Cityscapes, skylines and landmarks are surefire ways to connect movie audiences with storylines. The movie industry seemingly has a love affair with Las Vegas. Since 1952 there have been more than 70 film releases all using this Sin City as a backdrop. The iconic lights, slot machines and Blackjack tables, the grandiose hotels and the vintage personality of this desert town draw reason enough for movie producers to film here. From the Elvis years to today’s “bromantic” comedies, here are some of the very places where directors and favorite actors spent time making movie magic. Not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
The Hangover (2009)

Find three groomsmen and one groom-to-be on a road trip to Vegas. These bros seek pre-wedding adventures in The Hangover staying and wreaking havoc on the strip.  Funnymen Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, and Bradley Cooper ultimately lose the groom portrayed by Justin Bartha at Caesars Palace with shots of the guys checking into the resort’s grandiose lobby, and dining at the elegant Grecian-style pools.  The casino shots, elevator scene and resort signage are backdrops to the funny shenanigans that the Wolf Pack indulge in. Additionally audiences find the guys roaming and shooting craps at the casino of Riviera Hotel & Casino, and the guys stopped to fill up the 1969 Mercedes Benz convertible at the Jean Fuel West Shell while on the way into Las Vegas.

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Led by dapper “Danny” played by George Clooney, the Ocean’s Eleven light-hearted remake is about a team including Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon and Elliot Gould just to name a few. These modern day thieves take on Las Vegas by simultaneously robbing The Bellagio run by Andy Garcia’s “Terry Benedict” of hundreds of millions. Much of the movie is filmed at The Bellagio where audiences will recognize the lobby, the hotel’s prized glass sculpture chandelier of 2,000 glass flower blossoms created by Dale Chihuly. One of the more iconic scenes from the film set at the resort’s famous dancing Fountains of Bellagio with the cast sans Clooney, reveling in the winnings until next time. Ocean’s Thirteen utilized Mandalay Bay’s Mix Lounge as The Bank, the fictitious casino where the next heist goes down.

Honeymoon In Vegas (1992)

Honeymoon in Vegas starring Nicolas Cage, James Caan and Sarah Jessica Parker uses the lights and flash of Las Vegas, the Strip and Bally’s Casino as the backdrop to this romantic comedic story.  Jack Singer (Cage) averse to marriage ends up proposing to Betsy (Parker) and together they jet set from NYC to Las Vegas to elope. Bally’s serves as the set location for when Jack gambles and ultimately loses $65,000 to pro gambler Tommy Korman. (Caan) Jack loans out Betsy as collateral to Tommy while he tries to turn his luck all the while realizing he may have lost his fiancé forever.  The movie’s scene stealing moment takes place over the neon lit Las Vegas strip when Jack skydives with a group of flying Elvis impersonators who soar over Dunes Hotel which is now the Bellagio. It’s a Hollywood ending because true love is how Jack wins back Betsy.

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Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever, one of the famous films in the James Bond movie franchise, starring Sean Connery and Jill St. John brings audience to Las Vegas. The spies set out to catch the thieves who are smuggling shipments of South African diamonds. Together Bond and Case team up and travel to Las Vegas, where Case ends up at the Circus Circus hotel. She receives intel that the diamonds are hiding within the water balloon game at the hotel casino. The 60s balloon game is still there today and gamers are invited to play for just one dollar. On the hunt to track down the jewels, Bond makes a gambling stop at the fictitious Whyte House also known as the Las Vegas Hilton, which is only used for exterior shots. The Riviera Hotel and Casino interior is actually used as the backdrop where Bond plays craps.

Casino (1995)

Based on the real lives of Vegas mobsters Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, Martin Scorsese’s film Casino entices audiences with a dark perspective of casinos, mobsters and corruption. Las Vegas makes an appearance 33 times throughout the film. While up-and-coming mobster Sam “Ace” Rothstein (Robert De Niro) is named boss of the Tangiers Casino (played by Bally’s Las Vegas, Riviera Hotel & Casino, and The Jockey Club), his boyhood buddy Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) and girlfriend Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) bookend him through a mobster glamorous life and the extreme perils of running a casino. Restaurants played a big part in the film as well including scene taking place at Tony Roma’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Piero’s Restaurant.

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Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.