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Winning Big on the Screen: Three Films That Feature Lottery Winners

Here in the USA, we love our lotteries.

Lotteries have existed within North America since the 17th century Colonial days, when the Virginia Company introduced the first public-private lottery. Back then, public lotteries were used to fund infrastructure around the country, whilst private lotteries were a huge help for those establishing universities including Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard and Princeton. After lotteries were used to help fund the war effort during the revolution, the first national lottery was finally established in the 1820s. It wasn’t until 1963 though that the modern US lottery that we know and love today was founded. Since then, a variety of private lotteries have emerged thanks in part to the internet, but more traditional lotteries are still used to fund state schools and education.

Needless to say, lotteries have played a huge role in American life and continue to remain popular to this day, even appearing in TV shows from time to time. For many years now, our favorite TV families from Rosanne to Family Guy have been getting involved in the ultimate game of chance. Even more serious shows like Cold Case, Monk and Lost had themes based heavily around the lottery according to Lottoland, a worldwide lotto betting provider that has published a piece exploring the world of famous lottery winners both fictional and real.

Having seen many of these TV shows already, we started thinking: are there any good movies out there that feature lucky lottery winners? Well, sort of. Here’s what we found:

It Could Happen To You (1994)

Any movie that stars the majestic Nicholas Cage is a winner in our books! During It Could Happen To You we are introduced to Charlie Lang, a New York cop who just doesn’t have the change to tip his waitress after buying a coffee at a diner. Jokingly, Lang promises to share any future lottery winnings he receives with the waitress, who is played by Bridget Fonda. Of course, Lang ends up winning the lottery and shenanigans ensue. We hope but also doubt we’ll ever find ourselves in this sort of situation but it sure is interesting to think about it.

Waking Ned Devine (1998)

Set in the rural Irish village of Tullymore, this film focuses on Jackie O’Shea as he tries to figure out which of his neighbors has won the Irish lottery. He soon discovers that it was his friend Ned Devine, who has actually died of the shock of having won the lottery finally after so many years of trying. After realizing that he cannot claim the jackpot as of yet, Jackie tells his best friend Michael O’Sullivan and the two hatch a near-perfect plan. However, after the Lottery Claim Inspector shows up in the village, things get a little bit trickier.

Lucky (2011)

After starring as serial killer Travis Marshall in Dexter, Colin Hanks returned to the big screen to, well… be a serial killer again. In Lucky, a very dark comedy indeed, Hanks murders a young woman, steals her winning lottery ticket and instantly becomes $36 million richer. The woman he’s fancied for a quite a while suddenly becomes very keen on the killer after he wins the jackpot and the two marry. However, she soon finds out where that winning ticket really came from and has to decide whether to leave with her life or stick around for the cash.

We’re genuinely not sure which option we’d pick when it comes to the new wife’s dilemma. What about you? As for the lottery here in the real world, let us know if you play and why!

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