The 6 All-Time Best Movies About Winning the Lottery
The lottery captures our imaginations. Winning a jackpot – and deciding how to spend it – makes for a fascinating film plot. We’ve listed the all-time best movies about winning the lottery, so you can feel the thrill of picking a winning ticket (that is, until it really happens to you).
1. It Could Happen to You
Based on an incredible true story, the 1994 film It Could Happen to You stars Nicolas Cage as a New York City police officer and Bridget Fonda as a waitress. The pair end up winning the lottery, splitting the cash and (spoiler alert!) falling for each other. While the premise is based on reality, the true-life twosome didn’t actually fall in love. They do remain friends – and wealthy ones, at that – to this day.
2. 29th Street
Another film based on a true story, 29th Street tells the tale of Frank Pesce Jr. (played by Anthony LaPaglia) who is blessed with the gift of luck from the moment he’s born. In the 1991 film, Pesce’s mother was meant to give birth in one hospital and instead went to another. The first hospital burned down. He continues to be lucky throughout his life in Queens. His father, who is a very hard-working but less fortunate man, gets jealous. The tension comes to a head when Frank Pesce Jr. (played by Danny Aiello) becomes the first winner of the New York State Lottery.
3. Finder’s Fee
In this 2001 drama directed by Jeff Probst, a man named Tepper (played by Erik Palladino) discovers a wallet on the street. He contacts the owner of the wallet (played by James Earl Jones) only to find that inside the wallet is a lottery ticket worth millions of dollars. The action rises when Tepper’s usual poker crew arrives for their regular game, this time with higher stakes than ever before. It begs the question: What would you do with the winning ticket?
4. If I Had a Million
This 1932 classic tells the story of a steel tycoon (played by Richard Bennett) who decides to give one million dollars to each of eight strangers randomly selected from the phone book. This plan isn’t just about altruism: he’s preventing his inheritance from falling into the hands of his greedy family. The lucky recipients include an elderly woman, an entertainer, a marine and an office clerk. While these winners didn’t actually win the lottery, the film shows how each of the recipients use their newfound fortune, and how it impacts their lives.
5. Waking Ned Devine
In this 1998 indie film, two friends, Jackie O’Shea (played by Ian Bannen) and Michael O’Sullivan (played by David Kelly) learn that an elderly member of their village, Ned Devine, has won the lottery. Jackie and Michael go to visit him at his home but find that the newfound millionaire has died from the shock. The lottery rules require that Ned be the one to claim the award, but the townspeople don’t want to give up the cash. Instead, they join together to convince the inspector that Michael O’Sullivan is, in fact, Ned Devine.
6. Welcome to Me
This 2015 dark comedy starring Kristen Wiig tells the story of Alice Klieg, a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who hits it big in the lottery. Flush with her winnings ($86 million, to be exact) Alice stops taking her psychiatric medication and pays for her own talk show, inspired by Oprah. Suffice it to say that the fame-hungry Alice lacks Oprah’s prowess, but her misadventures make for excellent comedy.
After watching these films, you may find yourself tempted to play the lottery yourself. Try your hand at the Health Lottery. With a little luck, your cinematic fantasy might just come true.