Every casino regular has probably seen Martin Scorsese’s 1995 classic Casino, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. However, only true fans of both casinos and cinema know the following facts about the movie and its production.
Casino is based on a true story that took place in Las Vegas, the capital of American gambling. Unlike today, when you can enjoy casino games at leading sites like Bet2you, this movie takes us back to the classic era of gambling, the mob, and Las Vegas in all its glory (when casinos still had a hint of mystery about them).
1. De Niro’s Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein is based on a real-life figure
Here’s one little Casino movie fact that only true fans know: the real guy the movie is based on is not Sam Rothstein. His name was Frank Rosenthal, also known as ‘Lefty’ in the casino circuit. Surprisingly, Frank was not interested in having his life made into a movie. That is until he found out that Scorsese would direct, and De Niro would star in it. It turns out that Frank was a huge fan of both De Niro and Scorsese.
2. Casino was shot in a real casino
To make Casino as true to life as possible, Scorsese wanted to film in a real-life casino. The only problem was that a casino that size never closes. Therefore, the crew had to work outside of peak hours and only take up a corner of the casino. Another thing that makes it so realistic is that instead of hiring actors, they used real dealers and pit bosses whenever they could. Throughout the filming of the movie, people were enjoying the games on the other side of the casino floor.
3. Legal ramifications
Studios are always nervous about making movies that concern the mafia. In this case, Universal Studios’ lawyers were the ones who suggested calling Frank Rosenthal by the alias Sam Rothstein and using the nickname ‘Ace’ instead of ‘Lefty’.
You’ll also notice they never mention Chicago as being the headquarters of the Las Vegas Mob. Rather, they used “back home”. Additionally, saying the movie was “adapted from a true story” rather than “based on a true story” gave them much more freedom creatively. However, Scorsese himself confirmed that most of the movie is based on facts.
4. Frank Rosenthal died without seeing the final cut of the movie
Rosenthal admitted that he only saw the rough cut of the movie once. According to the screenwriter Pileggi, his response was positive. However, later on in an interview, Frank stated that the film “lacked many details” of who he was. And that certain aspects of the movie made him seem silly and inarticulate. This was all Frank said about the film, but sadly, we will never know if he really liked or disliked the final cut of the movie.