Someone’s Gotta Win: Lottery-Related Films Which Hit the Jackpot


Considering how lottery wins can literally change lives overnight, it is perhaps unsurprising that the idea has been used as the basis of a fair few films and TV shows down the years. But are any of them any good?

Here, we take a look at a few diverse examples of films which feature a lottery win as a central plot point.

It Could Happen To You

As Lottoland points out in its own rundown of TV and film moments related to lottery winners, this movie starring Nicolas Cage is probably the best known about hitting the jackpot. Cage plays a cop who runs out of cash at a diner, so suggests that if his lottery numbers come up he’ll split the winnings with a waitress (Bridget Fonda). Of course, he does hit the jackpot and then comes good on his promise – which doesn’t go down too well with his wife.

The actor recently surprised fans by crashing a movie festival devoted solely to his films – and we truly hope that this one was among those on show.

Waking Ned

James Nesbitt may now be a film and TV veteran with roles in Jekyll, Cold Feet and The Hobbit, but his first major big screen outing was as a smelly pig farmer in Waking Ned.

In the 1998 film, a man dies of shock after his numbers come up and his friends then try to claim the winnings so they can be shared in the village where he lived. Something of a cult classic, the comedy was well received by critics including Roger Ebert, who said it deserves to be filed next to other hits of the time including Local Hero, Brassed Off and The Full Monty.

Mr. Sardonicus

A little less light-hearted to say the least, this early 1960s horror film is about a man who attempts to retrieve a winning lottery ticket which has been buried with his father. However, once he has the ticket, his face is frozen into a terrifying grin.

A very dark film for its time, one of the real novelties of seeing it in the cinema was the use of a so-called “Punishment Poll.” Director William Castle was known for using the odd gimmick during the promotion of his films and this one allowed cinemagoers to vote on the eventual fate of the title character.

Lottery Ticket

Now for something completely different. The artist formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow – now just Bow Wow – starred in this 2010 film about a kid who strikes it lucky with a massive lottery win.

However, as you’d expect, complications arise when the office from where we has to collect the winnings is closed due to it being Independence Day weekend. With word spreading about his win, Kevin faces a difficult few days trying to keep his head as people try and get their hands on his cash. Ice Cube also stars in the film, which was released eight years after he featured in another movie featuring a winning lottery ticket – All About The Benjamins.

The imagination with which scriptwriters and directors have decided to tackle the subject of winning the lottery is impressive, and these films are but a small sample. Indeed, winning the lottery can bring about massive changes in someone’s life, and it’s only natural that it’s provided inspiration for such diverse films.

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