As far as luxury hotels and casinos go, you can’t beat Caesars Palace. Located in Paradise, Nevada, on the west side of the Las Vegas Strip, this venue is one of the largest and best-known landmarks of Sin City. With a Roman Empire theme, Caesars Palace has always been pursuing grandeur, luxury and larger-than-life experiences, ever since it was established in 1966. Over the years, the venue has been a host of numerous live music and sports entertainment events; it was a place where performers such as Frank Sinatra, Stevie Nicks, Celine Dion, Cher, Elton John, Liberace and Diana Ross would take centre stage and sing in front of thousands of people.
In the same vein, Caesars Palace has been one of the more notable locations in numerous Hollywood films. In this article, we’ve selected some of the most popular and impactful flicks that starred not only some of the biggest actors in cinematic history but also one of the Las Vegas’ top attractions.
Rain Man (1988)
At one point the biggest grossing Best Picture Oscar winner, Rain Man was the movie that showed us what a good actor Dustin Hoffman is. It didn’t do any harm to Tom Cruise either. The film, for those who have not yet seen it (what are you people waiting for?), tells a story of Charlie Babbitt, a self-centred yuppie and his brother Raymond, a withdrawn autistic who has been spending his life in an institution before he and Charlie finally met. The two go on a lust-for-life trip and end up on a journey through understanding and fellowship.
Aside from all the feels this film has brought to an international audience when it came out, and in the years after that, it also became famous for an excellent soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, a newcomer on the film music scene at the time (Leaving Wallbrook/On The Road and Las Vegas/End Credits) and a stunning scene filmed in the Emperors Suite of the original 1966 Caesars Palace tower. In the scene, Charlie teaches Raymond how to dance. After the movie’s huge success, the guests of Caesars Palace started referring to the Emperors Suite as “the Rain Man Suite.” They do it to this day, over two decades later.
Iron Man (2008)
The movie which lit the spark of the movie extravaganza that is the MCU, Iron Man was the redemption project of Robert Downey Jr. He stepped into the shoes of Tony Stark (figuratively and literally) and established the foundations of the awesomeness that would continue for over a decade and revive the Hollywood film industry. Many A-list actors were in play for the role of Iron Man, from Tom Cruise to Nicolas Cage, but Bob Downey got it and absolutely nailed it. Most fans agree that they couldn’t possibly imagine anyone else playing Tony Stark – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Marvel Studio’s first self-produced film was mostly shot in California, but there’s a scene when Tony Stark plays craps in Caesars Palace when he should be receiving an award. This is followed by a scene in which he proceeds to flirt with a gorgeous reporter outside the casino. The casino scene is one of rare occasions in the movie when we get to hear the Iron Man animation series theme from 1966. Even though this is a small part of the movie, the casino scene shows us just how playboy-ish and billionaire-ish Tony is. And we love him for it.
The Hangover 1, 3 (2009, 2013)
The Hangover trilogy has had both critical and commercial success. Its first instalment was released in June 2009 starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis as Phil, Stu and Alan, three buddies off to Vegas to celebrate their friend Doug’s wedding by engaging in an insane 24-hour stag party. Sounds great, but when they wake up in the morning without any recollection of what was going on the night before and, even worse, they see that their friend and groom is missing, the situation shifts from comedic to absolutely hysterical. This movie has everything (Stefon, anyone?) – a baby, an LVPD police cruiser, the boxer Mike Tyson, a tiger, a taser demonstration, a black Cadillac Escalade full of gangsters and a big chunk of the movie happening inside Caesars Palace. The boys stay at the Caesar Palace for the bachelor party weekend and the venue’s lobby elevator, hallways and entrance can be seen in the movie. The famous line “Did, umm… did Caesar live here?” said by Galifianakis as Alan brought a new wave of fandom upon the casino. Caesars Palace’s assistant general manager admitted that front desk agents keep getting the question every now and then from customers and passers-by.
In the third instalment, The Hangover: Part III, some scenes were filmed outside of Caesars Palace. Here, we get to see a sequence of rooftop shenanigans. Ken Jeong (Mr Chow) barricades himself in the penthouse suite of Caesars Palace. Phil and Alan sneak into his suite from the roof; Chow escapes, singing “I Believe I Can Fly” as he parachutes down the Strip. That’s textbook Hollywood entertainment right there.
Vegas Vacation (1997)
Vegas Vacation hit the theatres in February 1997; it is an American comedy film directed by Stephen Kessler, starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid, among others. It is the fourth instalment in National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, which also includes flicks such as National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and National Lampoon’s European Vacation. Despite Vegas not being known for its family-friendly atmosphere, the Griswold family decides to go there, which starts a series of misadventures. Among other things, they attend a Siegfried & Roy show, go on a group tour of the Hoover Dam, have an “alone day” which results in Clark (Chevy Chase’s character) becoming addicted to gambling and they also spend their last two dollars on a game of keno.
The movie was filmed in many locations in Sin City, from MGM Grand Las Vegas and the Klondike Hotel and Casino to the O’Sheas Casino. Caesars Palace can also be seen in the movie and despite its poor reviews from the critics, half of the audience that has seen it seem to have liked it.
Rocky 3 (1982)
Sylvester Stallone’s sports drama quickly became a saga, following the ups and downs of boxer Rocky Balboa through his life and career. This particular film, the third one, deals with how fame causes him to lose his title to a young thug Clubber Lang (played by Mr T). Depressed after the death of his beloved trainer, Mickey, Rocky goes on a journey of trying to regain the love and support of his family, as well as the one essential element that makes him such a powerful boxer, the insatiable desire to beat the opponent. Balboa’s former foe, Apollo Creed, steps into the role of his new trainer and guides him towards facing Lang once again in the ring.
The film opens with scenes in Las Vegas, showing Caesars Palace in aerial view. Stallone has reportedly said that Rocky’s life is so different in this film from the first two films; Here we see him paying the price of fame, loses his privacy and we witness the over-the-top celebrity exposure that the Italian Stallion experiences, just like Stallone did in real life.
Wasn’t that fun, doing a quick overview of awesome movies that Caesars Palace was part of? If you liked the read, feel free and check out our similar articles, such as the one about movies shot in Atlantic City Casinos.