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21 (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  28 March 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 181,704 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 277 user | 143 critic | 29 from

"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 »
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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 changed the game forever. See more »


Biography | Crime | Drama

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)


£5,430,673 (UK) (16 May 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The problem Prof. Rosa mentions in class with the three doors is known as the Monty Hall problem. See more »


During the opening credits, while Ben is riding his bike on the road, you see the same orange PT cruiser go past twice and the same silver Chrysler 300C go past three times. See more »


Philosophical Gambler: Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery.
Philosophical Gambler: It's all what you do in the moment, baby.
See more »


Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Teacher Week 2 (2008) See more »


Hold My Hand
Written by James Lavelle, Richard File, Chris Goss, David Catching and David Bowie
Performed by UNKLE
Courtesy of Surrender All
By Arrangement with Zync Music Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Good, but not Great
9 March 2008 | by (Austin, TX, United States) – See all my reviews

This film screened at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX. It is a reasonable well-made based-on-a-true-story film that tells the story of a group of MIT students who attempt to make a fortune counting cards in Vegas. The screenplay apparently plays pretty fast-and-loose with the version told in the book. Never-the-less, the acting is excellent - especially Jim Sturgess in the role of the lead student. Honestly, his accent was so good that I didn't realize - until he came on stage afterward - that he was British. He does a great job with the mannerisms to give you a real sense of the character's evolution. Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne are solid - although Fishburne's role is fairly small. The minor characters are not as well-developed as they could have been. The cinematography of both Boston and Las Vegas is quite good, especially on the big screen. It's an interesting story, but they could have edited down a bit to make it move a little quicker. This is a good film, but it probably could have been a lot better.

69 of 118 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Does Ben's choice about Door 1 or Door 2 matter anymore? aly-bukhari
Why counting is illegal? jazu3
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
I dont know anything about the facial recognition software, but.. moviecritic15
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