In 2001, a hilarious film was released which utilised the Venetian Resort on the Las Vegas Strip. This comedy movie follows a group of hapless strangers as they all compete in a challenge to win $2 million in cash. The fictional owner of the Venetian is Donald Sinclair and was played by comedian John Cleese.
Sinclair comes up with a thrilling new game to entertain the highest rollers of his casino. He places six special tokens in the many slot machines of the Venetian. Those who win them are then told they have a chance of winning the $2 million. They just have to race across the country. Whoever makes it to the finish first gets the prize.
The race requires the competitors to travel 563 miles from Las Vegas to New Mexico. While this happens, Sinclair and his wealthy customers place bets on who will be the winner. Throughout the film, these characters continue to make small bets as they wait for the race to end.
The competitors are made up of a diverse group of characters, some of them with very quirky personalities. They do whatever they can to win the prize money. Even though the race takes the film out of Las Vegas, there are still scenes at the Venetian up until the climax.
The real-life version of this casino was used as a filming location. Viewers can see the casino, lobby and entrance of the Venetian in crucial scenes. There are also exterior shots at the beginning of the movie. For the scenes inside the casino, the filmmakers required 1000 extras who are used in the background.
Officials for the Venetian reportedly worked with the studio for six months to ensure that the casino was used for filming. Several other famous parts of Nevada were also used. These included Route 159, McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Strip and Tropicana Avenue.
After nearly 20 years, Rat Race stands as a memorable casino movie. Its mix of zany characters, hilarious scenarios and A-list cast has allowed it to endure and be enjoyed by future audiences.