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"21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2,196 ( 520)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen Carey ...
Jack Gilpin ...
Donna Lows ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer
Butch Williams ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer
Ben Campbell ...
Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff (as Jeffrey Ma)


Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack. Intrigued by the desire to make money, Ben joins his new friends on secret weekend trips to Las Vegas where, using their skills of code talk and hand signals, they have Ben make hundreds of thousands of dollars in winning blackjack at casino after casino. Ben only wants to make enough money for the tuition to Harvard and then back out. But as fellow card counter, Jill Taylor, predicts, Ben becomes corrupted by greed ... Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Inspired by the true story of five students who risked it all. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

28 March 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

21 - The Movie  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$24,105,943 (USA) (28 March 2008)


$81,159,365 (USA) (16 May 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Third movie released in less than four years to have Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth in the cast together. The other two are Beyond the Sea (2004) and Superman Returns (2006). See more »


Jill tells Ben that he can quit, then asks how much money he has. He tells her that he has 310 grand then they just move on with the conversation without even mentioning the fact that Mickey told Ben not 2 minutes ago that he owed him 200 grand. See more »


[first lines]
Ben Campbell: [narrating] 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Those words had been dancing around my head all night. I mean, it's Vegas lore, that phrase. Just ask any of the old-time pit bosses, they'll know. It was a Chinese dealer at Binion's who was first credited with the line. He would shout it every time he dealt blackjack. That was over 40 years ago, and the words still catch. 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Yeah, try it. I had heard it at least 14 times that night. I couldn't lose. First...
See more »


Referenced in Money Plays: A Tour of the Good Life (2008) See more »


Tropical Moonlight
Written by Jordan Galland
Performed by Domino
Courtesy of Allido Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

21 Leaves out Elements of the Book, Adds New Excitement
26 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

After Reading Ben Mezrich's "Bringing Down the House", upon which this movie is based, I was excited to the movie. I am usually let down by movies that are based on books, but that was not the case this time.

Although there were a handful of cliché parts of the movie, all in all it was excellently done. The visual effects were well done, and the acting on the part of Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, and Kate Bosworth, was exemplary. Some people may criticize Spacey for his 'gusto', but I believe his portrayal of Mickey was stellar.

The movie had suspense, a solid plot line, scattered funny scenes, and a good ending. The people I went with, none of whom had read the book, found it an even better movie than I did. If you like the movie enough, I recommend reading the book for a more complete story.

108 of 170 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why counting is illegal? jazu3
do they play according to the rules? Hansen-F
Does Ben's choice about Door 1 or Door 2 matter anymore? aly-bukhari
Serious question about Monty Hall (NOT 66 vs 50%) the_carn
Gameshow door odds anthony85uk
So Why Do They Keep Going To The Same Casino? rcar9091
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