The Entrance of the Monte Carlo Casino. Photo credit: Vmenkov

The Representations Of The Monte Carlo Casino In Movies

Historical monuments and iconic landmarks frequently appear on the big screen, especially in dramatic movies intended for a mature audience. For the monuments (and the movie), this partnership is an effective strategy that helps to attract more visitors. Some iconic buildings may even take advantage of the extra publicity from movies by running themed visits.

Beyond the marketing part, historical monuments are usually recognized because they represent or played a big role in the history of a nation. Therefore, showcasing historical monuments in films also has an educational purpose, which is to spread the historical culture of one particular place or people to the rest of the world.

Depending on the production, the script can also change the initial perception of monuments and historical buildings. An action, romantic or scary movie will influence viewers who first see and hear about a historical site on the big screen. In their mind, the site will become associated with the story and characters of the movie.

The Casino de Monte Carlo, located in the city-kingdom of Monaco, has been featured many times in different cinematographic genres. Built in the nineteenth century, it is one of the oldest and most internationally famous casinos. Every year, it hosts international tournaments such as the PokerStars Championship, or elegant galas like the Gala for Global Ocean.

Over the years, and by making numerous appearances in cinema, the Monte Carlo has built a sophisticated global reputation.

Monte Carlo: A Place Of Dangerous Adventures

The iconic James Bond movie ‘GoldenEye’, released in 1995, features the impressive architecture of the building. The movie tells the story of the search for the stolen access codes of GoldenEye, a weapon with the ability to kill a lot of people. Among the scenes in the Monte Carlo Casino, James Bond first meets his opponent Xenia Onatopp, where they play a game of Baccarat. They meet again around a drink in one of the Casino’s private bars.

The association of 007 is nothing new (it also features in the 1983 Bond movie ‘Never Say Never Again’), but it does bring a sense of adventure and danger to the casino. Those scenes between Bond and Onatopp in the casino also help portray the idea that it is a place of mysterious encounters.

Monte Carlo: A Place To Escape

The French romantic comedy ‘Heartbreaker’, focuses on an attractive young man who is hired to break up couples. Released in 2010, many scenes featured in the movie were filmed in Monaco. The protagonist, Alex, tries to seduce Juliette to avoid her from getting married to a British millionaire. Among the many adventures of the couple, one scene is shot in the Casino’s Gardens.

Filming ‘Heartbreaker’ in Monte Carlo was an interesting choice, as it breaks the exclusive reputation of the area. The movie was targeted towards a general public audience, not just those upper-class viewers who would be more likely to frequent the lavish Casino de Monte Carlo. The movie also adds a sense of romance to the casino itself, ensuring that viewers walk away from it feeling that the casino is also a place of memorable experiences.

Monte Carlo: A Place To Meet Celebrities

The casino appeared again on the big screen in Marvel’s ‘Iron Man 2’. In this second movie, Tony Stark – alias Iron Man – stands against the US government which pressures him to surrender his high-tech weapons to guarantee national security. He also faces one of his father’s enemy who seeks revenge by jeopardizing Tony’s reputation.

Featuring Monte Carlo and the streets of Monaco in ‘Iron Man 2’ was a smart marketing move, since the international popularity of the movie was a great advertisement for the city. Released in 2010, the movie starts in Monaco, where the arrogant Tony Stark participates in a series of fancy events filmed in the casino, and even at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Monte Carlo: A Place Of Historic Importance For Monaco City

The Casino de Monte Carlo was also featured in the movie ‘Grace of Monaco’, which served as a reminder of its royal heritage. Princess Caroline ordered its construction in 1858, with the aim of attracting wealthy Europeans and saving the city from bankruptcy. The Beaux-Arts architectural features of the casino are a symbol of the grandiosity of the city-kingdom.

Grace of Monaco tells the beautiful story of Grace Kelly, former American actress and later, Princess of Monaco after she married Prince Rainer III of Monaco. Played by the Australian actress Nicole Kidman, you follow the steps of the strong woman who had to sacrifice her personal happiness for her husband, her children, and her adopted country. The movie was a success for both the casino and the kingdom of Monaco. Only a few people know about the little kingdom and its history, therefore telling the story of the Princess was very compelling. Plus, the movie played a major role in reinforcing the historical connection of the Casino de Monte Carlo to the royal family.

In the age of advertisement, it is pretty clear how cinema became a major outlet to market a service or a product and it has become a powerful source of influence on customer’s opinions and preferences. The example of the Monte Carlo casino isn’t singular and actually underlines business interests behind pop culture.

Monaco At Night. Photo Credit: Pasquale Lovino
Monaco At Night. Photo Credit: Pasquale Lovino

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