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Trivia / Casino

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Robert De Niro decided that Ace should hound Ginger about every last dollar she spent.
    • The sunglasses that Ace wears in the scene when he meets Nicky in the desert were selected by De Niro.
  • Award Category Fraud: Sharon Stone's performance was phenomenal and well-deserving of a nomination, but some felt it should have been for Supporting rather than Lead.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: When James Woods heard that Martin Scorsese was interested in working with him, Woods called Scorsese's office and left the following message: "Any time, any place, any part, any fee."
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  • California Doubling: In addition to playing itself, Las Vegas doubles for Kansas City, Chicago, and San Diego.
  • Cast the Expert:
    • Frank Cullotta was a longtime Vegas enforcer whose character, renamed Frank Marino, figures heavily in the film. Cullotta himself shows up in two scenes near the end as a hitman taking out different characters.
    • Oscar Goodman, who plays Sam Rothstein's attorney, is in real life a lawyer who defended several reputed mobsters with Las Vegas connections. In June of 1999, he was elected Mayor of Las Vegas.
    • The jewellery store owner who gets robbed by Nicky's boys is an actual Las Vegas jeweler. His line "I just got a shipment of diamonds from Israel" was not in the script.
  • The Danza: Frank Vincent as Frank Marino.
  • Doing It for the Art: Sharon Stone once told her acting coach, "I want to be good enough to work with Robert De Niro."
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  • Enforced Method Acting: Joe Pesci's ribs were broken during the scene where his character is forced to watch his brother be killed in front of him. His screams of pain as one of his former goons is on-top of him are real. Scorsese thought his "acting" wasn't good and screamed "Be in the moment! Be in the moment!"
  • Fake Nationality: The Jewish-American mobster Sam "Ace" Rothstein and his real-life counterpart Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal are played by Italian-American actor Robert De Niro.
  • Follow the Leader: This is a movie very much in the style of Goodfellas, with a similar narrative arc, characters, structure and editing, something it got a fair bit of criticism for when it came out. Martin Scorsese has since admitted in interviews that the film was a studio assignment for Universal, who wanted Goodfellas but, y'know, for them, and who got together that film's director (Scorsese), screenwriter (Nicholas Pileggi, again writing based on a non-fiction book he wrote about mob activities in the '70s) and a big chunk (Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci) of the cast.
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  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Most of the conversations between Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were improvised. Martin Scorsese would tell them where to start and where to end. The rest was up to them.
  • Playing Against Type: Scorcese cast a few comedians in very non-comedic roles.
    • Don freaking Rickles in a Scorsese movie? Playing an intimidating mob collaborator? More to the point, none of his classic caustic humor shows up and he plays him as a serious yet loyal and sympathetic number two to Ace.
    • Alan King plays the mob facilitator Andy Stone.
    • Dick Smothers plays a corrupt Nevada senator.
    • Kevin Pollak plays Tangiers titular head Philip Green.
    • John Bloom, aka Joe Bob Briggs, plays the doofus nephew of a senator who works at the Tangiers.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Joe Pesci's wife (at the time of filming), Claudia Haro, played Trudy, the co-host/band-leader of Ace's High. Haro and Pesci divorced, and she remarried Garrett Warren. She was convicted in 2000 of two counts of attempted murder for hiring a hitman to kill Warren.
    • Martin Scorsese's mother Catherine cameos as Artie Piscano's mother, it was her eighth and final cameo role in any of her son's films.
    • Martin's daughter Cathy plays Artie's daughter.
  • Reality Subtext: Scorsese doesn't share the nostalgia for the Glory Days of Vegas in The '70s. But Scorsese was a part of the New Hollywood movement, a period where filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas ran wild with innovative and provocative movies like Apocalypse Now or Taxi Driver, an era which was a sort of Wild West of filmmaking, with runaway budgets and the rise of The Auteur Theory. A series of big-budget bombs like Spielberg's 1941, Coppola's One from the Heart, Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate and Scorsese's own New York, New York, however, saw the New Hollywood era come to an abrupt end — auteur theory lost out to tight studio control and directors were never again given the same budgets or creative freedom. With that in mind, Casino's lament on the death of the old Las Vegas takes on a whole new meaning.
    "It should have been so sweet, too. But it turned out to be the last time that street guys like us were ever given anything that fuckin' valuable again."
  • Surprisingly Lenient Censor: Martin Scorsese stated before the film's release that he created the "head in the vise" scene as a sacrifice, certain the MPAA would insist it be cut. He hoped this would draw fire away from other violent scenes that would seem less so by comparison. When the MPAA made no objection to the vise scene, he left it in, albeit slightly edited.
  • Technology Marches On: Blackjack dealers never have to lift their cards anymore with digital scanning technology now available.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Most of James Woods' lines were improvised. Including the phone call with Ginger after her wedding. Originally, Woods was not supposed to speak during that scene. Woods came up with idea that Lester would be with a prostitute and doing cocaine while on the phone with Ginger.
    • Robert De Niro's tirade at the incompetent casino employee played by Joe Bob Briggs was partly improvised, which includes calling Briggs a "momo." After the take, Scorsese asked De Niro what a "momo" is, and De Niro answered that he wasn't sure.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: In the end, Ace laments that Vegas has become more like a family amusement park, pointing to then-new casinos like Excalibur and Treasure Island. Since that time, Vegas has pulled back on its attempts to be kid friendly, and these casinos have rebranded themselves to feel more hip and adult.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Written by Cast Member: The scene between Sam and Pat Webb in Ace's office was rewritten by L.Q. Jones upon Martin Scorsese's request because Scorsese felt that he had not written the western cowboy character very well.


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