Filmed in 1995, Casino is an American mob movie based on the novel Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi. The film was directed by the venerated filmmaker Martin Scorsese and has an all-star cast that includes Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, James Woods, and Kevin Pollak.
There are many different filming locations for Casino featured in this iconic film. Though the script largely indicates the vast majority of the action takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada with a few flashbacks to Chicago, Illinois, the Casino film locations include not only Las Vegas but also several spots in both Southern and Northern California. Interestingly, the Chicago scenes were all filmed at alternate locations.
If mob movies really get your blood going, why not plan a trip to visit Casino locations? Consider our list of some of the best scenes in Casino as a starting point for your itinerary.
Though Casino is a very interesting story, its director Martin Scorsese says the movie does not have an actual plot.
The opening scene in Casino
Main Street Station, 200 North Main Street, Downtown Las Vegas
In the opening scene of Casino, Sam, dressed in a flamingo pink shirt, jacket, and tie and brilliant white pants walks to his car. In a voiceover, he says, “When you love someone, you’ve gotta trust them. There’s no other way. You’ve got to give them the key to everything that’s yours. Otherwise, what’s the point?” He then appears to get into the vehicle which detonates when the key hits the ignition.
The Casino location for this iconic scene is the parking lot of Las Vegas’ Main Street Station, a popular gaming facility in the region. In the distance, the California Hotel and Casino can be seen. Interestingly enough, it took three takes in which three different cars were obliterated until Scorsese felt the scene was perfect. The shot was filmed to the southwest of the building.
To visit the site of this well-known scene, take bus line 116 north from the Fashion Show Mall. This bus route is inexpensive at only approximately $2 round trip and will take you to within a few blocks of this casino and hotel that can be seen from the downtown core. To get an up-close view, you can travel the rest of the distance on foot or hail a cab.
Sam and Ginger meet scene in Casino
Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge, 2985 Las Vegas Boulevard South, Las Vegas
In this Casino scene, Sam meets Ginger for the first time. She is beautiful, alluring, and driven by money. He watches her as she seductively entices a player at one of the tables to bet more on the game. Sam and Ginger meet and are soon passionately kissing in a banquette. This scene unfolds:
Sam, in voiceover: What a move. I fell in love right there. But in Vegas, for a girl like Ginger, love costs money.
Ginger: I’m gonna go powder my nose. (Sam hands her some money, and she makes a coy face at him that indicates he hasn’t given her enough. He hands her some more money, and she smiles and walks away).
Sam: Ginger’s mission in life was money.
Ginger: I’ll be right back.
The Peppermill Restaurant and Fireside Lounge is found about 11 minutes outside the heart of Sin City. The easiest way to get here is by taking I-15 to the Exit for Las Vegas Boulevard S until you reach Winchester which is only a few hundred feet from the doors to this eatery.
Nicky stabs someone with a pen scene in Casino
Atomic Liquors, 917 Fremont St, Las Vegas
Who can forget the Casino production scene where Nicky loses his temper and stabs a man to death with his own pen? This film shoot at a dive bar in Las Vegas, Atomic Liquors is well-known as one of the oldest drinking establishments in the city. In this sickening scene, Nicky and Sam are standing by the bar, engaging in conversation with several different people. Sam notices a man’s pen on the bar and asks him about it. The following conversation takes place between the two:
Sam, speaking to an unfamiliar man named Joe: Is this yours? Your pen?
Joe: Yeah, that’s my pen. Why?
Sam: No, it’s a nice pen. I just didn’t know whose it was. I thought it was yours. I didn’t want it to get lost.
Joe: Well, thank you. Why don’t you take that f**n’ pen and shove it up your a**, you f**n’ j*rkoff.
Nicky shoves Sam and Joe’s friend out of the way, grabs the pen, and repeatedly stabs Joe in the neck with it. This scene is the perfect illustration of Nicky’s volatile temper and poor judgment, a theme that plays out in many Casino action scenes.
