The film is the adaption of the novel Casino which circles around the lives of mob associates Frank Rosenthal (renamed Sam Rothstein for the movie), Tony Spilotro (renamed Nicholas "Nicky" Santoro), Joseph Aiuppa (Remo Gaggi) and Frank Cullotta (Frank Marino). Rothstein and Santoro narrate the film.

Rothstein is entrusted by the leaders of the Chicago outfit, led by Gaggi from Chicago, Illinois, to manage a Las Vegas casino (the Tangiers) they have financed and send them skimmed profits. Rothstein's friend Santoro shows up later and starts working for himself. While Rothstein appears to be a kind-hearted gentleman, Santoro is the polar opposite: an amoral psychopath who will not hesitate to kill anyone he sees as a threat. In one scene, after Santoro is asked by Gaggi to protect Rothstein, Santoro stabs a man in the neck with a pen solely for insulting Rothstein, then mocks the man's whimpers. His cruelty also comes to the surface at another point when he takes his anger out on the Casino Manager, Billy Sherbert (Don Rickles) and hits him in the face with a telephone, calling him a "Jew fuck."

Rothstein and Santoro's relationship meets its biggest test when a woman named Ginger McKenna (based on Geraldine McGee) comes into Rothstein's life. After dating for a few years they have a daughter and get married, Sam having insisted on having the child first to ensure Ginger's commitment to him. All seems well until Ginger is caught sneaking around with her old boyfriend, Lester Diamond (based on Lenny Marmor). Rothstein and Santoro have their men beat Diamond, but it doesn't stop him. Ginger and Diamond eventually kidnap the daughter, Amy, and flee for Los Angeles until Rothstein tracks them down and convinces Ginger to bring Amy back home.

Though not satisfied, Rothstein accepts Ginger back inside the house, but that night, Rothstein catches Ginger speaking on the phone, asking someone to assassinate her husband. Furious, Rothstein hangs the phone up and forces her out of the house. She returns later on, but Rothstein has an even harder time accepting her back.

Now wanting to leave Rothstein with her money, Ginger seduces the one man who will help her: Nicky. They begin an affair. The breaking point occurs when Rothstein and Santoro have a falling out over Santoro's reckless criminal activities and the unwanted attention they receive from the police. Worried for his friend, Rothstein tries to convince Santoro to keep a lower profile, but he will not listen.

Rothstein returns home one night and finds his daughter Amy tied to the bedposts - by Ginger. Rothstein calls Santoro, and Santoro tells him that Ginger is at his restaurant with him. Furious, Rothstein rushes to the restaurant and confronts Ginger, warning her that should she ever abuse their daughter again, he will murder her. Rothstein forces her out, but she sneaks back inside after Rothstein leaves.

Ginger blames Santoro for the mess, while Santoro tells her it was her own fault. Ginger begs Santoro to kill Rothstein, but Santoro refuses, having been Sam's friend for 35 years. When Santoro tells Ginger that he won't be able to get her her money now, Ginger attacks Santoro. Santoro then shows his brutal nature and mercilessly throws her out of the restaurant with help from his right-hand man Frank Marino (Frank Vincent).

The next day, Ginger goes to Rothstein's home, and demands that he give her her share of the money and her jewelry they have collected during their marriage. When she arrives, she repeatedly smashes her car into Sam's, prompting Sam to call the police. Ginger causes a scene in front of Sam's house and when the police arrive, she demands that they help her enter the house. Sam says he will permit her inside for a few moments to gather some clothes. Ginger sneaks into Sam's office and breaks into his desk, stealing the key to the safe deposit box where most of their cash is stored. At the bank, Ginger collects a large amount of cash from the box and drives off, pursued by two federal agents. They pull her over shortly after and she is arrested.

Ginger's arrest begins the crumbling of the casino empire. The big bosses, ruled by Gaggi, decide to murder anybody who could incriminate them. They kill a lawyer named Andy Stone, three casino executives, and the money courier John Nance. (Nance's son was already in trouble with the FBI on drug charges; the bosses have Nance killed to prevent his potentially testifying in court.) Rothstein himself is nearly killed by a car bomb, but he suspects the attempt on his life was not ordered by the bosses. Ultimately Nicky Santoro and his brother Dominick are severely beaten and buried alive in a cornfield in Indiana. By thist time the bosses have had enough of Nicky, so states Rothstein while narrating; both are buried while barely alive. Frank Marino participates in the beating of the Santoro brothers, claiming that he has had enough of their dirty work. Ginger sinks deeper into drug addiction and eventually dies from a drug overdose, alone and destitute.

The film finishes with a voiceover by Sam explaining that the Tangiers is leveled, along with all the older, classic casinos and they are replaced with bigger, more modern ones. Rothstein also explains that the quaint, friendly feeling of Las Vegas has been replaced by a greedier, more apathetic one. Rothstein returns to his work as a sports handicapper for the mob.

| Casino

Movie Gallery top