There is a handful of decent movies about gambling and casinos. In fact, it is safe to say that some of these movies can be classified under a genre of their own since they often depict all that one would expect from the world of gambling. These usually range from different kinds of casino games to the atmosphere of the casino spaces and even the lives of the gamblers.
Still, some movies stand among all the rest, and one of the most highly-revered ones is Casino Royale. Not only is Casino Royale considered to be one of the greatest casino movies but it also easily passes as one of the greatest James Bond movies. So, let’s talk about it.
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Casino Royale (2006)
2006’s Casino Royale is widely considered to be the best James Bond reboot for the 21st Century. Now, reboots are usually frowned upon in many instances, but this one happens to be one of the most successful franchise reboots in history.
It was a pretty different take on the story of the iconic spy. The fancy gadgets and the Bond girls were nowhere to be found and instead of several global destinations, most of the action took place in a casino. Most of the film was shot in the Czech Republic, primarily in Prague’s fabled Barrandov Studios where other spy movies including Mission Impossible and the Bourne Identity were shot. Having figured out those key aspects, the next thing that the creators needed to work on was the plot. And they did just that.
(Spoilers ahead in case you have not watched it.)
Casino Royale Plot
Unlike previous 007 films, Casino Royale begins with James Bond having not achieved the 00 status. He, however, does this by killing a rogue British section chief and his subordinate. After this, Bond gets his first mission under the 00 status, and this mission is to forestall Le Chiffre, a terrorist-financing banker.
The mission begins with Bond chasing down a bomb-maker in Madagascar who he ends up killing to obtain information. This then leads him to the Bahamas where, in a poker game, he wins his iconic 1964 Aston Martin DB5 and discovers that Le Chiffre plans to destroy a new plane at the Miami airport. The move was meant to tank the shares of the airport which, as it turns out, Le Chiffre had shorted.
In the classic 007 fashion, James Bond rains on Le Chiffre’s parade by traveling to Miami and thwarting the planned plane crash. The financier is, of course, not very happy about this, especially since he now cannot keep the promise of a huge payout that he had made to some terrorist groups.
Le Chiffre opts to employ his skills as a genius mathematician and poker player in a $10 million buy-in Texas Hold’em tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro in a bid to make up for the lost money. Bond also enters the tournament and the British government sends Vesper Lynd, this film’s version of the bond girl, to deliver the $10 million required to enter the tournament.
The casino action plays out with Bond finding out that one of the players is a CIA Agent and that Le Chiffre has some pretty obvious tells. The financier eventually loses the game and is killed by his own people when he admits that, in exchange for immunity, he was willing to surrender to the British government.
Casino Royale Ending
We still don’t get the happy ending where James Bond walks away with the girl because Lynd who he had grown a liking for betrays him and keeps the money. A pursuit ensues and she ends up dying when a building in Venice sinks into the Grand Canal. 007, however, finds and captures the man who had been behind Le Chiffre all along.
Quite the story, right?
Casino Royale Cast
Here are the cast members (main) of Casino Royale:
- Daniel Craig as James Bond (007): A British MI6 officer who acquires the 00 status who is sent on the path of terrorist financier after some revelations during a mission to arrest a bomb-make in Madagascar.
- Eva Green as Vesper Lynd: Lynd is an agent of the Treasury that is sent to supervise 007 and finance the high stakes poker game he is playing at. She is not the typical bond girl.
- Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre: A genius mathematician, chess, and poker player who is throughout the film considered to be the main villain due to his activities as a financier and banker for terrorists.
- Judi Dench as M: The head of the MI6.
- Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter: A CIA operative that Bond discovers at the poker tables during Le Chiffre’s tournament.
- Giancarlo Giannini as René Mathis: 007’s contact in Montenegro.
- Simon Abkarian as Alex Dimitrios: An associate of Le Chiffre operating from the Bahamas.
- Caterina Murino as Solange Dimitrios: Alex Dimitrio’s wife.
- Ivana Miličević as Valenka: Le Chiffre’s henchwoman and girlfriend who accompanies him to all of the poker games.
- Clemens Schick as Kratt: Le Chiffre’s bodyguard.
- Claudio Santamaria as Carlos: A terrorist Le Chiffre employs to destroy an airplane.
- Isaach de Bankolé as Steven Obanno: One of the Lord’s Resistance Army’s leaders and an associate of Le Chiffre.
- Sébastien Foucan as Mollaka: A bomb maker.
- Malcolm Sinclair as Dryden: A rogue MI6 agent.
- Jesper Christensen as Mr. White.
- Richard Sammel as Gettler.
- Darwin Shaw as Fisher: Dryden’s underground contact.
Where to Watch Casino Royale
Finding Casino Royale being screened at the cinemas is very hard but if you are not all about getting immersed in the cinematic experience you can still find other great places where you can watch the film. As of this writing Casino Royale, and other Daniel Craig-led James Bond films are streaming on several platforms including iTunes, YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, and even Netflix. While this may change from time to time, the movies are brought back from time to time so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy them.
If streaming does not quite cut it for you there is the option to buy or rent the digital or physical copies of the film. The Microsoft Store, for instance, is a great place to check. You can also find it on Blu-ray on Amazon, Best Buy, or even Flipkart.
