A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie tells the story of Las Vegas and the people who ran it, by legitimate means and otherwise. Mob rule and mob violence run through the film. There are several shootings and killings, and a few graphic and upsetting scenes of torture. Relationships, romantic and otherwise, are also at the film's center, and there are several sex scenes, with some female semi-nudity. A female character is referred to as a "hustler" and marries a man for his wealth and power. There is strong language throughout the film. One of the characters has a drug and alcohol problem, and most characters drink. There are some upsetting scenes of a child endangered by the neglect of a parent. Corruption and outright larceny are part of character lifestyles. It's worth noting that most characters suffer for their vices.
What's the story?
Sam "Ace" Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) is an honest man in a city of corruption, but his efforts to fly straight as a casino boss are upset by his wife Ginger (Sharon Stone) and psychopathic childhood friend Nicky (Joe Pesci). Sam follows rules, respects competence and loyalty, and works hard. Nicky relies on strong-arm tactics to build his own empire of riches and fear. Complicating the lives of both men is Ginger, formerly an independent and shrewd "hustler" on the casino circuit who agrees to marry Sam for security, and soon loses her happiness and sanity along with her freedom.
Is it any good?
For all of its violence and tragedy, this is a beautiful, often exuberant movie. It has a relentless soundtrack of jazz and classic rock, and moments of humor and goodwill. Older teens and parents might enjoy this film; younger and more sensitive viewers will find it too upsetting.
CASINO is a film by legendary director Martin Scorsese, who is famous for the movies Taxi Driver and Scarface. Scorsese has an enduring interest in the lives and workings of underworld figures and their lives, blown up to epic proportions, and Casino is no exception. The rise and fall of Sam's Tangeirs casino is told in different narrative voices and vignettes so that the nearly three-hour long film never becomes dull. The tension between Nicky and Sam, the narrators, grows as their ways of running business become more and more different.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the competing forces of good and bad that all of the characters face. Who is corrupt in this movie? Who is pure? How do good intentions lead to bad results? Families might also want to explore the idea of loyalty. Is anyone safe from the crime family that supports the casino?
- In theaters: January 1, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: June 14, 2005
- Cast: Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone
- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 179 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong brutal violence, pervasive strong language, drug use and some sexuality.
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