When we think of James Bond, our minds begin to fill with images of fast cars, beautiful women, glamourous locations, and danger. But this isn’t all the legendary spy is famous for and many of us will think ‘casino’ when we hear the name James Bond.
It’s possible that Bond learned his card playing skills during his time as a Commander in the Royal Navy, and he sure puts these to good use. Giving him the chance to win money, power and ultimately save the world without having to throw a single punch.
Many battles have been won over a card game by the super sleuth. And in this article we will be looking at the five best casinos that were used during the films, and the games which Bond played in them. Hopefully, he got to enjoy a vodka Martini along the way. Shaken, of course, but never stirred.
The very first Bond film ever, which saw Sean Connery playing Chemin de Fer in the fictional Le Circle Casino in London. Released in 1962, the film featured the original defining casino scene, with the elite spy enjoying a game of one of the first versions of Baccarat.
It’s in this take where we get to hear the legendary assassin first utter the words “Bond. James Bond”. Setting the casino scene for other films in the franchise, and launching Connery’s career as possibly the best Bond to ever grace the silver screen?
The super sleuth heads off to a local casino with Bond girl Domino in the fourth film instalment. The casino in question was fictional, the Nassau Casino may have been based in the Bahamas, but the scenes were in fact filmed at Pinewood Studios in England.
Thunderball hit the cinemas in 1965 and we got to see Bond playing a high-stakes Chemin de Fer game once again. But this time against the eye-patch wearing Largo, where the duo pretend not to know each other. Bond of course wins the game against the SPECTRE number two and goes on to save the world from a nuclear disaster.
Diamonds Are Forever
Connery makes his final appearance as James Bond in this 1971 epic. We see our hero heading into the worlds gambling capital, Las Vegas, and the fictional Whyte House casino. It’s the only film in the franchise so far, where we see the spy playing the card game of Craps. He not only wins $65K but gets to seduce the glamourous Bond girl Plenty O’Toole, who he shares $5,000 of his winnings with.
Pierce Brosnan slipped into the famous tuxedo and took hold of the Walther PPK in this instalment. Released in 1995, it was the first Bond film since License to Kill hit our screens. It doesn’t take Bond long to hit the Casino de Monte Carlo in the glamourous location of Monaco. This casino is actually a real-life establishment, opened in 1863 and hosts the Opéra and Ballets de Monaco to this very day.
We see Bond go head to head in a game of Baccarat against the beautiful but dangerous Russian agent Xenia Onatopp. He of course beats her, whilst later in the film he also escapes her attempt to assassinate him.
This 2006 box office smash revived the Bond franchise and saw Daniel Craig take the hot seat. Playing Bond in a grittier and tougher way then we had ever seen before. And exactly as Fleming had described him in his books. Though film producers made the decision to have Bond play Texas Hold’em rather than Baccarat, as the book originally portrayed.
The Casino Royale is of course a fictional casino based in the French coastal resort of Royale-les-Eaux. And the scene in which Bond plays against the villainous Le Chiffre is the longest casino scene from the entire 25-film franchise. It takes all of Bonds skills as a card playing pro, to win and he almost dies during the game. But thanks to Vesper Lynd’s quick prowess we see our hero revived in time to tip the dealer $1 million.
Of course, this is just our selection of the Bond films that we feel had the best casino scenes in them. And what a ride it’s been, with the advances in technology Bonds list of gadgets has also increased. He now relies on mobile technology and a whole host of weapons designed to outwit modern day cyber villains. We can even imagine that one day he might play at a mobile casino using a mobile phone.
The Bond franchise is currently enjoying great successes, with fans all over the world eagerly awaiting the release of the 25th film: No Time to Die. Will Bond get to visit a casino, and will he get to play his favourite card game of all time, Baccarat? We will have to wait and see.