Croupier at 25: tracking down the London locations today

Starring Clive Owen as a casino worker tempted by a heist, Mike Hodges’ Croupier was one of defining British crime films of the 1990s. A quarter of a century on, we went looking for the locations.

21 June 2023

By Adam Scovell

Clive Owen in Croupier (1998)

Considering the gritty, unforgiving demeanour of Newcastle’s streets in Mike Hodges’ Get Carter (1971), it’s unsurprising that when the same director came to make a thriller set in London, his vision proved equally bleak. In Croupier (1998), a similarly sleazy, shady urban milieu dominates, with only Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels competing for sheer cockney villainy that year.

Written by Paul Mayersberg, most famous for also scripting Nicolas Roeg’s The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) and Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983), Croupier follows Jack (Clive Owen), an aspiring author whose failure so far in publishing has left him desperate.

His father (Nicholas Ball) rings, having pulled some strings with contacts to get his son a job at the Golden Lion casino – Jack having previously worked as a croupier in South Africa. Once in position, he observes the people around him, finding that inspiration is slowly coming to him for a book. But when a bond with a fellow South African, Jani (Alex Kingston), turns into an offer to be the inside man on a robbery at the casino, Jack is conflicted as to whether to gamble away his career and freedom.

Hodges’ film presents a subtle use of locations around London, a casual, realistic representation of the city rather than an idealised picture-postcard. Only a handful of establishing long shots really showcase the city, Hodges instead choosing to film in close-up with his cast, with the result that the city feels almost claustrophobic.

Here are five locations from Croupier as they stand today.

The casino

After being fixed up by his father, Jack starts his job as a croupier and is easily drawn back into that addictive world. The casino where he works, The Golden Lion, was really on Bryanston Street in Marylebone in central London. Today, the casino is the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

The car park seen a number of times in the film lies opposite the hotel, and is still recognisably the same.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

In a later sequence in the film, a punter that Jack caught cheating tries to get revenge after being barred from the casino. They scuffle by some bins before Jack gets the upper hand and loses control. His colleague Bella (Kate Hardie) acts as his getaway in her mini. The shot shows the still-present Thistle Hotel opposite.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

Piccadilly

Piccadilly is seen often throughout the film, as it’s where Jack’s partner Marion (Gina McKee) works as a store detective. We first see it properly when Jack is leaving Piccadilly Circus tube station using the Regent Street exit.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

We see a shot of the area’s famed advertising boards, confirming the angle and exact exit used for filming.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

Jack wanders first to the shop where Marion works, but later finds himself closer to the tube station again, browsing the shop windows in Quadrant Arcade, which has recently been refurbished. This shot is looking towards the Regent Street exit.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

He then bumps mysteriously and coincidentally into Jani, and they walk along the arcade, deciding to grab a drink together.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

The store

The shop that Marion works in was the Dickins and Jones department store on Regent Street. The store closed some years ago and the whole building was segmented into different businesses. The entrance used by Jack was likely the main one looking out onto Regent Street where it intersects with Hanover Street.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

Today, the shop is a branch of the clothes shop H&M, and most of the art deco features from the original department store have been removed from the public access parts.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

Later, Jack comes to meet Marion. He waits for her outside the doors of the London Palladium theatre on Argyll Street behind the vast store.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

He sees Marion coming out, meeting an old police colleague in secret. The staff entrance is still there today, though its period features have again been largely removed.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

Wandering

Jack wanders a fair amount during the film in a variety of locations, though the actual whereabouts of his apparently south-London-located flat remain a mystery. According to the film’s location manager Mark Shorrock, the house was likely somewhere in Bayswater. However, one more distinguishable shot occurs nearer Paddington when Jack is seen walking along London Street. The distinctive markings on the floor and railings outside of the buildings indicate the location.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

The hotel

Going to meet Jani in order to agree to her plans, Jack is forced to rendezvous at her new down-and-out lodgings: the appropriately named Journeys End Hotel. The hotel was in Norfolk Square, near where Jack was seen walking earlier in the film.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

The exact location was 4 Norfolk Square. Today, the entrance is boarded up and the building taken over by a company on the adjacent street.

Croupier (1998)
Location from Croupier (1998) in the present day

References

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