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Geraldine Nguyen
by Geraldine Nguyen

The Bellagio

If you think that Ocean’s 11, the George Clooney and Brad Pitt caper, looks good on screen, then that’s because large parts of it were filmed at the ever-sumptuous Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Many of the action scenes on the gaming floor were filmed at the Bellagio, with extras taking the place of players at the blackjack table and the roulette wheel.

And that backdrop of the dancing fountains? That’s just one of the features that makes the Bellagio stand out – especially at night, when the fountains are accompanied by a majestic light show.

While less prominent the second time around, the Bellagio also features in the sequel Ocean’s 13 as well.

Caesars Palace

Remember when Alan and the gang went to Vegas for a bachelor party in the first film of The Hangover movie franchise?

The casino scenes were shot on location at Caesars Palace, as were the skits on the rooftop, by the pool, in the corridors, and even at the reception desk.

If you’ve seen The Hangover and are plotting your own getaway to Vegas (presumably with less shenanigans than the movie), then you will immediately recognize Caesars Palace as soon as you step inside.

However, if you want to check into the suite that Alan and co stayed at, we’re sorry to say it doesn’t exist – this was a set built specifically for the movie, although the designers are said to have taken elements from Caesars’ more opulent suites as inspiration.

The Mirage

Not one but two movies have used the Mirage as the location for their external casino shoots.

The Oscar-winning Leaving Las Vegas stopped by in 1995 while also using a number of other eye-catching casinos as backdrops – including Bally’s, Circus Circus and the Flamingo. The internal casino scenes in the movie were filmed in venues in the Nevada town of Laughlin.

Vegas Vacation, part of the National Lampoon franchise, also chose the Mirage as its primary location in Sin City, although some shots were also recorded at the nearby Stardust.

The Riviera & The Landmark

A movie called Casino really ought to pay its dues to Las Vegas. And this Robert DeNiro classic certainly does, stopping off at two of the Neon City’s oldest casinos: the Landmark (which was the base used to depict the movie’s fictional casino, the Tangiers) and the Riviera.

Some of the internal casino shots were filmed at the Riviera, which would also pop up in movies as diverse as Jason Bourne and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

Sadly, neither the Landmark nor the Riviera are around today as both have been demolished since their heyday on the silver screen.

Planet Hollywood

This Caesars property in the heart of Sin City was used as a location for the filming of 21, the movie depicting Bill Kaplan’s band of MIT-educated card counters that took down a number of casinos across Vegas.

Based on the biographical book Bringing Down the House, anyone that has read that tome knows that the action captured in 21 had to be fast-paced and authentic – ideally in an actual working casino environment.

Planet Hollywood was the perfect choice; most of the casino scenes in 21 were shot here to create that true-to-life look to add to the tense drama in the movie.

Mohegan Sun

The Mohegan tribe-owned casino located in Uncasville, Connecticut, appeared in Adam Sandler’s “Uncut Gems“. The scenes include Sandler’s character’s mistress Julia (played by Julia Fox) landing at the Sun in a helicopter and running through the casino to place a win-or-lose bet for jeweler and gambler Howard Ratner (Sandler).

It’s that last bet Julia places for him at Mohegan Sun on a Boston Celtics game that’s the climax of the film. The scenes in the casino include her racing to make the bet, and later, in a suite at the hotel where she watches the game.

Fun fact: the Mohegan tribe is also the operator of Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino in Ontario.

Geraldine Nguyen
Geraldine Nguyen Author
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Born and raised in Toronto, Geraldine is a proud Asian-Canadian writer with a passion for storytelling and a deep love of casino games. After earning her degree in English Literature from the University of Guelph, she began her career as a freelance ... Read more about Geraldine Nguyen