Just a three-minute trip from Sin City’s downtown core, you can easily reach Atomic Liquors on foot. Travel southeast along E Freemont Street, making a right at 917. You will find this popular dive bar on the left-hand side of the street.
Sam and Ginger fight over her neglect of Amy scene in Casino
Oscar’s Steakhouse, Plaza Hotel, 1 S Main Street, Las Vegas
Sam arrives at the restaurant to speak to Ginger and meets Nicky at the door. Nicky asks him not to make a scene though Sam is obviously very upset. Sam approaches Ginger and takes a seat in a booth across from her. She is obviously drunk and on drugs. They engage in the following dialogue:
Ginger, smoking a cigarette and obviously high: Hi, Sam.
Sam: Are you out of your f-ing mind? You tie up our kid and lock the f-ing door? That’s our child. Are you out of your f-ing mind?
Ginger: It was just for a little while, Sam. The babysitter wasn’t there.
Sam: I ought to f-ing have you committed. You f-ing do that again, I’ll…
Ginger: I was gonna be out for a little while. She was asleep. I was gonna be right back before she even woke up.
Filmed in the Plaza Hotel’s Oscar Steakhouse, a crystal-clear view was once afforded visitors via the stunning light display on Fremont Street. Today, the view is largely obscured by an attraction called the SlotZilla zip line. Oscar’s Steakhouse is only 4 minutes from the heart of downtown Las Vegas. To get there, travel northwest on Las Vegas Boulevard, taking a right onto E. Bridger Avenue then another right onto South Main Street. A final left will take you to the doors of 1 S Main Street, the location of Oscar’s Steakhouse inside the historic Plaza Hotel.
Ginger overdoses and dies in a hotel hallway scene in Casino
El Cortez Hotel, 651 East Ogden Avenue, Las Vegas
dazed, and obviously quite high. After staggering way down the hallway, clutching the wall to keep upright, Ginger collapses and dies.
Sam, in voice over: After Ginger took off, she wasn’t much good to anybody. She found some pimps, lowlifes, druggies, and bikers in L.A. In a few months, they went through all the money and all the jewels.”
Found directly within the city’s downtown core, it is just a short walk from the heart of Sin City to El Cortez Hotel. You can also travel there by bus, taxi, or shuttle. Though this hotel may have been rather rundown in the 90s when Casino was filming, it has undergone a major renovation is now quite beautiful.
Nicky is forced to watch Dominick beaten to death scene in Casino
Rocking K Arena, 6500 Rio Vista Street, Las Vegas
One of the most difficult scenes to watch in this movie is the footage of Nicky’s brother Dominick being beaten to death with baseball bats while he is forced to observe, knowing he will suffer the same punishment next. A Casino film set built in the Vegas desert to resemble an Indiana cornfield, the reconstruction of the premises is nothing short of a masterpiece.
In this scene, we see Nicky, Dominick, and members of the Chicago crew gathered in a remote, rural location. Nicky believes he has organized a meeting to discuss business but soon discovers the nefarious intentions of the Chicago henchmen: to brutally execute and then bury the two brothers.
Dominick is restrained and then hit over the head with a baseball bat while Nicky is held back and forced to watch. Dominick struggles and yells expletives at his attackers to which Frank Marino responds, “Tough guy! You and your f-ing brother. Scumbag!” The two brothers are beaten to death and then buried beneath a thin covering of dirt.
Transport to the Rocking K Arena is easily accessed by taking bus lines 106 or 120.
Casino is a film that is beloved by audiences and critics alike. A massive box office success on a global scale, this fan favorite mobster film has stood the test of time. Though Casino is set largely in Las Vegas and Chicago, several places were used as locations for the various scenes in this film including Northern and Southern California. If Casino tops your list of all-time fave movies, why not consider a trip to visit the places where the most memorable scenes from this film occurred?