11 Dec

26 Behind the Scenes Facts from the Movie Casino

11:08 July 21, 2021 1 2941
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The entertaining and slightly crazy spirit of Las Vegas has always intrigued many people; however, few of them think about the mafia nature of the legendary gambling capital. Martin Scorsese understood this and decided to reflect these aspects in his movie Casino, which amazed the audience with its realism and fascinating criminal plot.

 Millions of moviegoers adore this piece for its marvellous acting, and if you have similar feelings towards this iconic movie, our behind-the-scenes facts selection will undoubtedly entertain you.

26 Behind-the-Scenes Facts from the Movie Casino

1. If you thought that the writers created all the movie’s characters, this is not the case. Martin Scorsese used Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, who ran several casinos in Sin City over 40 years ago, as the inspiration for Sam “Ace” Rothstein. His impulsive friend Nicky and beloved wife Ginger were also based on real people: Geri McGee and Anthony Spilotro.

2. Sharon Stone handled the role of Ginger McKenna wonderfully, but the actress was truly nervous about the phone booth scene. The movie’s director decided to support the actress and continued to hold her hand throughout the entire scene, even though he had to sit on the floor to stay out of the frame.

3. Since the movie’s central gambling location was the Riviera Hotel, the establishment’s owners benefited from this situation. They decided to attract more customers by notifying them that famous actors had come to the hotel to shoot the film. This trick worked perfectly, and the number of curious visitors increased significantly.

4. While some viewers find the car explosion scene too unrealistic due to Sam’s surviving experience, it is pretty authentic. The thing is that the mercenaries tried to kill Frank Rosenthal in the same way, and they also failed. His car had a special metal plate that was installed under the driver’s seat, and this plate proved to be life-saving for Frank.

5. The movie’s director realized that the vice scene was overly violent and wanted to use it as a distraction for the MPAA rating system. He believed that if MPAA removed this scene from the final cut, then the rest of the film’s violent scenes would get a green light from it. As you know, his plan did not work, and the MPAA allowed Scorsese to utilize the scene.

6. Sharon Stone seems like the perfect actress to play Ginger, but she was not the only star to cast. Wildly famous and recognized beauties like Madonna, Cameron Diaz and Nicole Kidman also wanted to try themselves in the elite prostitute role. 

7. Martin Scorsese wanted to make his casino scenes as authentic as possible. With this in mind, he relied on dealers and pit bosses who actually worked at the Riviera. Although the director did not use real staff in all scenes, the actors involved did not need to learn how to play certain card games or skillfully handle the cards.

8. Many people will surely remember this film for Sam Rothstein’s various costumes and his beautiful wife’s lovely dresses. In fact, Sharon Stone had 40 stage costumes, and Robert De Niro had 70 clothing variations. Such an expansive and exclusive wardrobe was worth $1 million, which was an insane expense considering that the film’s total budget was $52 million.

9. Profanity was one of the movie’s main attributes. Actors dropped F-bombs left and right during filming. As a matter of fact, if you spread all 435 times they used F words over the length of the movie evenly, viewers could hear this swearing every 3 seconds.

10. The love triangle that the movie’s main characters end up with is not the scriptwriter’s idea. The basis for this affair is also a real-life story. After Geri broke up with Rosenthal, she allegedly had a relationship with her ex-husband’s friend, Anthony.

11. Oscar Goodman, who defended “Ace” in the movie’s courtroom, is actually a respected lawyer. Moreover, he even successfully represented some mafia members and won the election for mayor of Las Vegas in 1999.

12. Directors often use actors’ improvisational dialogues in their works, and Casino is no exception in this regard. Scorsese allowed Robert and Joe Pesci to show off their acting talents and included many improvisational moments in the final cut. As you can see, this approach not only justified but also exceeded the audience’s expectations.

13. K.K. Ichikawa’s character also had a real-life prototype. It was a man named Akio Kashiwagi who visited gambling establishments pretty often and had multimillion-dollar debt in the 70s. As a result, Akio made many enemies for his irresponsible lifestyle, and the Japanese mafia killed him in the early 90s.

