Movies have used the excitement of Las Vegas casinos and hotels as backdrops countless times over the years in the history of cinematography. It’s a wonderful place to shoot movies because Vegas has endless amounts of personality. Not to mention, world-wide audiences are in love with the thrill of gambling and the beauty of over-the-top luxury hotels that you can find in this city in the middle of the desert.
“Hollywood has really immortalized the world of Las Vegas gambling and casinos, in a way that we look back upon and romanticize”, says Lucian Marinescu, managing partner at Online Casino Gems. In fact, the hotels themselves are so lavish, colorful, and full of life that they easily become characters themselves.
Many famous hotels and casinos featured in movies are still running today. You can book yourself a room at the hotel featured in one of your favorite movies and walk the same footsteps as Hollywood elite actors and actresses. Here is a list of iconic Las Vegas hotels where some of your favorite movies have been filmed over the years.
In the movie Oceans 11 (both the original and the 2001 trilogy remake) a grifter named Danny Ocean puts together a team to pull off the biggest heist in history. They plan to rob not one but three prominent Las Vegas casinos. A good chunk of the movie takes place in The Bellagio with the Mirage and MGM Grand also making appearances.
You can book a room at The Bellagio and reclaim a bit of that movie magic for yourself. The Bellagio is a resort, luxury hotel, and casino right on the Las Vegas Strip. It is home to the famous Bellagio dancing fountain with synchronized music. It’s home to Cirque de Soleil’s show “O”.
This compound is roughly the size of a small city with 4,000 guest rooms and a 636,000 square foot shopping mall. That’s not even including the casino where you can gamble the night away in opulence. According to Forbes, this hotel and casino changed the game back in 1966 when it opened and became the first themed hotel in Vegas. It was designed with a Greco-Roman theme to make you feel like ancient royalty.
As if it wasn’t already famous enough, Caesars played a big role in the smash-hit comedy The Hangover with Brandley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. They stayed in a hilariously expensive room called The Forum Tower Emperor Suite which is a fictitious room so you can’t actually stay there. The room, however, is based on the many luxury suites found at the hotel. In one iconic hotel moment, Zach’s character Alan looks around the lobby and asks “Did the real Caesar Stay here?” Caesars Palace was also showcased in Rain Man where a pair of miss-matched brothers do a little card counting while in Vegas. There is a memorable scene from that movie where Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman, the two stars, ride down the escalator in identical outfits.
The Mirage is an upscale mega-report with its own working volcano and a Cirque de Soleil show. It has a huge outdoor pool complex with a dolphin habitat and a 90-foot garden atrium full of tropical splendor. The hotel rooms are modern and full of amenities like flat-screen TVs, electronic wall safes, and well-stocked minibars.
The Mirage is also known for its large poker room which is maybe why the high stakes poker movie Rounders features this location. Rounders is a gambling movie made in 1998 that stars Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and Gretchen Mol. This movie is about a law school student who gets sucked into big stakes poker to help a friend pay off his gambling debt. The Mirage is also one of the casinos featured in Oceans 11 when George Clooney and Brad Pitt team up to rob the joint.
The MGM Grand
Wrapping up our third and final hotel and casino from the Oceans 11 movie, The MGM Grand has hosted quite a few Hollywood tales. It was also featured in the movie Casino and in the comedy Vegas Vacation.
The MGM Grand is featured in the NY Times list of best Vegas hotels and is the single largest hotel in the United States. It boasts 6,852 rooms with 5 outdoor pools, rivers, and waterfalls. It’s known for its grand spa and many shops and restaurants. The MGM Grand once featured a glass lion habitat inside the casino with close-up viewing but it closed down permanently during renovations in 1999. There is a section of villas called “The Mansion at MGM Grand” which are reserved for VIPs and celebrities where the room prices range from $5,000 to $35,000 a night.
Planet Hollywood, formerly called The Aladdin, is owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It includes the now-famous “miracle mile shops” and takes on a hip Hollywood theme throughout. There is colorful art-deco glamour and plenty of glass. You can dance the night away at one of the on-site night clubs such as Koi Lounge or feast on a Gordon Ramsay Burger. If the romantic mood strikes you while in Vegas you can even get married at the Chapel At Planet Hollywood right inside the hotel.
One of the most famous gambling movies to be filmed at Planet Hollywood is 21 which stars Kevin Spacey and is a retelling of a true story of MIT students who count cards. It’s also featured in What Happens In Vegas, Race To Witch Mountain, Knocked Up, and Get Him To The Greek. Planet Hollywood has also been known to host red carpet movie premiers and other exciting star-studded events.