296 user 148 critic

21 (2008)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, History | 28 March 2008 (USA)
2:33 | Trailer

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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.


Robert Luketic


Peter Steinfeld (screenplay), Allan Loeb (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2,630 ( 363)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Sturgess ... Ben
Kevin Spacey ... Micky Rosa
Kate Bosworth ... Jill
Aaron Yoo ... Choi
Liza Lapira ... Kianna
Jacob Pitts ... Fisher
Laurence Fishburne ... Cole Williams
Jack McGee ... Terry
Josh Gad ... Miles
Sam Golzari ... Cam
Helen Carey ... Ellen Campbell
Jack Gilpin ... Bob Phillips
Donna Lows Donna Lows ... Planet Hollywood Dealer
Butch Williams Butch Williams ... Planet Hollywood Dealer
Ben Campbell 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


They proved the Vegas Blackjack System was beatable - by beating the hell out of it. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

28 March 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

21 - The Movie See more »


Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,105,943, 30 March 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


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


In the shot of Ben counting cards on the first arrival in Vegas, Ben's tray-table is down. If the plane is as close to arriving as the view from the window shows, tray-tables must be in the "up and locked" position. 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...
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References Heavy Metal (1981) See more »


Slipping Away (Axwell Vocal Mix)
Written and Performed by Moby
Courtesy of Sheridan SQ Entertainment/Mute Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Best thing to do is sit and enjoy the characters in their environments.
28 January 2009 | by FilmFanInTheHouseSee all my reviews

21 (2008, Dir. Robert Luketic)

In order to be accepted into Harvard School of Medicine, Ben Campbell (Sturgess) will have to save $300,000 for the course. Only problem about this is the Ben can't get this amount of money. After being impressed by his skills in his Math's lesson, Prof. Micky Rosa (Spacey) invites Ben to become a member of a small group; a group who are planning to walk out of Vegas with millions, thanks to Ben's card counting.

There are certain things about '21' which would attract audiences towards it, as well as certain things which would put others off. '21' is not an action film, nor is it a horror; it is in fact a drama. Some audiences would consider a drama boring, but is this drama boring? Not at all! Firstly, '21', does contain a small, yet great ensemble cast. Relatively unknown British actor Jim Sturgess heads the pack, which includes a small number of known stars. Kate Bosworth, who is much better in this than her recent performance in Superman Returns, provides the romance of the story. Whilst not a household name, Aaron Yoo is starting to build up a steady fan base, since starring in Disturbia, and clearly has fun playing Choi in this. The problem with any scene involving Yoo, is that you will always need to be watching him. Whether it's slipping a bottle into a bag or making a quick quip, Yoo is someone you need to be watching. Rounding off the group are Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts and the always awesome Kevin Spacey. Like every other role he has, Spacey is a joy to watch and makes the film even more enjoyable. Another high profile name featured in 21, yet not with the "heroes", is Laurence Fishburne, who like Spacey, is always wonderful to watch.

The majority of the film is based mostly on the actual game playing, but it is filmed in a way which prevents it from being boring. Watching the techniques and interaction between characters make an interesting watch, as you wonder how far they will get before they are caught. 21 isn't completely perfect however. In particularly, remembering the rules to the actual game can be a struggle. As well as remembering the rules, you also have to remember the signals that characters have to give. Picking up the signals can be fairly easy, but if you have no interest in blackjack and similar casino games, then there's a possible struggle to keep hold of the rules. Best thing to do is sit and enjoy the characters in their environments.

I think he's gonna be ready for our little trial run tomorrow. – Prof. Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey)

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