The unique appeal of the roulette wheel in movies

Gambling has always been a compelling topic in Hollywood, and has featured as a critical plot point in some of the great movies. Card games and sports betting are themes we’ve seen in movies like Casino Royale and The Sting. But there’s something about the roulette wheel that is perfect for the big screen. 

Perhaps it is because it is so big and obvious as a prop. What could give a clearer representation of the vagaries of chance than a spinning wheel and that little silver ball bouncing across the pockets? Let’s take a look at some of the movies where the roulette wheel was more like a member of the cast than a mere prop.  


Few movies have stood the test of time like Casablanca. This year marks 80 years since its release. Today’s world of online entertainment is a very different place to 1942 Casablanca, yet the movie is completely relatable for modern audiences. As for the roulette scene – well, if you’ve not seen it we won’t spoil it, but let’s just say that all these years later when we play online roulette NJ, black 22 remains one of the most popular straight up bets. 

Diamonds are Forever 

Casinos feature in most Bond movies. We already mentioned Casino Royale, which is essentially built around a card game, and in the opening scene of the first Bond flick, Dr No, Bond is in a casino playing Chemin de fer. In Diamonds Are Forever, there are some light hearted moments that foreshadow the Roger Moore era to come. The roulette scene takes place in the heart of the villain’s lair, and it is here that Bond encounters the memorably named Plenty O’Toole.  

Run, Lola, Run 

It’s unusual for German movies to garner international acclaim, but this offbeat thriller deserves all the plaudits it gets. The premise is simple. Lola needs to find 100,000 Deutschmarks and she has 20 minutes to do so if she’s going to save her boyfriend’s life. In a “sliding doors” style tale of alternative outcomes, it is the roulette wheel that provides a solution. 

Indecent Proposal 

In Casablanca and Run, Lola, Run, the roulette wheel delivered an answer to the protagonists’ prayers, providing the Bulgarian newlyweds with visa documents and Lola with her cash for the mob. But they call it the devil’s game for a reason, and it can bite if you’re not careful. That’s what the young couple played by Woody Harrelson and Demi Moore discovered to their cost in the famous drama from 1993. When they chanced everything on the spin of a wheel and lost, the solution offered to them by Robert Redford’s character was one that would destroy them. 

That’s the perfect place to leave it, because the cautionary tale in Indecent Proposal provides a perfect explanation of why that one golden rule of the casino is more important than any other: Only bet what you can afford to lose. Good luck!