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Casablanca
Year:
1942
Country:
USA
Genre:
Drama, War, Romance
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund
Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains as Captain Renault
Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser
Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari
Peter Lorre as Ugarte
Joy Page as Annina Brandel
John Qualen as Berger
Leonid Kinskey as Sascha
Curt Bois as Pickpocket
Storyline: In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining a Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....
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Reviews
For all-around entertainment, the best I've ever seen
CASABLANCA is the best treatment ever of the ancient theme of the love triangle. Set in World War II Casablanca, a Moroccan city under the control of the collaborationist Vichy French government, the movie starts with a news wire that two German couriers have been murdered and their letters of transit stolen. Each letter will permit one person to leave Casablanca to a neutral country.

Enter Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, owner of the shady but cheerful Cafe Americaine. Rick is a cynical and hard-nosed man whose motto is, "I stick my neck out for nobody." Like many a cynic, Rick is an embittered ex-idealist, still nursing his wounds from being abandoned by his lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). By chance he falls into possession of the missing letters of transit.

Enter Ilsa, who comes to Casablanca on the arm of Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a few steps ahead of the Nazi police. We now have three people and two letters of transit. Who will reach America, and who will stay in Casablanca?

I know no other movie that so perfectly balances humor, romance, and drama. The soul of good drama lies in presenting characters with hard choices, and few choices are as hard, or as illuminating of the protagonists' makeup, as the choices in CASABLANCA. All of the characters must decide what they will give up for love, for honor, and for themselves. The scenes of Rick and Ilsa's love, years ago in Paris, are some of the finest romantic scenes in cinema. And the humor, particularly in the person of Casablanca's Prefect of Police, Louis Renault, has contributed dozens of dry witticisms to our everyday language - "I am shocked! Shocked! - "The Germans wore gray, you wore blue." - "I was misinformed." - "It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles." So perfectly blended are these three major elements that you cannot point to a single shot or scene that should have been eliminated from the movie. Never try to watch only one scene from CASABLANCA; you will inevitably be absorbed until the very end of the film. It is little short of miraculous that the chaotically mismanaged shooting of this movie resulted in such a magnificent final product; it speaks volumes for luck and for Owen Marks' and Michael Curtiz' post-production editing.

I have never encountered a movie whose supporting cast was so perfectly realized. Every minor character is a fleshed-out, realistic individual, from Sasha to Carl the headwaiter to Rick's competitor Ferrari to the self-effacing criminal Ugarte. Claude Rains' Captain Renault ("I'm only a poor corrupt official") steals scene after scene, and Dooley Wilson's Sam is a refreshingly loyal, charismatic and sympathetic conception from an era when almost all black characters were rendered as demeaning stereotypes. The only character who tastes of the cliche is the villainous Major Strasser, which can be forgiven in a wartime production.

The only film I have ever seen as tautly effective as CASABLANCA is GLORY. Although the 54th Mass.'s story is arguably superior even to CASABLANCA for sheer dramatic power and acting talent, GLORY lacks CASABLANCA's wonderful humor and romance, which causes me to give the edge to Curtiz' classic as the better-rounded movie. I have yet to see CASABLANCA surpassed.

Rating: **** out of ****.
1999-08-27
Casablanca is a movie that proves that early movies are still the greatest films of all time.
This movie opens up a gateway to the genre of early romance with light drama. Now it is near impossible to find a movie that was made not for the money, not to win awards, but for the people.

At first I thought that this movie was over hyped, but when I sat down and watched it, I realized that the hype was true. This movie delivered everything it promised and then some.

The characters were perfect. Believable, realistic, and you felt like you could relate to them in a way. Humphrey Boggart was the best example. His witty yet sarcastic remarks are still known as some of the greatest lines of all time. My personal favorite being "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." While the movie did start out slow, it quickly picked up and was able to hold my interest. It was dark, yet was able to throw in light humor without upsetting the balance of a scene. Since it was dealing with a serious issue, which at the time was an incredibly important matter, they had to find a way to deal with the issue without upsetting the balance of the film. A feat that they managed to do well.

There are many memorable scenes in the movie, but my personal favorite is the very end when Rick has to watch Llsa fly off. It is painful for him, but he knows that her staying would only hurt both of them and due to his character he is able to keep his emotions inept, while conveying in his new friend, Louis.

As for changes, I would make none. This film is a masterpiece and wanting to make changes is like editing the Bible or adding finishes to one of Leonardo DaVinici's paintings. As the saying goes 'If it ain't broke don't fix it' I was only 12 when I first saw this film, but I gained much watching it. I learned that while you may not want to do something or say goodbye to someone sometimes it is necessary for the greater cause.

