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Las Vegas in the movies

The Hangover
Caesars Palace
Casino
Circus Circus
Ocean's Eleven

Caesars Entertainment © 2017 MGM Resorts International

It’s said that the cinema is a factory of dreams and in Las Vegas, they they do their best to make them come true. This combination has produced some unforgettable movies whose locations you can still visit.
The majority of the locations that appear in the credits of the hit film “Viva Las Vegas” (1964) have long since disappeared. But you can still find the neon Flamingo at the entrance of the hotel built by Bugsy Siegel, and neither has “The Little Church of the West”, where Elvis and Ann Margaret get married in the film, vanished, just two iconic locations still to be found on and around the world-famous Strip.

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll singing ‘Viva las Vegas’ is, of course, part of the history of cinema. But its far from the only time Hollywood has comes to Sin City. Remember the moment when the friends in “The Hangover” (2009) arrive at Caesar’s Palace and Alan Garner asks if Caesar really lived there? The buddies then make their way round The Strip trying to reconstruct the events of the previous night and find the missing groom-to-be, giving us a boozy tour of the city. And reconstruction is exactly what was needed in “Honey, I Blew Up the Kid” (1992) after the 50 feet tall two-year-old boy causes chaos as he stumbles around the neon lights of Fremont Street. Destructive, can also be used to describe Nicolas Cage's character in “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995) for which he won an Oscar. The alcoholic scriptwriter drinks himself into oblivion in Bally's Hotel, the Flamingo, Circus Circus, Excalibur, The Mirage and various other places on The Strip

Scorsese's film, Casino (1995) is based on a real story: that of two Mafiosos, Frank Rosenthal, played by De Niro under the name Sam “Ace” Rothstein, and Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro, known as Nicky Santoro in the film, interpreted by Joe Pesci. Rosenthal directed several casinos from the shadows, among them the Stardust, which inspired the film, although in the fictional version it’s called the Tangiers. The exteriors of the Tangiers were filmed at the Landmark Hotel before it was knocked down, and the interiors in the Hotel Riviera, which closed its doors in May 2015. This is the downside of this city. Its a place constant reconstruction; mythomaniacs have to live with the disappointment of not being able to visit places that now only exist on the silver screen. Just as well there is the Neon Museum, where neon signs taken from the facades of these movie hotels can be seen. What can still be visited is the downtown “Atomic Liquors” bar, where Nicky Santorno repeatedly stabs a man with a ballpoint pen, and the Main Street Station, which appears in the film's first scene, in which Rothstein narrowly escapes death when his car explodes. The Mob Museum also appears in the film, in its former role as the Federal Court.

In addition to movies about the Mafia, most notably “Casino” or “Bugsy” (1991), those about gambling and thefts at the casinos are a genre of their own within the movies set in Las Vegas. The most notable examples here are, “21” (2008) and the “Ocean's Eleven” trilogy (2001, 2004, 2007). The first in the trilogy is famously a remake of the original “Ocean's Eleven” (1960) in which the swindlers are Sinatra and the Rat Pack rather than George Clooney, Brad Pitt and friends. And instead of carrying out their scam in the modern Bellagio, Mirage and MGM Grand, the original band does so in the Sahara, Riviera, Desert Inn, Sands and the Flamingo.

These aren’t the only films that have been made here, and, since the romance between Hollywood and Las Vegas doesn't look like it’s going to end any time soon, it's likely there will be plenty more to come. The sets, the characters and the stories may change, but Las Vegas will continue to be a city in which to meet (or meet again), have fun, fall in love; but most of all, a city in which to dream. To be continued ...

Las Vegas the series

It’s not only cinema that comes to life in Las Vegas; the small screen also echoes the adventures and misfortunes that can be experienced in this city. 'Las Vegas' (NBC), for example, focuses on the various people working in a casino. One of the best known though is “CSI Las Vegas”, with Grissom at the helm, and which has its own attraction in the MGM Grand Hotel. Other series like “Friends”, “Entourage” and “Modern Family” also have gone on vacation to Sin City.

The Mayor in the Casino

Oscar Goodman, the mayor of Las Vegas, between 1999 and 2011, was part of the original cast of Scorsese's film, “Casino”. He played Sam Rothstein’s defense attorney in the film, but strangely enough, in real life he also defended Mafia capos, among them Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, on whose life De Niro's character is based. During his term as mayor he inspired the creation of the Mob Museum.

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