The movie Casino, released in 1995, is a crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese. Based on the non-fiction book “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas” by Nicholas Pileggi, this is the story of Frank Rosenthal.

casino

In the movie Casino, we see Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Joe Pesci as the mob enforcer Nicholas “Nicky” Santor and Sharon Stone as Rothstein’s wife Ginger McKenna.

Pileggi’s book was developed into a screenplay by Pileggi and Scorcese, who had previously collaborated with each other on the highly acclaimed 1990 movie Goodfellas. Casino is also renowned for being the eight collaboration between Scorcese and Robert De Niro. Prior to starring in Casino, De Niro had played in eight Scorcese-directed movies: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1983), Goodfellas (1990), and Cape Fear (1991).

Scorsese and Pileggi worked with the script for approximately five months. They reshaped the main characters, while other real-life characters were combined to better suit the movie format. Parts of the story that in reality actually took place in Chicago was set to take place in Las Vegas for the movie. To simplify the story further, Sam “Ace” Rothstein was only seen running one casino – the Tangiers – instead of the four casinos run by Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal in real life (Hacienda, Stardust, Fremont and Marina).

The movie was filmed at night in the Riviera casino in Las Vegas. The nearby Landmark Hotel, which at the time of filming was no longer in business, had its entrace modified to create a unique look for the fictional Tangiers Casino.

When the movie was first submitted to the Motion Picture Association of America to be rated, it got an NC-17 rating due to the violent scenes. After several edits, the movie was given the rating R instead.

Casino was a box office success and recieved mostly positive reviews, even though some viewers took umbrage with the massive violence.

You can’t praise highly enough the contributions of the ensemble – De Niro and Pesci especially – but it’s Scorsese’s triumph.” – Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune

Sharon Stone recieved a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her role as Ginger. She was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

Short facts about Casino (1995)

Country United States
Language English
Release date November 22, 1995
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Produced by Barbara De Fina
Production company Syalis D.A.
Légende Entreprises
De Fina / Cappa
Based on “Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas” by Nicholas Pileggi
Screenplay by Nicholas Pileggi
Martin Scorsese
Cinematography Robert Richardson
Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker
Starring Robert De Niro
Sharon Stone
Joe Pesci
Running time 178 minutes
Budget $40–50 million
Box office $116.1 million world wide
U.S. rating R

Cast

Actor Role Based on
Robert De Niro Same “Ace” Rothstein Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal
Joe Pesci Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro Anthony “Tough Tony” Spilotro
Sharon Stone Ginger McKenna Geri McGee
James Woods Lester Diamond Lenny Marmor
Frank Vincent Frankie Marino Frank Cullotta
Don Rickles Billy Sherbert Murray Ehrenberg
L. Q. Jones Pat Webb (the Clark County Commissioner) Shannon Bybee
Kevin Pollak Philip Green Alan Glick
Alan King Andy Stone Allen Dorfman
Pasquale Cajano Remo Gaggi Joseph Aiuppa
John Bloom Donald “Don” Ward
Dick Smothers Harrison Roberts (Nevada State Senator) Harry Reid (former Nevada gaming commissioner and current US Senator)
Philip Suriano Dominick Santoro Michael Spilotro
Bill Allison John Nance George Jay Vandermark
Vinny Vella Artie Piscano Nick Civella
Joseph Rigano Vincent Borelli
Nobu Matsuhisa K.K. Ichikawa
Richard Riehle Charlie “Clean Face” Clark

Plot

Greed, power, deception and violence are recurring themes in Casino. The three main characters are the two mobsters and boyhood friends Sam “Ace” Rothstein and Nicholas “Nicky” Santoro, and Rothstein’s wife Ginger McKenna.

Ace is a gambling handicapper working for a Chicago-based Italian-American organized crime organization (the Chicago Outfit). He moves to Las Vegas to oversee the operations of The Tangiers, a casino controlled by the Chicago Outfit.

casino2Ace hires his old friend Billy Sherbert as manager for The Tangiers. Under Ace’s control, the casino’s profits double, which means that there is even more money to skim off for the outfit. The Chicago Outfit is pleased, and to ensure a continued success for The Tangiers, the outfit sends Nicky, a mob enforcer who just like Ace grew up in Chicago, to protect Ace and the business. Nicky brings a crew that includes his brother Dominick and his friend Frank Marino.

