Las Vegas is well-known to be the world’s capital of excess, hedonism, and entertainment. Located in the middle of the desert, this city has thrived by offering millions of visitors each year an opportunity to indulge themselves with all the deadly sins round the clock, earning it the title of Sin City.

Famous for its mega casino hotels, filled with shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife, Las Vegas has been ranked as a premiere casino travel destination by sites like VikingSlots, but in reality it’s so much more.
Throughout the years Hollywood has taken note of Vegas as the perfect location to tell surreal morality tales filled with glitz and extravagance where protagonists aim for the moon but often end up gambling away their soul. Capturing the essence of the City of Lights itself, the films on this list will certainly dazzle you with the temptation of endless debauchery and excess, but also remind you that too much of it takes its toll on any man.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

While Steven Soderbergh’s stylish 2001 George Clooney-led movie is certainly one of the most worthy remakes made by Hollywood in a sea of disappointing updates, the original 1960 heist movie led by Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack is an absolute classic, and a perfect representation of the Vegas of yore.

Directed by Lewis Milestone and shot on location at the Flamingo, Sands, Desert Inn, Riviera, and Sahara Hotels, Ocean’s tells the story of a group of World War II buddies led by Danny Ocean (Sinatra) coming together to pull off an elaborate heist to rob 5 Las Vegas casinos, only for an unexpected funeral to complicate their escape with the loot.

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The Godfather Part II (1974)

Widely regarded as the best sequel of all time, and often argued to be better than the original, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II is a cinematic masterpiece. Continuing the story of the Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and the Corleone crime family, this sequel deals with Michael’s attempt to legitimize the family business by entering the casino business in Las Vegas, while going back to the past to tell the parallel story of the rise of Michael’s father Vito (Robert DeNiro) upon arriving to America.

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Bugsy (1991)

Directed by Barry Levinson, Bugsy tells the story of Bugsy Siegel (Warren Beatty) an American gangster that was one of the original visionaries that saw the potential to exploit Las Vegas’ legalized gambling and turn it into a city of casinos ruled by the mob. Also starring the fantastic Annette Bening, more than just the tale of one man, Bugsy tells the story of how Vegas truly came to be what it is today.

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Showgirls (1995)

Paul Verhoeven’s much maligned film about a young woman (Elizabeth Berkley) determined to make it as a Vegas showgirl only to get caught up in Vegas’ seedy underbelly was not initially well received, proving be a critical and commercial flop. It was only in the home video market that it found itself becoming a cult hit, embraced by many in the “so bad it’s good” category of movies, and even going on to become one of MGM’s highest selling movies – and even inspire an off-Broadway musical in New York City.

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Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

If after his countless legendarily bad performances you ever wanted to find out how Nicolas Cage could ever have a reputation as a good actor, this is the movie you need to watch. Mike Figgis’ portrait of a man with nothing more to lose coming to Sin City to drink himself to death earned Cage an Oscar for his performance, and deservedly so. If movies like Ocean’s Eleven are all glitz and fun, Leaving Las Vegas is that hangover that just won’t go away.

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Casino (1995)

Another masterpiece from a man who specializes in creating gangster epics, Martin Scorsese’s Casino takes us deep into the heart of 1970’s Vegas and shows us how it all operates, and how the mobsters control the town. Telling the tale of casino manager Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) and loose cannon mobster Nicky Santoro (a delightfully explosive Joe Pesci), Casino is one of Scorsese’s great tales of excess and decadence followed by a fall.

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Swingers (1996)

While Doug Liman’s classic Swingers takes place mainly in LA, Rat Pack revivalists Mike and Trent head to Vegas in search for some company, only to crash and burn and return to LA empty-handed.

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Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Director Terry Gilliam adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo, drug fueled misadventures in Sin City shows a side of Vegas you won’t see anywhere else. Filtered through the hallucinatory eyes of a reporter sent to cover a motorcycle rally, the trip quickly derails as Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his extravagant attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) amble through the city bingeing on an alarming amount of psychotropic drugs.

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Go (1999)

Telling three intersecting stories involving plenty of drugs and debauchery, Go features plenty of crazy Vegas antics and misadventures, including mayhem in a strip club, a hotel room set on fire and a bad experience with a seafood buffet.

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The Hangover (2009)

If there’s a movie that exemplifies the spirit Vegas’ slogan of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” it’s Todd Phillips raunchy comedy of a bachelor party gone awry. After accidentally ingesting roofies the night before, 4 friends wake up trying to piece together what happened the night before –and where the groom is.

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