10 memorable movies filmed at MGM Resorts International properties in Vegas

Las Vegas is known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” so naturally a lot of great movies have been shot here. Since MGM Resorts International properties make up a huge part of the bright lights and backdrop of Sin City, they’ve attracted the eyes of Hollywood’s directors for years. Here’s a list of 10 of the most popular films showcasing these resorts – including one that’s premiering this fall! How many have you seen?

“Pure Country”
When it was released: 1992.
Who was in it: George Strait, Lesley Ann Warren, Isabel Glasser and Kyle Chandler.
What it’s about: Dusty Chandler (Strait) is a country music superstar whose concerts have taken on a rock vibe, so he stops performing. In order to get back to his roots, he heads to the small farm town where he grew up. There Dusty finds wisdom from his grandmother and romance. He returns to the stage in Las Vegas during National Finals Rodeo with an appearance that’s true to his country spirit and wins him the heart of his love.
Hotel it was filmed at: The Mirage.
Watch for: At the end of the movie, you’ll see real concert footage from a taping of Strait’s “I Cross My Heart” tour at The Mirage. It includes a touching presentation of his hit single by that same name.

“Sgt. Bilko”
When it was released: 1996.
Who was in it: Steve Martin, Dan Aykroid and Phil Hartman.
What it’s about: A remake of the hit TV series “The Phil Silvers Show,” this movie features Master Sergeant Ernest Bilko (Martin) in charge of the motor pool at an Army base. He operates numerous scams while handling the military vehicles, but finds he must truly put his skills at deception to the test when an old enemy turns up to inspect the records – and steal his fiancée.
Hotel it was filmed at: The Mirage.
Watch for: The scenes when Bilko takes his platoon to Las Vegas are hilarious. They drive down the Strip in a tank (with “Viva Las Vegas” playing in the background) and arrive at the main entrance of The Mirage. You’ll also see Martin at a craps table on the resort’s casino floor with a sign for the former Siegfried & Roy Theatre behind him.

“The Great White Hype”
When it was released: 1996.
Who was in it: Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Peter Berg, Damon Wayans, Jon Lovitz, Cheech Marin and Jamie Foxx.
What it’s about: A play on the title of the 1970 movie “The Great White Hope,” this film is a satire about racism in boxing. Unscrupulous promoter Rev. Sultan (Jackson) believes some of his fights are failing financially because audiences don’t want to see two black boxers contest each other, so he goes on the hunt for a white contender (Berg) to clash with the undefeated heavyweight champ.
Hotel it was filmed at:
MGM Grand.
Watch for: At the beginning of the movie, James “The Grim Reaper” Roper (Wayans) is seen fighting his first opponent in the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Regular visitors to the MGM Grand will also enjoy the shot of the old lion’s head entrance, which was removed and replaced with the massive bronze sculpture of a lion in 1998.

"Vegas Vacation" (©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

"Vegas Vacation" (©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

“Vegas Vacation”
When it was released: 1997.
Who was in it: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Ethan Embry, Marisol Nichols and Randy Quaid.
What it’s about: The fourth and final film in the National Lampoon’s “Vacation” series, it centers around the all-American Griswold family during a disaster-filled trip to Las Vegas. The bumbling head of the family, Clark (Chase), takes his wife Ellen (D’Angelo), goofball cousin Eddie (Quaid) and teen children to Sin City only to struggle to keep everyone (and his wallet!) in sight.
Hotels it was filmed at: The Mirage and MGM Grand.
Watch for: At the beginning of the movie, you’ll see Clark leafing through a Vegas brochure with The Mirage featured on its front cover. When they reach the Entertainment Capital of the World, the Griswolds win tickets to see world-famous German illusionists Siegfried & Roy at the resort. During the show, Clark is even turned into a tiger. The next evening, the Griswolds go to see Wayne Newton in concert at the MGM Grand, where the legendary singer takes an amorous turn and tries to steal Ellen away from her husband.

