Apparently the 90’s was the decade for prolific Vegas films, but there were a few gems before and there have been a couple gems since they came to close. While this is bound to be a highly controversial list, here are the heavy hitting Las Vegas movies by year.
1974 – The Godfather: Part II
The second of one of perhaps the best film series of all time, this pre-alternative rock era look at Vegas in its adolescence is refreshing and a true work of cinema graphic mastery.
1992 – Honeymoon in Vegas
As we enter the 90’s watch out because the atmosphere and cultural perception of the town is shaping with vigor. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and anything can and will be used against you in a court of law; if you get caught that is. Nicholas cage shines brightly as a young star, and tangles with an older man that schemes his way into a new marriage.
1995 – Showgirls, Leaving Las Vegas, Casino
Once the mid-90’s come around, holy-moley, whether it was all marketing we’ll never know, but regardless 95 was one of the best years for Hollywood movies ever! First there was Showgirls where the star Elizabeth Berkley went from her nerdy role in Saved By The Bell to high class Vegas showmanship. Then, Nicholas Cage returns as possibly the most memorable drunk ever, and Casino becomes one of the best Vegas mobster flicks of all time.
1996 – Swingers
With Swingers the independent film genre took a crack at Vegas and hit a homerun. This movie put Vince Vaughn and his slickster-boy look on the map! What better place to get a broken hearted friend out of his funk than Vegas?!
1997 – Vegas Vacation
The Griswald family vacation to Vegas is a classic and satirical at Lady Luck and the mischief she plays on those that brave what lies within her city limits. From the son winning sports cars with a green thumb and the underage daughter becoming a Vegas queen, to the wife getting picked up by a Vegas legend and poor dad basically losing his shirt, this will always be one of the best.
1998 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Why is almost everything Johnny Depp touches a masterpiece?! What is going on with that man? Fear and Loathing may be a bit extreme for some with it’s over the top drug use and abstract movement from scene to scene; it’s one of the best Vegas films because like time in Vegas itself, it can never be forgotten.
2001- Ocean’s Eleven
Finally, something from the 21st Century! This crafty and unforgettable crime suspense with twists sported a stunning cast and started the next millennium off with style! Unfortunately, it’s sequels couldn’t compete, but Ocean’s Eleven is a hard act to follow.
2009 – The Hangover
This doesn’t make it onto many of the lists for all-time greatest Vegas films, but it should be! Why? Because this film, like the ones that preceded it on this particular list, are indicative of America at the time they were made. From drunken misadventures to Zach Galifianakis (he’s a phenomenon unto himself) this and the hangovers that followed are simply awesome!