The Top 10 Vegas Movies of All Time

Although Las Vegas, Nevada was a humble town when it was founded in 1905, after World War II, the city soon became a hot spot for vice, temptation, and all things glitzy and glamorous.

Since Las Vegas Nights brought the city to the big screen in 1941, there have been almost 100 different feature-length films set in Las Vegas, some more successful than others.

To celebrate this distinguished city and its history in the world of cinema, we’re counting down the top 10 movies set in Las Vegas, ranked in order by their audience score on RottenTomatoes. Let’s dive deep into the lavish and sultry world of this city that never sleeps as we list the top 10 Vegas movies of all time!

The Top 10 Vegas Movies of All Time by Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score

10. Bugsy (1991) – 69% Score

top vegas movies - bugsy
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 84
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 69
  • IMDB Rating: 6.8
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Directed by Barry Levinson and written by James Toback, Bugsy is a biographical drama that details the life of the ambitious real-world mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (Warren Beatty) circa 1941.

After flexing his influence in Los Angeles where he falls in love with the aspiring actress Virginia Hill (Annette Bening), Bugsy begins to have dreams of building an upscale resort and casino in the heart of Nevada. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as Bugsy would hope, resulting in escalating violence and unfortunate betrayal.

Bugsy was just as big of a hit with critics as it was with audiences, as the film was nominated for a total of ten Academy Awards, ultimately winning both Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

9. The Cooler (2003) – 69% Score

the cooler - top 10 movie via rotten tomatoes
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 77
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 69
  • IMDB Rating: 6.9
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The Cooler is a romantic drama starring William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, and Maria Bello.

The film focuses on Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy), a perpetually unlucky man whose gambling addiction lands him in a tough spot in Las Vegas. Working at the Shangri-La casino, Bernie begins to cozy up to an attractive waitress named Natalie (Maria Bello), but fears that his persistent misfortune will ruin the blossoming relationship.

As the bond between the two grows, Bernie must face his past and turn over a new leaf in an effort to become a new man. The Cooler has been praised for its excellent character development, contained scope, and winning performances from the entire cast.

Interestingly enough, the entire film was shot in Reno, Nevada over a three-week period, with a modest budget of $4 million.

8. Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) – 75% Score

oceans 13 - one of the best vegas movies all time
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 70
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 75
  • IMDB Rating: 6.9
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As the third and final entry in the popular heist film series, Ocean’s Thirteen amps up the action and stakes as a confident crew of criminals prepare for their biggest score yet.

The film features an immensely talented ensemble cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon, with Al Pacino portraying the antagonistic Willy Bank. After years of success with swindling millions out of Las Vegas, suave conman Danny Ocean (George Clooney) turns his sights on Willy Bank’s newly constructed hotel. Hatching a complex plan full of subterfuge and trickery, Ocean and his posse descend on Willy’s hotel in order to permanently taint its reputation. Fans of the series saw Ocean’s Thirteen as an entertaining return to form after its predecessor, Ocean’s Twelve, failed to live up to expectations.

All in all, the film cleared over $300 million at the box office and is fondly remembered as a fitting conclusion to this intriguing series set in Las Vegas.

7. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) – 80% Score

top rotten tomatoes vegas movie - oceans 11
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 83
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 80
  • IMDB Rating: 7.7
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Directed by Stephen Soderbergh, Ocean’s Eleven is a lighthearted heist movie and a remake of the beloved 1960 film. Just like in the original film, Ocean’s Eleven features a slew of Hollywood’s brightest stars, including George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and more.

The plot follows Danny Ocean (George Clooney) a recently paroled conman who dreams up a seemingly impossible theft. Recruiting a solid crew of nine criminal associates, Danny plans to rob three of the largest casinos in Vegas at the same time, including the MGM Grand, Bellagio, and Mirage. Engrossed by the remarkable cast and the satisfying tale of striking it rich in a city designed to output losers, Ocean’s Eleven was an immediate hit.

According to some behind-the-scenes rumors, it seems like the allure of gambling took over the cast when they weren’t filming, with Matt Damon and Brad Pitt padding their wallets while George Clooney lost dozens of games of blackjack.

6. The Hangover (2009) – 84% Score

the hangover - vegas top movie
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 79
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 84
  • IMDB Rating: 7.7
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Widely considered one of the funniest movies of the 2000s, The Hangover is an uproarious comedy full of debauchery and bad behavior.

Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Justin Bartha, the film follows a group of friends who have an exceptionally rough adventure after a gluttonous night in Las Vegas. When Phil (Bradley Cooper) and his cohorts wake up after their big night out, they discover that their friend Doug (Justin Bartha) is missing and must locate him before his upcoming wedding.

Retracing their steps as they search for Doug, Phil and the rest of the gang soon realize that they may be in over their heads.

Simply put, The Hangover was a massive hit and quickly became the highest-grossing R-rated comedy of all time, leading to multiple sequels and imitators.

5. Leaving Las Vegas (1995) – 85% Score

leaving las vegas - top 10 all time vegas movies
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 89
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 85
  • IMDB Rating: 7.5
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Leaving Las Vegas was written and directed by Mike Figgis and is based on the 1990 novel by John O’Brien.

This stark drama stars Nicolas Cage as Ben Sanderson, a failed screenwriter who travels to Las Vegas in an attempt to drown his sorrows until the bitter end. On his first day in town, Ben meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a sex worker with a troubled life that he grows to admire. Unfortunately, their budding friendship is not enough to stave off the cruel consequences of their tumultuous lives.

Not only was Leaving Las Vegas a career-defining film for Nicholas Cage, but it’s also considered by both critics and audiences to be one of the best movies ever made. For his efforts, Cage won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

4. Swingers (1996) – 88% Score

swinger - vegas related movie
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 87
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 88
  • IMDB Rating: 7.2
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Swingers is a dark comedy starring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn that was directed by Doug Liman. Seen as the film that launched the careers of both Favreau and Vaughn, it follows a pair of entertainers who travel to Las Vegas after one of them endures a rough breakup. As comedian Mike (Jon Favreau) pines over his lost love, his promiscuous friend Trent (Vince Vaughn) tries to introduce him to the glories of Vegas.

Shot with a ridiculously small budget of $200,000, the film feels intimate and personal while replicating the grandiosity that Las Vegas affords.

While plenty of praise was showered over both actors for their tremendous performances, Favreau received additional admiration for his writing, as he wrote the script based on his true life experiences.

3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) – 89% Score

fear and loathing las vegas - top all time movie
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 49
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 89
  • IMDB Rating: 7.5
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Based on Hunter S. Thompson’s controversial 1971 novel and directed by Terry Gilliam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a wildly creative and introspective comedy starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.

Filmed as a faithful adaptation of Thompson’s novel, the movie follows journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his lawyer Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) as the pair explore Las Vegas in the early 1970s. Fueled by copious amounts of mind-altering drugs, the duo embarks on a surprisingly philosophical and extremely irresponsible trip through town.

While it was a box-office bomb at the time of its initial release, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas has since been recognized as one of the best movies set in Vegas and one of Johnny Depp’s most iconic performances.

2. Rain Main (1988) – 90% Score

rain man - top vegas movie
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 89
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 90
  • IMDB Rating: 8
  • Stream Now: Prime

Rain Man is an emotional comedy and drama that was directed by Barry Levinson and stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise.

The plot follows a conceited and brash salesman named Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who learns that he has a long-lost brother after his estranged father passes away. After checking him out of the mental hospital and discovering his uncanny abilities as a savant, Charlie and his brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) set off on a road trip to Los Angeles.

Along the way, the siblings make an important pit stop in Las Vegas, where Charlie plans on scamming the casinos to pay off his debts. Decades later, Rain Man is still one of the most respected films set in Las Vegas, praised for its acting performances and moving script.

Overall, Rain Man was the highest-grossing film of 1988 and went on to win four Academy Awards.

1. Casino (1995) – 93% Score

number 1 las vegas movie all time - Casino
  • Rotten Tomatoes Critics Score: 78
  • Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 93
  • IMDB Rating: 8.2
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Of the many mobster movies set in Las Vegas, Casino has earned a reputation for being one of the most impressively shot films of the bunch.

Directed by the esteemed filmmaker Martin Scorsese, it was based on the 1995 book by Nicholas Pileggi, which detailed some of the most notorious names in the unsavory world of Vegas gambling. The plot follows Sam Rothstein (Robert De Niro), a respected gambling handicapper who manages the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. Deeply entrenched in the world of organized crime, Sam must keep the profits rolling while he deals with everything from marital problems to run-ins with other mob enforcers.

While many of Scorsese’s films have been praised for their craftsmanship and accuracy to real-world events, Casino earns extra points for depicting Las Vegas with sincerity and style.


Author - Brian at Vegas Unzipped

Brian Eller - Vegas Local

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