Casablanca (1942)

casablanca poster 1942 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Classic story of war and romance


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Casablanca

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Romance/Drama

Release Date(s):  November 26, 1942

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


Dammit Sam…do you only know one song!!!

War is raging in Europe and the Third Reich’s power is growing.  As the war increases refugees flee Casablanca, Morocco in the hopes of reaching the still neutral United States.  When Signor Ugarte (Peter Lorre) gets ahold of a pair of unassigned letters of transit being carried by murdered transporters, he takes them to Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) who runs the popular Rick’s Café Américain before being captured.  Rick realizes he has a valuable item that people would be willing to kill.  When his former love Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) shows up with her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), Rick finds his old feelings returning…and recalling how he was scorned by Ilsa in Paris.  Ilsa and Victor must escape Casablanca before Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) and Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt) find a reason to take them into custody.


I don’t get it Rick…don’t I have an honest face?

Directed by Michael Curtiz, Casablanca is considered a cinematic classic.  The romantic drama was originally based on the unmade play Everyone Comes to Rick’s and was rushed into production after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The movie often makes the “Best Of” lists for not only romances but films in general and contains many classic lines including “We’ll always have Paris”, “Round up the usual suspects”, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”, Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, and the often misquoted “Play it, Sam.  Play ‘As Time Goes By’”…which people often say “Play it again, Sam” (that never is said in the film).  The movie won the Academy Award for Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Writing—Screenplay, with nominations for Best Actor (Bogart), Best Supporting Actor (Rains), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Music (Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture).


Seriously Rick…what are you doing!

Casablanca is a classic and like something like Citizen Kane, there isn’t much you can say about it that hasn’t been said before.  It is one of those movies you must watch to understand other films, and I can’t recommend it enough just for this.

The plot for Casablanca is interesting to consider that this movie was made while World War II was still going on and many of the actors even had familial ties to Nazi occupied countries (S.Z. Sakall who plays Rick’s waiter had three sisters who died in concentration camps).  With this in mind, you have to realize how topical the movie was when it was made.  The war was raging and fears of Nazis were fresh in people’s minds…leaving everyone in a bit of a purgatory much like the inhabitants of Casablanca.


Uh Rick…I know you might be selling the place…what happens to me?

The romance also is a bit odd.  It is a classic set up of lovers who can’t be together due to circumstances and a misunderstanding that drives them apart.  You do have to love the ending of the film which sees Rick willing to give up Ilsa for her own safety and allow her to be with his rival Victor because he knows it is for the best.

The cast is also a who’s who of the time.  Bogart was the top of his game and though his acting ability can be debated in the big picture of Hollywood, his cold callous nature fits this role.  Bergman likewise is charming as the tortured Ilsa who isn’t allowed to express her love for Rick due to the situation.  Paul Henreid supposedly was not popular among the cast and is probably the least effective of the leads.  The supporting cast is great with Claude Rains as the officer required to enforce the law in Casablanca while dealing with the Germans led by Conrad Veidt.  Peter Lorre is good but unfortunately isn’t in the film much.  I also like Sydney Greenstreet who plays Rick’s rival in Casablanca.


Just get on the freaking plane before I regret this

The film feels very much like a play and has limited locations.  The main set of Rick’s was shot in a way that they painted on some of the shadows to give it a better contrast.  It is also notable that Bogart’s height varies throughout the movie because he had to wear risers to be taller than Ingrid Bergman.  Though not technically a noir crime film, it does share a lot of traits (or it could just be the Bogart connection).

Casablanca is a must.  It has been parodied, copied, and there have been attempts at sequels.  In the ’80s the script was retitled and sent out to studio script readers and the film was rejected by most studios…this indicates that the film is an institution because of time and stature, but it could also go to show how many great films never have made it to screen because of personal preference.  I would hope it would be the latter.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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