14. The narrator tells the audience that no one can enter the counting room with the casino’s earning at the beginning of the film, and Riviera did not abandon this rule even for filming. Consequently, the film crew created a fake room and used it for the needed scenes. Since access to such counting rooms is closed to mere mortals, the audience did not notice this replacement.  

15. Although reckless actions lead Nicky Santoro to the gambling capital’s Black Book, the writers did not borrow this idea from real life. Actually, Sam Rothstein should have been banned because his prototype Frank “Lefty” really forced casinos to blacklist him. However, Martin Scorsese decided to adapt this real story’s piece in his own way.

16. Even though the film crew was looking for experienced gamblers who could share a few tricks and cheating methods, this task became impossible. Players stubbornly refused to provide producers with such sensitive information, as they realized that this could draw unwanted attention to them.

17. What also added some points regarding authenticity to the film was assistance from real criminals and the FBI. The director wanted to get more information about the various nuances of the criminal underworld, and his meticulous approach to creating a realistic atmosphere certainly paid off.

18. The film got another brilliantly played character thanks to James Woods’s tenacity. Once he found out that Martin Scorsese would like to work with him in his new work, James reached out to the director and got the role of Lester Diamond, who was trying to escape with Ginger and her daughter to Europe. James improvised a lot and ended up making his character incredibly believable.

19. The death of Sam’s wife due to a drug overdose was based on the real-life story too. Rosenthal’s ex-wife, Gigi, abused drugs, and this addiction also led her to a sad end.

20. Martin Scorsese wanted to make the collapsing casino scene more realistic, so he added the explosion footage of the legendary Las Vegas hotel, the Dunes, to the movie. This hotel had been hosting from 1955 to 1993 and was one of the most recognizable symbols of Sin City.

21. As we already know, the director did not hesitate to add incredibly violent scenes to the movie, and the death of the “Ace’s” friend, Nicky, confirmed this once again. After a failed murdering attempt on Sam Rothstein, Frank Marino attacked Santoro and his brother and then buried them alive in the Nevada desert. According to many reliable sources, Joe Pesci’s character prototype, Anthony Spilotro, and his brother were killed in the same way.

22. Robert De Niro is a true cinema legend, and he approached his roles with a special passion. The actor wanted to understand Frank Rosenthal as best he could to embody him on the screen in a detailed and realistic way, so he met with “Lefty” and discussed his upcoming role in the Casino movie.

23. If you wondered why the director decided to use the song “Stardust” three times in the movie, he wanted to refer to the casino of the same name. Some scenes of the piece took place in The Tangiers casino, and Scorsese wanted to tell the audience that he based this nonexistent establishment on the story of the popular resort casino Stardust.

24. Sharon Stone looked gorgeous in her shiny white dress. But as one expression says - beauty requires sacrifice - and the actress surely agreed with this statement. This stunning outfit weighed 45 pounds, and Sharon felt significant back pain from the massive weight that re-aggravated her old injury.

25. Another curious fact about the iconic Niki Santoro murder scene is that Joe Pesci did get hurt during filming. Joe broke his rib when mafia killers pushed him into a prepared grave. Moreover, the actor has already broken the same rib while working with Scorsese on the set of another iconic work, Raging Bull.

 26. Do you remember the scene in which Rothstein’s wife returned home and shocked her neighbours with a public hysteria? The cops who came to solve this situation were actually real. Scorsese hired them to guard the filming locations and decided to use them in the movie.

Given the information mentioned above, it should come as no surprise that Casino is the most atmospheric crime drama about Las Vegas. Martin Scorsese brought together amazing talented actors, who played their roles perfectly, on one movie set. Moreover, his scrupulous approach to the filming process and daring directorial decisions made this piece an iconic work that would forever remain one of the best film representations of the shady and intriguing gambling world.


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  • Miguel Barrington
    Love this movie. I think I watched it at least ten or more times. Never get bored of such an exciting plot. Would recommend it to everyone who is in love with action and gambling!

Of current interest

Frequently asked questions

Yes. The Sharon won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 1996.Yes. The Sharon won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 1996.

The movie’s total budget was $52 million.

Yes. However, the director did not adhere to the real story to the full extent.

Sam went on to determine the winners in San Diego.