This is a movie I would recommend to anyone who wants drama, romance, comedy, memorable dialogue, or just an all around good feeling. This is a movie I will continue to enjoy for years to come.
2007-09-04
Doesn't hold up to hype
I was thoroughly excited to see this movie because of all the positive reviews I've heard about it in the past. However, this movie in no way lives up to the hype. Everyone hails it as an undisputed masterpiece, but compared to the many movies that have come out after and even before it, this movie doesn't stand strong. The acting was stale, the characters were un-relatable, and the story was drug out too long. I found myself bored throughout at least 80% of it. Please don't assume that I don't like it just because it's an older film; most movies I have scene are older films, and a lot of them are far better than this one. Believe me, I wanted to love this film, but I just couldn't. Even if it was "great" for its time, that doesn't mean that it's great for this time. However, I will say that there were a few memorable lines, and some parts that were better than the rest, but other than that a cliché filled snoozer.
2017-03-02
Of all the review joints, in all the towns, in all the world, you walks into mine. Here's to you, Kid. Casablanca is iconic! Play it again, Sam.
From 1942, comes a romantic historic drama directed by Michael Curtiz movie based on the stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. It's early Dec. 1941, American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner of an upscale nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco that attracts everybody from Vichy French, Italian, and German officials; to refugees desperate to reach the still neutral United States; and those who prey on them. Rick stands as an allegory to U.S polities at the time trying to stay neutral and not involves himself into the war affairs. I also think it's cool to point out that Humphrey Bogart himself was a decorated war veteran, and this is reflected in his performance. It wasn't until a former lover Norwegian Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and her Czech Resistance leader husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) came into the bar looking for a way to escape Europe, where he states to question his beliefs. While most people know Casablanca as the exploration of the universal themes of love and sacrifice, people that look more into it viewed it as a political allegory about World War II. Ilsa can be seen as the wealthier of Europe who were able to escape due to their wealth, but whose warnings and pleas were dismissed in the late '30s and early '40s. Victor represents the poorer people of Europe who weren't able to escape and whose discovery prompted the change in attitude. When he appears, Rick finally grasps the true nature of what Ilsa is asking him. The film is set in Dec. 1941, the month in which the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That attack changed the course of American history, awakening the nation from political neutrality and thrusting it into the midst of World War II. By Illsa showing up, Rick become a symbol for America to take a stronger stand against the Axis Powers. The film also tells the story of another transformation, that of the local French commander of Casablanca, Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains). Claude Rains is the second best actor in the film besides Bogart. He plays the role so well. Louis begins the film as a pro-Vichy Nazi-appeaser but winds up a committed partisan of free France. Scenes such as Captain Renault throwing away the Vichy bottle it was meant to shown a rejection of Petain's puppet government. Even the great line near the end, 'I think this is a start of a beautiful friendship' stands for United States becoming allies with the French into stopping the Nazis. There is a great scene in the middle worth checking out, where the Germans start singing and, to combat it, the other patrons start singing the French national anthem was a truly moving part. The use of shadows and lighting makes this movie into one of the greatest film noirs. The use of the spotlight that shines from a tall tower and lights up the city of Casablanca reminds people that they are always being watched. It was a great use of light to represent fear and a threat. The music by Max Steiner was just amazing. The song "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld had been part of the story from the original play; Steiner wanted to replace it, but Bergman had already cut her hair short for her next role and could not re-shoot the scenes which incorporated the song, so Steiner based the entire score on it. So, without Bergman cutting her hair. We wouldn't have that theme. The theme of Sam's piano is the symbolic heart and soul of Rick's Café. All the guests want to sit beside it, because they want to forget their worries by listening. The piano suggests purity, which may be why Louis doesn't even think to look there for the letters of transit. I love the smart dialogue. The exchange between Rick and Louis were funny and brilliant. There is a few criticizes that need to be address. The usual conspiracy-theory gang likes to say that this movie was just propaganda. I didn't care if it's pro-Allied propaganda, it was a good movie. Some people think its basically a rip-off of a previous 1938 movie called Algiers. The writers took the character of Rick from the unproduced play, the theme "As Time Goes By" from a failed early 1930s musical and even parts of the dialogue were cannibalized from other unproduced scripts. It's doesn't bug me because it was mixed so well. I honestly don't see how the line 'Round up the usual suspect' is famous. It seems very not important from the rest of the best one liners. I believe Ingrid Berman delivering lines acting was mediocre at best. Her eyes did most of the work. Paul Henreid was indeed a stiff. Henreid did not get on well with his fellow actors and it shows. His character seem plain compare to the others. I didn't like how the movie treat the German actors in the film. The German actors had to keep curfew, as they were classified by the US as enemy aliens and under restrictions. They were frequently cast as Nazis in war films even with the fact that there weren't any uniformed German troops in Casablanca during WWII. Then there is the colorization controversy. Don't see it in color, its work best in Black and White. Trust me. Overall: The story itself is straightforward a realistic romantic movie with political allegory. The film's lasting enchantment is due to its dramatic conclusion and the theme of the inescapable past. The plane theme works because it was the escape of such memories. If you don't get onboard and see Casablanca. You might regard it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
2013-08-03
Better than you can even imagine!
For whatever reason I kept putting off watching this film. I knew so much about it, including its ending, and for years meant to see it, but thought, "what's the point?" After watching it last night I remembered what made me a movie fan in the first place. Movies like Casablanca. I was astounded with how influential this picture was. I knew Raiders of the Lost Ark was inspired by the old Saturday Afternoon Serials, but I had NO IDEA how much it had taken from "Casablanca." The shots, the cinematography, the staging of characters, even the clothing. So many movies were inspired by this film (some were direct rip-offs). I may go as far as to say that this is the most influential film ever made (along with Citizen Kane)! I absolutely loved it. No matter what type of film you favor, you'll find something to like about this movie. Don't make the same mistake I did and put it off for decades. It's well worth a rental or even a purchase!
2002-08-25
Timeless
Regardless of when the first time you saw Casablanca was, the movie will always remain timeless. Boggie plays the sarcastic and charismatic Rick Blaine and the beautiful Ingrid Bergman plays the lovely Ilsa, the only woman Rick ever loved who comes back into his life after abruptly leaving him. "Of all the gin joints in all the cities in all the world, she comes walking into mine."

