Casinos and pop culture share a strong bond. Each industry draws influence from one another and gives back, leading to its development and strengthening pop culture as a result.
Movies have had a profound effect on our perceptions of casinos and their games, from classic dramas such as Casino to darker themes such as heist films that offer viewers an adrenaline rush.
Hollywood’s Golden Age
People tend to associate “Hollywood’s Golden Age” with lavish films and iconic stars. Scholars disagree as to when this period began and ended; most agree it spanned from the introduction of sound films with The Jazz Singer in 1927 through World War II starting in 1939.
This period saw the advent of sound production, which enabled for more dialogue and plot complexity as well as creating a boom in genre films like Westerns and gangster films. Furthermore, women such as Bette Davis began pushing boundaries within filmmaking at this point in time.
This period saw the end of studio monopolies, the rise of television as an alternative source for movie viewing, and McCarthyism leading to blacklistings of major stars from Hollywood studios. World War II temporarily disrupted production, and McCarthyism led to star talent being blacklisted from major productions in Hollywood. But these events eventually brought this period to a close.
The James Bond Franchise
Nowadays, James Bond movies are lavish productions with huge production budgets that continue to be immensely popular: Casino Royal grossed more than $650 million; Quantum of Solace over $300 million and Skyfall near $1 billion in earnings.
Ian Fleming and James Bond, revered cultural icons both, are respected for their ability to adapt with changing times.
Early Bond movies were made before second-wave feminism had a firm grasp in our culture, when film standards permitted explicit sexual material to be shown. Over time however, Bond became more progressive in his treatment of women.
Daniel Craig made history during his run as Bond, beginning with 2006’s Casino Royal and ending with 2018’s No Time to Die. Over this time he helped restore the franchise as one of the highest grossing film series ever, while setting new standards in mainstream action movies by shifting away from lighthearted silliness found in its predecessors.
Before Prohibition, turn-of-the-century ethnic gangs in cities such as New York and Kansas City ran gambling, prostitution and other rackets without ever coming together under one umbrella organization; terms such as Mafia or syndicate didn’t come into use until post Prohibition.
Following Prohibition’s repeal, these mobs adapted and became engaged in gambling, labour racketeering, loan-sharking and drug distribution. Some members, like Charles “Lucky” Luciano, revived old bootlegging operations while others invested in hotel-casinos.
Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel were two early Jewish mobsters to finance Las Vegas resorts. Additionally, Teamsters Union under Mob control used its pension fund to back several early Strip casinos.
Gambling trends throughout history have been determined by shifting social contexts and technology advances, from slot machine invention to horse racing betting systems; each time there has been an industry shift leading directly to changes in gambling behaviors.
Kenny Rogers drew inspiration from soul music greats such as Sam Cooke when forming his career. His preference was for reading lyrics with more depth, giving his characters more character than artists such as Waylon Jennings or Johnny Cash – no exception was his rendition of The Gambler featured on Season 4 episode of The Muppet Show!
James Caan gives an impressive performance as Axel Freed, who slowly loses everything in pursuit of winning a huge prize. The film ends cryptically and unresolved to emphasize addiction’s futility – an issue many filmmakers continue to examine today.