Instead of being an asset for Ace and The Tangiers, Nicky and his crew turns into a liability since they engage in criminal activities without making much effort to hide it. Nicky has a violent and vicious temper and is prone to outburst. The gaming board bans him from every casino in Las Vegas. Nicky opens a jewelery store and a restaurant, and starts carrying out shakedowns and other criminal activities without approval from the Chicago Outfit.

Ace meets a hostess named Ginger McKenna, gets married and has a daughter (Amy) with her. However, Ginger still has strong feelings for her former partner and pimp, Lester Diamond, and Ace catches her giving him money.

Ace fires a slots manager at The Tangiers for incompetence, and refuses to reinstate him. The slot manager is the brother-in-law of Clark County Commissioner Pat Webb, who becomes a powerful enemy of Ace. Ace’s casino license application is pulled from the backlog and Ace is forced to attend a license hearing. Webb also conspires to have the gaming board and State Senator Harrison Roberts reject the license application.

Ace retaliates by going on TV and openly accuse the Las Vegas city government of corruption. The Chicago Outfit is displeased with the attention, and asks him to return to Chicago. Ace refuses, blaming Nicky for all the problems.

Local mobsters are now skimming The Tangiers, which means less money for Chicago. The Chicago Outfit sends Artie Piscano from Kansas to rectify the situation, but he is caught on an FBI bug discussing the skim.

casino1Ginger wants to divorce Ace, but Ace refuses to agree, stating that she is not fit to take care of Amy due to her drug and alcohol abuse. Their marriage is falling apart, but Ginger wont leave without first getting enough money or valuables with her to support her new life. She has an affair with Lester Diamond and then with Nicky. Eventually, Nicky leaves Ginger when he realizes that she wont get any money from Ace. Their affair has been a violation of mob rules.

Ginger is arrested by the FBI for aiding and abetting. The bureau hopes that she will turn against Ace and the mob to save her own skin. She, however, remains silent and refuses to cooperate. Instead, The Tangiers front man Philip Green is the one who decides to work with the police after several casino executives are arrested. Many arrests of prominent casino- and mob figures are made, but Nicky manages to flee Las Vegas in time.

The Chicago Outfit bosses decide to eliminate anyone below them with knowledge of the casino skimming, so that their will no one left to testify.

Ginger dies of an overdose in a motel in Los Angeles, after injecting a combination of heroin and battery acid.

Ace is almost killed by a car bomb, and suspects Nicky to be behind it. Before he can confront his former friend, Nicky is beaten up by his own crew and buried alive in cornfield in Indiana, at the behest of the leaders of the Chicago Outfit.

The formerly mob-controlled and union-owned casinos are purchased by big corporations and demolished to make room for a new family-friendly Las Vegas. Ace moves to California and returns to being a sports handicapper for the mob.

Casino: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

The soundtrack, comprised of two discs and produced by Robbie Robertson, was released by MCA Records on November 20, 1995.

DISC ONE

  1. “Contempt – Theme De Camille” by Georges Delerue
  2. “Angelina/Zooma, Zooma Medley” by Louis Prima
  3. “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters
  4. “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers
  5. “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues
  6. “How High The Moon” by Les Paul & Mary Ford
  7. “Hurt” by Timi Yuro
  8. “Ain’t Got No Home” by Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry
  9. “Without You” by Nilsson
  10. “Love Is the Drug” by Roxy Music
  11. “I’m Sorry” by Brenda Lee
  12. “Go Your Own Way” by Fleetwood Mac
  13. “The Thrill Is Gone” by B.B. King
  14. “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia
  15. “The ‘In’ Crowd” by Ramsey Lewis
  16. “Stardust” by Hoagy Carmichael

DISC TWO

  1. “Walk on the Wild Side” by Jimmy Smith
  2. “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)” by Otis Redding
  3. “I Ain’t Superstitious” by Jeff Beck Group
  4. “The Glory of Love” by The Velvetones
  5. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by Devo
  6. “What a Diff’rence a Day Made” by Dinah Washington
  7. “Working in the Coal Mine” by Lee Dorsey
  8. “The House of the Rising Sun” by The Animals
  9. “Toad” by Cream
  10. “Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)” by Tony Bennett
  11. “Slippin’ and Slidin'” by Little Richard
  12. “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You” by Dean Martin
  13. “Compared to What” (Live) by Les McCann & Eddie Harris
  14. “Basin Street Blues/When It’s Sleepy Time Down South” by Louis Prima
  15. “St. Matthew Passion (Wir setzen uns mit Tränen nieder)” by Johann Sebastian Bach (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Georg Solti)