List of where to watch Casino Royale:
Casino Royale Movies Throughout History
Published back in 1953, Casino Royale original was the first of 12 James Bond blockbuster novels by British writer Ian Fleming. The book introduced the world to the most iconic British spy in history and we get to join him in his adventures. Casino Royale received a ton of favorable reviews and satisfactory sales making the character a household name.
The popularity eventually led up to film adaptations of the book. 2006’s Casino Royale was not the first one – that honor goes to a Casino Royale 1967 film by the same name. This was more of an American spy parody film that was loosely based on Ian Fleming’s first James Bond Novel. The performances by David Niven, Ursula Andress, and Orson Welles as Sir James Bond, Vesper Lynd, and Le Chiffre were very memorable despite the comedic effect. The movie was released on April 13 and turned out to be a financial success, grossing over $41.7 million worldwide. Its soundtrack was also so good that it earned Burt Bacharach an Oscar nomination for one of the songs.
Before the 1967 film, there was yet another adaptation of Ian Fleming’s novel. Known as Casino Royale or Climax! Casino Royale , the first adaption of the book was a live 1954 television show. Barry Nelson plays James Bond and Peter Lorre plays Le Chiffre, giving viewers a glimpse of the life of 007 in three episodes.
Then came the 2006 film which is still considered to be one of the best adaptations of the novel and one of the greatest 007 outings. It completely eclipsed the other movies perhaps because it told the story in a way that conformed to modern film audiences while at the same time staying true to the things that fans of the novel love.
Fun James Bond Facts
The 007 character has been around for several decades now and is set to remain a key part of entertainment culture for even longer. Even after dozens of action-packed films, there is still so much to be learned about James Bond and we are definitely down for the ride.
Who Is James Bond?
James Bond is named after ornithologist Dr. James Bond – Ian Fleming took this out from a birdwatching book that he was reading as he tried to find a name for the hero. However, instead of looking at him from the lens of film and fiction, let’s dive a little deeper.
James Bond is an intelligence officer who works for the Secret Service and is often referred to be the code number 007. He is a heroic spy who takes on the world’s most dangerous criminals and charms his way into the hearts of gorgeous women along the way.
Helping in his world-saving adventures are his advanced spy gadgets and very expensive vehicles. In addition to excelling in solitary sports, the character is also a great runner, swimmer, climber, and diver. As if that is not enough, he is an excellent strategist, detective as well as being very persuasive. He also excels at martial arts, marksmanship, and speaking multiple languages.
How Many James Bonds are There?
Here is a list of the actors that have portrayed James Bond in movies:
- Sean Connery (1962–1967, 1971 and 1983): Many will know him as the actor who was the original James Bond on the big screen.
- David Niven (1967)
- George Lazenby (1969): One of the actors, alongside David Niven, mentioned above, who has played James Bond for the shortest period.
- Roger Moore (1972–1985)
- Timothy Dalton (1986 –1994)
- Pierce Brosnan (1994–2004)
- Daniel Craig (2005 – present)
How Many James Bond Movies are There?
Here is a list of all of the 26 existing James Bond movies:
- Dr. No (1962)
- From Russia with Love (1963)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Thunderball (1965)
- Casino Royale (1967)
- You Only Live Twice (1967)
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
- Live and Let Die (1973)
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Moonraker (1979)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Never Say Never Again (1983)
- Octopussy (1983)
- A View to A Kill (1985)
- The Living Daylights (1987)
- License to Kill (1989)
- GoldenEye (1995)
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
- The World Is Not Enough (1999)
- Die Another Day (2002)
- Casino Royale (2006)
- Quantum of Solace (2008)
- Skyfall (2012)
- Spectre (2015)
Out of all of these movies, the most critically-acclaimed ones are:
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
- Goldfinger (1964)
- Skyfall (2012) (Check out our summary here)
- From Russia With Love (1963)
- Casino Royale (2006)
Is Casino Royale a Great Place to Start?
If you have been itching to explore the world of James Bond then Casino Royale is certainly a great place to start. Whether you prefer the novel, the short-lived television show, or the films, you are in for a treat that will keep you coming back for more. With ‘No Time To Die’, the next James Bond outing just around the corner, now would be a great time to check out all the previous material to catch up.
It’s even better if you are new to it as there is a ton of movies to check out. As if that is not enough, some streaming services including YouTube are offering some of the outings for free streaming as of this writing. What are you waiting for?
Are James Bond Movies on Netflix? As of this writing, Netflix has Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and three Pierce Brosnan flicks including GoldenEye.
Is Casino Royale worth watching? Yes, of course. This amazing blockbuster is all that you need to begin exploring the action-packed adventures of James Bond. It is also a great outing enjoyed by avid 007 fans.
How many Casino Royale films are there? There are currently two Casino Royale films, one released in 1967 and another in 2006.
What was the first James Bond Movie? Dr. No (1962) was the first-ever James Bond movie.
How many actors have played James Bond? James Bond has been played on film by a total of 7 actors.
Who played the first James Bond? Sean Connery, an Academy Award-winning Scottish actor was the first actor to play James Bond on film.
Where was Casino Royale Filmed? 2006’s Casino Royale (most of it) was shot in the Czech Republic – primarily in Prague’s renowned Barrandov Studios.