Top 5 Vegas Films

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Swingers (1996)

Directed by Doug Liman

It really isn’t hard to see why this film has acquired a cult following. The atmosphere is laid back, the dialogue is some of the best in any 90’s comedy, the characters are appealing and well-drawn, the casting is perfect, the soundtrack is great, and the situations are honest and real.

Memorable quotes:

You know what you are? You’re like a big bear with claws and with fangs…
…big fucking teeth, man.
Yeah… big fuckin’ teeth on ya’. And she’s just like this little bunny, who’s just kinda cowering in the corner.
Shivering.
Yeah, man just kinda… you know, you got these claws and you’re staring at these claws and your thinking to yourself, and with these claws you’re thinking, “How am I supposed to kill this bunny, how am I supposed to kill this bunny?”
And you’re poking at it, you’re poking at it…
Yeah, you’re not hurting it. You’re just kinda gently batting the bunny around, you know what I mean? And the bunny’s scared Mike, the bunny’s scared of you, shivering.
And you got these fucking claws and these fangs…
And you got these fucking claws and these fangs, man! And you’re looking at your claws and you’re looking at your fangs. And you’re thinking to yourself, you don’t know what to do, man. “I don’t know how to kill the bunny.” With *this* you don’t know how to kill the bunny, do you know what I mean?
You’re like a big bear, man.

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Directed by Terry Gilliam

Definitely not for everyone, but it is probably the closest and most faithful adaptation that we will ever get of Hunter S. Thompson’s book of the same name. It recounts the drug-fueled adventures of Hunter (played by Johnny Depp) and his wild lawyer, Dr. Gonzo (played by Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas in the early sixties. If anything, see it for the superb acting from Depp, who is almost unrecognizable as he takes on the part of the balding, drug-addled Thompson. His attention to detail in assuming Thompson’s bizarre speech and mannerisms is impressive.

Memorable quote:

There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

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Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Directed by Mike Figgis

Released in the same year as Casino, Leaving Las Vegas may not be the better film in my eyes but it certainly attracted more attention from Oscar, and catapulted Nicholas Cage to Hollywood’s A-list. With a minuscule budget and often no shooting permits, Mike Figgis directed this story about an alcoholic who, after having lost his job and family, heads to Las Vegas to drink himself to death.

Memorable quote:

We both know that I’m a drunk. And I know you are a hooker. I hope you understand that I am a person who is totally at ease with that. Which is not to say that I’m indifferent or I don’t care, I do. It simple means that I trust and accept your judgment.

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Casino (1995)

Directed by Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese, one of America’s most influential filmmakers, returns to the world of mobsters, greed, and excess that he explored so compellingly in 1990’s Goodfellas.

Memorable quote:

A lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. But you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise, you’re talking about a half-hour to forty-five minutes worth of digging. And who knows who’s gonna come along in that time? Pretty soon, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin’ night.

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The Godfather Part 2 (1974)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Considered by some to the greatest film ever made. If anything, everyone has to agree that when it comes to movies set in Las Vegas, The Godfather Part 2 is the very best. Drawing on strong performances by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola’s continuation of Mario Puzo’s Mafia saga set new standards for sequels that have yet to be matched or broken.

Memorable quote:

Fredo, you’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do. I don’t want to see you at the hotels, I don’t want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won’t be there. You understand?

Honorable mentions:

Showgirls

Very Bad Things

The Cooler

Diamonds are Forever

Rain Man

Go

3000 Miles to Graceland

Con Air

Ocean’s Eleven

Bugsy

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