Six of the Most Iconic Female Characters in Casino Movies

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One of the problems with most of the articles that talk about the most iconic characters in gambling movies is that they tend to all revolve around men. Well, today, that’s going to change. We’re going to be showing you some of the best female characters in casino movies.

Female Characters in Casino Movies

Just because female characters in casino movies don’t always get a frontpage spread in these types of articles doesn’t mean their performances aren’t worthy of talking about. In fact, some of the best performances in gambling movies are from female characters, and we’re going to show you some of the most iconic characters right here on this page.

Casino Movies: Female Characters

The names on this list are all associated with live gambling, but many of them would surely have taken advantage of today’s online gambling options. If online gambling appeals to you, definitely check out our guide to the best online casinos to ensure that you’re playing games with high payouts, high RTPs, and big win potential.

Ginger McKenna – Casino

Casino is one of the most iconic gambling movies ever made. When it comes to the best female characters in gambling movies, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better lead than Sharon Stone’s Ginger. Sam “Ace” Rothstein was seen as being the king of Las Vegas throughout the movie, but a major part of his downfall was due to his relationship with Ginger.

Interestingly, according to IMDb, Stone spent the vast majority of filming in agonizing pain. She was, at the time, experiencing severe back problems, and this was only made worse by the fact that the gold gown she wore throughout weighed some 45 pounds.

The movie went onto become a major success, and it won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress – all for Stone’s work on screen.

Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale

Vesper Lynd is a key character in the 2006 film Casino Royale, which is based on the James Bond novel of the same name by Ian Fleming. She is portrayed by actress Eva Green and serves as a love interest for Bond throughout the film.

Vesper is introduced as a British Treasury agent who is sent to oversee Bond’s high-stakes poker game against the film’s villain, Le Chiffre. As the game progresses, Vesper and Bond develop a romantic relationship, but it is later revealed that Vesper has been working for the enemy and has betrayed Bond.

Despite her betrayal, Vesper’s character is complex and sympathetic, and her relationship with Bond is one of the emotional anchors of the film. Her tragic story arc and the impact she has on Bond make her an important and memorable character in the James Bond franchise.

Sera – Leaving Las Vegas

Sera is a key character in the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas, which is based on the novel of the same name by John O’Brien. She is portrayed by actress Elisabeth Shue and serves as a love interest and companion for the film’s protagonist, Ben Sanderson.

Sera is a Las Vegas prostitute who meets Ben, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, and becomes his drinking partner and confidant. Despite their dysfunctional relationship, Sera and Ben develop a deep bond that transcends their personal struggles and self-destructive behavior.

Throughout the film, Sera is portrayed as a sympathetic and complex character who is trapped in a life of poverty and addiction. Her relationship with Ben serves as a catalyst for both characters to confront their inner demons and find solace in each other’s company.

Sera’s character is a tragic but ultimately hopeful figure who embodies the resilience and humanity of those who struggle with addiction and despair. Her performance in the film earned Elisabeth Shue critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Natalie Belisario – The Cooler

Natalie Belisario is a major character in the 2003 film The Cooler. She is portrayed by actress Maria Bello and serves as a love interest for the film’s protagonist, Bernie Lootz.

Natalie is a waitress and aspiring artist who works at the Shangri-La casino in Las Vegas. She meets Bernie, a “cooler” who is employed by the casino to bring bad luck to winning gamblers, and the two begin a romantic relationship.

In all parts of the film, Natalie is portrayed as a strong-willed and independent character who encourages Bernie to break free from his unlucky streak and start a new life with her. Their relationship serves as a symbol of hope and redemption in a world of gambling and desperation.

Natalie’s character is a contrast to the darker elements of the film, providing a sense of optimism and humanity that is rare in the world of casinos and gambling. Maria Bello’s performance was praised by critics and helped establish her as a rising star in Hollywood.

Lorraine – Swingers

Swingers is regarded as being one of the most iconic gambling movies of all time, and Lorraine, played by Heather Graham, is the movie’s female protagonist. She’s seen as the woman who finally allows Mike Peters to move on from his ex-girlfriend, and her on-screen performance catapulted her career. She’s since gone on to appear in other Hollywood films, including Boogie Nights.

Lorraine’s character is an important part of the film’s exploration of young adulthood and relationships in the modern era. Heather Graham’s performance helped establish her as a rising star in Hollywood, and the character of Lorraine has become an iconic figure in the world of indie cinema.

Ilsa Lund – Casablanca

Casablanca is another of the all-time greats when it comes to gambling movies. It’s also one of the most infamous gambling movies with women characters, and the highly decorated film went on to win three Oscars. It’s regularly seen as a must-watch for any gambling enthusiast. Ingrid Bergman was nominated for Best Actress for her role in the film playing Ilsa Lund.

Lund falls in love with Rick Blaine – Humphrey Bogart’s character – who owns an American cafe in Paris. The movie isn’t just one of the most iconic gambling films ever produced, but it’s also one of the world’s most well-known releases, with the American Film Institute ranking it number three on its Greatest Movies of all Time list.

Below, we look at some other world-renowned gambling movies with female characters well-worth checking out.

The HustlerSarah Packard
Hard EightClementin
BugsyVirginia Hill
Honeymoon in VegasBetsy
Frequently Asked Questions

Female characters in casino movies often don’t get anywhere near as much praise as they should. However, there’s no denying the impact women have had in the casino film industry, and hopefully, on this page, we’ve opened your eyes to some of the more notable actresses. Below, we’re going to answer some additional FAQs.

Why was Sharon Stone in pain while filming Casino?

It’s reported that Sharon Stone was in near constant pain during the filming of Casino due to back problems. To make matters worse, many of the days that she spent filming required her to wear a heavy gown weighing almost 45 pounds! This contributed to even more back problems, although it’s unclear whether she continued experiencing problems after filming had finished.

When was Casino Royale released?

Casino Royale was released back in 2006. However, the movie was actually based on Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name, which was written and released back in 1953. The Bond film features Daniel Craig, and it’s widely considered to be one of his more iconic on-screen performances to date.

Did Leaving Las Vegas win an Oscar?

Yes, Leaving Las Vegas won an Oscar back in 1996. However, what many people don’t know is that the movie was actually nominated for three others. While it didn’t go onto win all four nominations, the fact that it won even one shows just how influential the female actors like Elisabeth Shue were, and even today, almost 30 years later, it remains one of the most popular gambling movies ever released.

What is The Cooler about?

The Cooler follows Bernie Lootz, a “cooler” for a Las Vegas casino, as he tries to break free from his unlucky streak and start a new life with the help of his love interest, Natalie Belisario, while facing pressure from his boss to continue his unlucky ways. Several high-profile actors and actresses make appearances in the movie, including Alec Baldwin and William H. Macy.

Which other movies has Heather Graham appeared in?

Heather Graham, who played Lorraine in the movie Swingers, has also appeared in several other movies. These include the likes of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Loved Me, Boogie Nights, Killing Me Softly, License to Drive, The Hangover, Flowers in the Attic, Bowfinger, and The Hangover: Part III.

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