Sports betting is a time-honoured tradition that has long been a part of the movie industry. From early classics like The Hustler to more recent hits like The Longshots, betting on sports has always been a popular plot device.
Movies about sports betting offer audiences a glimpse into the high-stakes world of professional gambling. They also provide a vicarious thrill for those who have never placed a bet in our lives.
Here are five great movies inspired by sports betting;
The Hustler (1961)
Despite its age, The Hustler remains one of the most iconic sports betting movies ever. Starring a young Paul Newman as “Fast” Eddie Felson and Jackie Gleason as the legendary player Minnesota Fats, The Hustler is a classic black-and-white film that follows Eddie’s quest to defeat Fats. The movie was Newman’s big break-out role, and it also received a number of significant awards. It has been chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for its “cultural, historical or aesthetical significance.”
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Philidelphia is a city obsessed with sports. And with the growing popularity of sports betting, it’s no surprise that a film set there would have it as a central theme. In Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper stars as Pat, a man with bipolar disorder who is trying to rebuild his life. When he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman with her own problems, the two form an unlikely bond. Tiffany helps Pat to reconnect with his estranged wife, and the two also enter into a dance contest. Although not strictly a sports movie, Silver Linings Playbook features plenty of sports betting, including a wager on the outcome of the dance contest. This is placed by Pat’s father, a betting nut and avid Philadelphia Eagles fan, brilliantly played by Robert De Niro.
Eight Men Out (1988)
In 1919, the Black Sox Scandal rocked the world of Major League Baseball. Eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of taking bribes to intentionally lose the World Series. The movie Eight Men Out, starring John Cusack and Charlie Sheen, chronicles the events of the scandal and the subsequent trial. The film was generally well-received by critics and audiences, with many praising its accuracy and production values.
Let It Ride (1989)
The incomparable Richard Dreyfuss stars in this light-hearted comedy about a man who gets lucky at the horse races. Jay Trotter (Dreyfuss) is a taxi driver who has a fateful encounter with a stranger who tells him about a sure-fire winner. Trotter takes the advice and ends up winning big. He then proceeds to have the greatest day of his life, as everything he bets on turns to gold. Let It Ride is a fun and feel-good movie that will leave you wanting to head to the racetrack.
The Longshots (2008)
The Longshots is a feel-good sports movie starring Ice Cube and Keke Palmer. The film is based on the true story of Jasmine Plummer, the first female to play in the Little League World Series. When her uncle (Ice Cube) coaches her team, they go on an unlikely run to the championship game. Along the way, he places a bet on their chances of winning, which turns out to be a very lucrative wager. The Longshots is an inspiring film that will leave you cheering for the underdogs.
So next time you’re looking for a movie to watch, why not check out one of these great sports betting-themed films? You might just pick up a few tips on how to make a winning bet!