Synopsis and background of "Casino," an intense, brutal, and acclaimed film about the earlier violent Las Vegas casino mob years during the 1970s and 1980s, via Wikipedia: Robert de niro casino movie.
"Casino" is a 1995 American epic crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. It is based on the nonfiction book "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas" by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with Scorsese.
The film marks the eighth collaboration between director Scorsese and De Niro, following "Mean Streets" (1973); "Taxi Driver" (1976); "New York, New York" (1977); "Raging Bull" (1980); "The King of Comedy (1982); "Goodfellas" (1990); and "Cape Fear" (1991).
In "Casino," De Niro stars as Sam "Ace" Rothstein, a Jewish American gambling handicapper who is called by the Chicago Outfit to oversee the day-to-day operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. His character is based on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, who ran the Stardust, Fremont, and Hacienda casinos in Las Vegas for the Chicago Outfit from the 1970s until the early 1980s.
Pesci plays Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro, based on real-life Mob enforcer Anthony Spilotro, a "made man" who could give Ace the protection he needed. Nicky is sent to Vegas to make sure that money from the Tangiers is skimmed off the top and the mobsters in Vegas are kept in line. Sharon Stone plays Ginger McKenna, Ace's scheming, self-absorbed wife, based on Geri McGee.
Casino was released on November 22, 1995, to a mostly positive critical response and was a box-office success. Stone's performance was widely praised, earning her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Other "Casino" cast members included Don Rickles, Alan King, James Woods, Kevin Pollack, L.Q. Jones, John Bloom, Dick Smothers, Pasquale Cajano, Melissa Prophet, and Frank Vincent. Cameos in the film included Frankie Avalon, Oscar Goodman, Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows, and Jerry Vale. Director Scorsese's mother and daughter also had small roles in the film. Several veteran actors cast in the film had performed stand-up comedy at Vegas casinos during the time period of "Casino." All the card dealers in the film actually were Vegas dealers. The film was a huge hit at the box office.
States with casinos
This movie was filmed entirely in the Las Vegas valley. The casino and office scenes were filmed in the famed Riviera Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas strip, and the driving scene in the beginning of the movie was filmed on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas, which is no longer open to automobile traffic.
The casino scenes were shot at the Riviera between 1:00 a.m. and 4 a.m., so as not to get in the way of the real gamblers. Although the casino didn't want the shoot to interrupt its business, that didn't prevent it from trying to lure more punters inside by putting up a large banner that said, "Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci filming the new movie 'Casino' inside!"
To avoid the continuity problems that accompany a chain-smoking movie character, De Niro always held his cigarettes the same distance from the lit end so that their lengths never appear to change.
Most of the conversations between Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were improvised. Martin Scorsese would tell them where to start and where to end. The rest was up to them.
The costume budget for the film was one million dollars. Robert De Niro had seventy different costumes throughout the film, Sharon Stone had forty. Both were allowed to keep their costumes afterwards.
The Senator (Dick Smothers) was partly based on Nevada Senator Harry Reid, who was chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. The scene in which Sam "Ace" Rothstein is denied a license by the Nevada Gaming Commission, was based on a December 1978 hearing, when Harry Reid was the commission's Chairman. Some of Reid's statements were used in Smothers' dialogue. The scene was shot in a real courtroom in the Clark County Courthouse, which was later closed in 2005.
The house used by Sam (Robert De Niro) and Ginger (Sharon Stone) was purchased by ex hip-hop mogul Marion "Suge" Knight in 1996.
Joe Pesci's wife (at the time of filming), Claudia Haro, played Trudy, the co-hostess and band leader of "Ace's High". Haro and Pesci divorced and she remarried. She was convicted in 2000 of two counts of attempted murder for hiring a hitman to try and kill her other ex-husband, a stuntman.
None of the scenes of the bag man going into the counting room to collect the money to bring back to the bosses were actually filmed inside the counting room of the Riviera casino. All of the counting room scenes were filmed on a set that was built, because the movie company was not allowed to film inside the counting room in the real Riviera casino.
The "F" word is said four hundred thirty-five times, including in the narration, 2.4 times per minute on average. The film held the record for the most uses of the word until the release of "Summer of Sam" (1999), which also had a reported four hundred thirty-five uses. The recorded was later broken by "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013), which had nearly six hundred uses.
The jewelry store owner who gets robbed by Nicky's boys is an actual Las Vegas jeweler. His line "I just got a shipment of diamonds from Israel" was not in the script.
The scenes of the casino being imploded at the end of the film were that of The Dunes in October 1993 and January 1994. The spectacular event took place in front of more than 200,000 spectators, and was the first of its kind to create such a spectacle.
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Most of James Woods' lines were improvised, including the phone call with Ginger after her wedding. Originally, Woods was not supposed to speak during that scene. Woods came up with idea that Lester would be with a prostitute and doing cocaine while on the phone with Ginger.
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