The Hangover II and The Hangover III. Even though fans weren’t as pleased with the two sequels as with Hangover I, the comedy sequel is considered one of the most profitable ‘adult’ franchises in the classic comedy category. The movie revolves around four friends who host a bachelor party in Las Vegas, only to wake up the next day confused. They can’t recall what happened the previous night, and the groom is missing.
10. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
- Main Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands
- Story by: John O’Brien
- Release dates: 27 October 1995 (Limited), 9 February 1996 (Wide)
- Nominations: Academy Award for Best Actor, Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture – Drama, Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actor and many more.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995) is a dark movie about a Hollywood screenwriter named Ben Sanderson (Nicholas Cage). When Sanderson loses everything due to his alcoholism, he packs his bags and travels to Sin City, with the central goal of drinking himself to death. When he gets to Las Vegas, he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), who is a prostitute and agrees to move in with her. The movie is based on a semi-autobiographical novel. Sanderson and Shue develop a romantic relationship narrated from Shue’s perspective. Unfortunately, the film writer, John O’Brien, committed suicide after transferring the film rights to the Leaving Las Vegas (novel). Even though the movie didn’t capture the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, it gave the city a different and unique image, a place where people can bounce back and start again.