Film / California Split

"...being the story of two bet-on-anything guys who happily discover something called a winning streak."

The tagline isn't quite accurate, but this 1974 Robert Altman film is nonetheless full of gambling, gambling, and more gambling.

Charlie Waters (Elliott Gould) and Bill Denny (George Segal) ride the highs and (mostly) lows of cards, ponies and general hustling. Mostly remembered for its innovative approach to sound mixing, the film features a witty script and excellent acting from the two leads.

This film has examples of the following tropes:

  • The Gambling Addict: Both main characters could adequately be described thusly.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Not just one, but two.
  • Loan Shark: The film's writer, Joseph Walsh, has a terrifying turn as a bookie who only seems nice.
  • The Piano Player: Phyllis Shotwell, an actual Reno casino pianist/singer, whose songs are interspersed with the action and serve as the film's score.
  • Los Angeles: And what a strange town it is.