The American Movie Classics channel (AMC) is to air the award-winning, Martin Scorsese film, Casino this evening. One of the quintessential gambling movies that's actually based on true events, Casino is a great watch - especially for gambling buffs. The movie stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone, and was directed by - you guessed it - Scorsese, the Man.
For anybody who thought that organized crime and the mafia has long been forced out of the casino gambling industry, you might be surprised just how recent the days of mafia underbossing in Las Vegas actually were. Set in the late 70's, early 80's, Casino recounts the real happening that took place at the Stardust Casino (called Tangiers Casino in the film).
The actual plot of the story recounts the lives of three people - Ace Rothstein (De Niro), Nicky Santoro (Pesci) and Ginger McKenna (Stone), and how their days of glory in Las Vegas come crashing down. Tracing mafia roots back to the Chicago Outfit, things get going when the head of the Teamster's pension fund gives $600 million to a real estate hustler for opening a casino. De Niro reluctantly agrees to run the casino, while in the meantime, makes a legitimate attempt to do things right and lead a respectable life.
However, his marriage with Ginger (a former high-class call girl who is in love with another man) and the antics of Pesci (who is an underboss and boyhood friend of Ace) start adding fuel to a fire that has been unknowingly burning all along. Meanwhile, the Chicago Outfit, who has been stealing money back from the casino all along, starts to suspect they are getting the short end of the stick, and well, let's just say that people start getting buried in the Las Vegas desert - Or as Ace likes to say, where problems get solved.
The movie was a great success overall, racking in over $110 million worldwide (costing approximately $52 million to produce). While Scorsese was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Director, it was Sharon Stone who pulled off the performance of her career. She was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role.
Again, for anybody who wants a closer glimpse at the inner workings of a casino, such as how all the change gets counted, this is a very fascinating flick. Add to it some intrigue, drama, Hollywood icons and Sharon Stone's legs, and you have one of the best movies from 1996. Oh, and if you like the word (please excuse my French) "fuck", it gets said 422 times. That's 2.4 times per minute on average.