"Ocean's Eleven" (©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

"Ocean's Eleven" (©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

“Ocean’s Eleven”
When it was released:
Who was in it: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Elliot Gould, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan and Julia Roberts.
What it’s about: This remake, which comes more than 40 years after the Rat Pack starred in the original adventure, has Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his gang out to score the biggest heist in history by simultaneously robbing three Las Vegas casinos – all owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia), who stole Ocean’s ex-wife – during a major boxing event.
Hotels it was filmed at: Bellagio and MGM Grand.
Watch for: The closing scene is breathtaking because it shows each member of Ocean’s gang looking at the Fountains of Bellagio and then walking away. Plus, in this film, a fictional fight between Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko is staged in the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story”
When it was released: 2004.
Who was in it: Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor and Rip Torn.
What it’s about: An ongoing rivalry exists between the small and struggling Average Joe’s gym and the very successful Globo-Gym fitness chain located across the street. In order to win $50,000 and save Average Joe’s from being turned into a Globo-Gym parking lot, owner Peter LaFleur (Vaughan) and his group of quirky employees enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas.
Hotel it was filmed at: Monte Carlo.
Watch for: Look for shots of the elegant décor and casino floor at the Monte Carlo, where the Average Joe’s team and cheerleaders stay during the tournament.

“Ocean’s Thirteen”
When it was released:
Who was in it: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Al Pacino, Carl Reiner and Ellen Barkin.
What it’s about: The third and final film in the star-studded “Ocean’s” heist series sees the action set at The Bank Casino, a fictional and newly opened resort on the Las Vegas Strip that’s shaped like a giant wind chime. This time around ringleader Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his gang join forces with his old enemy, Terry Benedict (Garcia). The goal is to get revenge on corrupt casino owner Willy Bank (Pacino), who cheated their friend Reuben Tishkoff (Gould) out of his share of The Bank’s profits.
Hotel it was filmed at: Bellagio.
Watch for: Most of this film was shot on the Warner Brothers lot in Los Angeles, but you’ll still spot shots of the executive offices at the Bellagio, where Garcia’s character Benedict is at the helm.

“What Happens in Vegas”
When it was released: 2008.
Who was in it: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Jason Sudeikis and Treat Williams.
What it’s about: Down on their luck, Jack Fuller (Kutcher) and Joy McNally (Diaz) go to Vegas with friends, but end up getting drunk, married and hitting a $3 million slot jackpot with one quarter. The money compels them to stay together for legal reasons for a limited period of time – during which they try to drive each other away, but wind up falling in love.
Hotel it was filmed at:
Watch for: A limo carrying all four friends stops in front of the Fountains of Bellagio, where Diaz and Bell exit to soak in the beautiful sight.

"Now You See Me" (©Summit Entertainment)

“Now You See Me”
When it was released:
Who was in it: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.
What it’s about: A group of immoral illusionists (Eisenberg, Harrelson, Fisher and Franco) are recruited by a mysterious stranger. Called “The Four Horsemen,” they engage in a series of heists in Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York City that attracts investigation by the FBI and Interpol as well as makes enemies of their business partner (Caine) and an ex-magician (Freeman).
Hotel it was filmed at: MGM Grand.
Watch for: The Four Horsemen surface at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for a one-night-only show that is mesmerizing. It involves teleporting an audience member halfway around the world into a French bank vault and then bringing him back to the stage, where he showers 30 million stolen Euros on the crowd.

"Last Vegas" (©CBS Films and Gidden Media)

"Last Vegas" (©CBS Films and Gidden Media)

“Last Vegas”
When it will be released: Nov. 1, 2013.
Who will be in it: Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen.
What it’s about: These acting legends, who have six Oscars among them, are teaming up in a comedy that will follow four sixty-something friends to Las Vegas. Described as a seniors’ version of “The Hangover,” they are throwing a bachelor party for their last remaining single pal (played by Douglas) who is finally getting married – to a woman half his age, of course.
Hotel it was filmed at: Aria Resort & Casino.
Watch for: The film hasn’t yet been released, but look for this fabulous foursome to be checking in at Aria’s lobby as well as having a blast on the resort’s outdoor playground-like pool deck.


I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.