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best books and movies set in Vegas

Las Vegas, often referred to as Sin City, is a city of contrasts. It’s a place where dreams are made and broken, where fortunes are won and lost, and where the line between reality and fantasy blurs. From the glitzy lights of the Strip to the gritty underbelly of the desert, Las Vegas has been a captivating setting for numerous books and movies that explore its unique identity. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best books and movies, in our opinion, set in the enigmatic city of Las Vegas.

best books and movies set in Vegas

Books

1. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” by Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson’s iconic novel takes readers on a wild ride through the heart of Las Vegas as journalist Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo embark on a drug-fueled journey to cover a motorcycle race. It’s a satirical exploration of the American Dream and the excesses of Las Vegas culture.

2. “Casino” by Nicholas Pileggi

This non-fiction book provides a gripping account of the rise and fall of mob-controlled casinos in Las Vegas during the 1970s and 1980s. It offers a detailed look at the inner workings of the casino industry and the criminal underworld that operated behind the scenes.

3. “The Neon Rain” by James Lee Burke

Follow detective Dave Robicheaux as he investigates a series of murders in New Orleans and Las Vegas, delving into the city’s seedy underbelly and exploring themes of corruption, redemption, and justice.

4. “Crazy in Love” by Frankie Boyle

This outrageous romantic comedy follows a recently divorced woman who goes to Las Vegas to win back her ex-husband. It’s full of Las Vegas shenanigans and dark humor, but also has a surprisingly sweet center.

5. “Las Vegas Noir” edited by Jarret Keene and Todd James Pierce

This anthology of short stories offers a noir-inspired glimpse into the darker side of Las Vegas, exploring themes of crime, deception, and the allure of the city’s glamorous facade.

6. “Casino Royale” by Ian Fleming

James Bond finds himself in Las Vegas in this classic novel, engaging in a high-stakes game of baccarat against the villainous Le Chiffre at the fictional Casino Royale.

7. “Vegas Knights” by Matt Forbeck

Enter a world of urban fantasy as supernatural beings navigate life in Las Vegas, protecting the city from various supernatural threats while embracing the complexities of Sin City.

8. “Bringing Down the House” by Ben Mezrich

This true story follows a group of MIT students who use card-counting techniques to win millions of dollars at blackjack tables in Las Vegas, exploring their exploits and the ethical dilemmas they face.

best books and movies set in Vegas

Movies

1. “Casino” (1995): 

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this crime drama stars Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci and chronicles the rise and fall of a mob-controlled casino empire in Las Vegas.

2. “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995)

Nicolas Cage delivers a powerful performance as a suicidal alcoholic who forms a relationship with a prostitute, played by Elisabeth Shue, in this poignant romantic drama directed by Mike Figgis.

3. “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)

George Clooney leads a star-studded cast in this stylish heist film directed by Steven Soderbergh, as a team of professional thieves plans to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

4. “Rain Man” (1988)

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman star as estranged brothers on a road trip to Las Vegas, where Hoffman’s remarkable memory is put to the test at the blackjack tables in this heartwarming drama directed by Barry Levinson.

5. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998)

Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro star in this surreal adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, depicting their drug-fueled journey through Las Vegas.

6. “The Cooler” (2003)

William H. Macy and Maria Bello star in this romantic drama about a “cooler” employed by a Las Vegas casino who finds his luck changing when he falls in love.

7. “Last Vegas” (2013)

Join four lifelong friends, played by Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline, as they reunite in Las Vegas for a bachelor party in this comedy directed by Jon Turteltaub.

8. “21” (2008)

Based on a true story, this heist film follows a group of students who use card-counting techniques to win big at Las Vegas casinos.

9. “The Hangover” (2009)

Join a group of friends as they embark on a hilarious journey through Las Vegas, piecing together the events of a wild night before a wedding in this comedy directed by Todd Phillips.

10. “Swingers” (1996)

Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn star in this indie comedy about struggling actors navigating the dating scene in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

From the glitz and glamour of the Strip to the gritty reality of life in the desert, these books and movies capture the essence of Las Vegas in all its complexity, making them essential viewing and reading for anyone fascinated by the allure of Sin City. Whether exploring the highs of winning big or the lows of hitting rock bottom, these stories offer a compelling glimpse into the world of Las Vegas, where anything is possible and everything is on the line.

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