The crime thriller movie, Casino was released in 1995 yet the fans have time and time again wondered if the story was true or fiction. The two-hour and fifty-eight minutes long movie premiered in the USA on 22nd November 1995 and yes, it’s been years but the question still lingers. Is Casino really based on a true story or is it just a work of fiction?
Directed by Martin Scorsese, Casino starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Kevin Pollak, James Woods, and Sharon Stone in the lead roles. It’s said to be an adaptation of a non-fiction book titled Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas written by Nicholas Pileggi who also played an important role in the film’s production.
Made with a budget of $40 to $50 million, Casino earned $116.1 million at the box office which is a decent figure.
Casino: Plot And Characters
Casino revolves around a gambling expert, Sam Rothstein who is tasked to oversee the casino and hotel operations at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. He starts his work and faces a lot of difficulties both in his professional and personal life as Las Vegas changes over the years.
The character of Sam is inspired by the life of Frank Rosenthal, who was also known as Lefty. He ran the Stardust, Fremont, Marina, and Hacienda casinos in Las Vegas from the year 1968 to 1981.
The other side characters, Nicky Santoro and Ginger McKenna are based on Anthony Spilotro and Geri McGee. Anthony was a mob enforcer and Geri was a former dancer and socialite at the time who married Rosenthal. Another character, Phillip Green is based on Allen Glick who was a casino tycoon and mobster.
As far as the stories are concerned, it’s true that this film was based on a true story but some embellished parts were added for the sake of spice and bringing in more audience.
Is Casino A True Story Or Is It Just A Work Of Fiction?
In real life, Rosenthal never had a gaming license, so he was tasked with other duties such as entertainment director and food and beverage manager. In the film, Rothstein gives us a glimpse of the corruption eating the legal processes at the time which is based on a court case Rosenthal was involved in.
Another scene that is true in the film is the car bombing scene which actually occurred in real life. Rosenthal did survive a car bombing thanks to a metal stabilization plate underneath the driver’s seat that saved his life. It was nothing short of a miracle. Along with this, several of the murders that did take place in real life inspired the events of the film, including the scene when a former casino executive gets killed in his home in Costa Rica.
Is Casino A True Story: Personal Life Of The Gambling Expert
Coming to the personal life of this gambling expert, in the movie, the love triangle between Rothstein, McKenna, and Santoro plays an important role.
Unfortunately, that did happen in real life as sources report that Rosenthal’s ex-wife McGee and Spilotro were in fact engaged in an affair that affected their relationship. Not only that, the affair and love triangle were also frowned upon by the mob which didn’t work well for Rothstein.
Later, in the film when Geri/Ginger dies from a drug overdose in a motel is also said to be true. It’s believed Geri’s death was one of the most tragic moments of Rosenthal’s life which shook him.
Another shocking thing that is shown exactly the way it happened in real life is the death of Santoro and his brother. Anthony Spilotro and his brother were indeed buried in a cornfield in Indiana by mobsters in an act of retaliation.
All in all, there are added bits in Casino for entertainment purposes but most of it is deemed to be true. Casino is available for streaming on Prime Video and Apple TV.