One of Scorsese’s most beloved films is the cult classic Casino. Released in 1995, the movie portrays a series of real-life Las Vegas events that were affected by the mafia. It’s a surprisingly beautiful film that shows Las Vegas and casino culture through the eyes of one man as the Vegas culture changes around him. But there’s plenty of gnarly crime and gangster violence, too.
The film’s characters are based on real people. Ace, played by Robert De Niro, is based on Frank Rosenthal. Nicky is based on a real-life mob enforcer and Sharon Stone’s Ginger is a socialite. Stone garnered a Golden Globe Award for her role in Casino as well as an Academy Award nomination. But how much of the film’s events are based on real events?
It’s not 100% accurate, truth be told. The main reason for this editing of the truth is to simplify the plot for the silver screen. Writers did their best to combine storylines and make it easier for audiences to understand the major plot beats without changing too much of the epic real history.
One major change is that in real life, Ace managed more than just one casino. For legality purposes, the original name of the casino had to be changed from Stardust to Tangiers.
One major moment in the film is when security literally crushes the hands of a cheater. According to the original man, this actually happened in real life although not in the circumstances portrayed by the film. Rosenthal says he instructed his security team to do it in order to teach the cheater a lesson.
Most of the events in the movie, from the violence to the affairs, are in fact true. That’s what makes Casino such an epic movie.