Once commonly associated with retirement homes and holiday camps, Bingo now has a much wider appeal – across both genders and to all ages – largely thanks to the online world of social bingo games whereby real money is transferred. You don’t even need to sit at a computer anymore, with sites including Paddy Power, mobile- and tablet-friendly. In fact, bingo has cinematic appeal, with directors including the popular pastime in their scripts. Below, we reminisce to that pre-online gaming era with some of the best bingo-related scenes in film.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is a thriller, which centres around the character of Amelia, a widow who works in a care home. In this particular scene, Amelia decides to take up bingo calling for the residents in an attempt to liven up the atmosphere. Unfortunately, she isn’t successful and instead, it increases her bleak outlook on life and depression.
Bad Grandpa (2013)
Funny man Johnny Knoxville is often up to no good and stars as badly-behaved grandpa Irving Zisman in this comedy. In this particular scene, Knoxville enters the bingo hall and tries his hand at the game. Instead, he makes inappropriate remarks, offends the other players and even disgusts the hall by drinking the fluid from the daubers. To top this off, he brings a margarita machine to the table and starts mixing drinks to horrify the onlookers further.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
Okay, so this animated film may be more suitable to children, but it proves the universal appeal of bingo. Like many other holiday resorts, Hotel Transylvania put on a game of bingo for their guests. A game of bingo with a difference. The bingo balls are actually tiny skulls that hiss their number to the bingo caller and when an excited player calls “bingo” after their final number is called out, the player beside her eats the card! See how competitive bingo can get?
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Unlike the other films we’ve listed, Quentin Tarantino’s classic doesn’t actually show a game of bingo being played – but it does mention bingo in a rather funny conversation. Towards the end of the film, Nazi Colonel Hans Landa and American Lieutenant Aldo Raine negotiate Landa’s surrender:
Col. Hans Landa: [giddy] Oooh, that’s a bingo! Is that the way you say it? “That’s a bingo?”
Lt. Aldo Raine: You just say “bingo.”
Col. Hans Landa: Bingo! How fun! But I digress. Where were we?
In this cult action film, young Bill Williamson is so angered at the world that he takes matters into his own hands and goes out on a shooting spree. Arriving at a bingo hall, he harasses the person behind the food counter to the point of receiving free food, before going back through the hall, where he puts his weapons on the table. The bingo players are so engrossed in their game, they don’t notice him until he grabs a ball from the caller and shouts out – but even then, the game just carries on. Oh, and in case you wondering, none of the players are killed!
King of the Bingo Game (1999)
Slightly more serious than the other contenders, King of the Bingo Game is based on a short story by Ralph Ellison. The film centres around bingo player Sonny, who plays with the hope of winning big for his impoverished family during the time of the 1940s depression in New York. Following the ups and downs of the game, can one game turn this man’s life upside down?