The ultimate tale of love and sacrifice, Casablanca is a movie that despite how much times change, this film never loses its magic.

From a personal standpoint, I am not that big a fan of older movies (what some people dub "classics". I generally don't like any film made before 1960. I find the acting generally cheesy. But along with On The Waterfront, Casablanca is still one of the most amazing movies ever made. Highly recommended. Don't go to the video store and rent it, just go buy it.
2003-08-08
Here's Looking At You Kids!!!
Generation after generation will continue to love this splendid film, just as many previous generations have enjoyed this movie in the past!! (The principle reason for me bastardizing one of this movie's famous quotes) "Casablanca" has, undeniably, withstood the test of time!! This film evokes a romantic humanism into the thick of World War II!!! Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are magnificent as the tormented love interest duo who do not seem to be able to piece everything together, they just know they love each other, and more importantly, something clicks!!! Originally, Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheriden were cast for the roles of Rick and Ilsa, as it turns out, you cannot imagine any two other people besides Humphry Bogart and Ingrid Bergman for the roles!! These two performers exude more of a continental flair!! The American fascination for this flick is thoroughly justified!! Winning the academy award for best picture in 1943, "Casablanca" was just one of the many movies in the late 1930's and early 1940's which epitomized an era for excellent movies!! Based on the book "Everybody Comes To Ricks", Hal B. Wallis produces this film with a flawless orchestration!! The place, Casablanca, becomes a citadel of despondence and despair for so many people, yet for Rick and Ilsa, (Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman) the situation is tailor made for a passionate redemption!! Max Steiner encompasses a necessary nostalgia with the music in this film. "As Time Goes By" (made in 1931) became enormously popular with this movie!! The whole scene is set up whereby Paris becomes a venue for unprecedented and wondrous romanticism!! "Casablanca" is, without question, one of the greatest movies ever made!! You must remember this, a movie is just a movie!! Unless!! It is the movie of all time; "Casablanca"!! I will see "Casablanca" over and over and over again and never be tired of it!! EVERYBODY SHOULD SEE THIS MOVIE!! I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed!!! This film has 6 of the top 100 famous quotes in the history of all American film making!! Humphrey Bogart and Marlon Brando may lay claim to the most quotes from this list. Many colloquialisms from "Casablanca" have fallen within the realm of popular modern day jargon!! This website ranks "Casablanca" 11th best picture out of the top 250. AFI (American Film Institue) ranks "Casablanca" the second best American film ever made. I feel this is very impressive!! You will truly marvel at this film, in fact, if you do not think "Casablanca" is not one of the greatest films you have ever seen, I will be utterly amazed!!! AN ALL TIME MOVIE CLASSIC!!!!!!
2006-01-24
A kiss is still a kiss... a sigh may be just a sigh, but MUSIC MAKES THIS FILM A FILM THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
For a film that is so highly spoken of I never really was too eager to see it. I suppose it's because of what some would term as "hype" others would term as "overkill." But some would term it as "tribute." Anyway, I didn't feel like it was a must-see. I THOUGHT I knew the story. I didn't. I THOUGHT I knew the lines, I did, I THOUGHT I knew the music, and I did, but only when I see this movie over and over do I begin to appreciate Bergman's acting, Bogie's finesse, and Steiner's music. Ever since I saw "Carrotblanca," I remembered that I should really try to see this one. So at the first opportunity, I bought it, watched it that very night, and unlike Doctor Zhivago, this one actually kept me entertained and sympathized with the characters. It's an amazing story, I'm surprised people have actually thought this was a boring film... though for action-loving dudes on motorcycles in leather and gold chains might find it so.

NO ONE PLAYS IT LIKE SAM! (and Max)
2002-10-25
The Greatest
What makes Casablanca the greatest?

The detail. After Ugate is arrested Rick moves forward and picks up a small glass that has fallen over.

When Sam is playing 'As Time Goes by' and Rick is drinking to forget (the famous scene) he involuntarily moans from within. He shows the man's heartbreak - the reactions of emotion running through a body broken by booze and sorrow.

This is acting and film making at it's very finest.

The inner decency of Rick is moving as is Ingrid Bergmann's tear filled eyes - but the throat catcher is the singing of the Marselliase and Yvonne's impassioned 'Vive La France!'

This was war time, and the film makes us remember what it was all for. Hollywood should look at the script - how simply it is constructed - and learn - there is a public worldwide that wants scripts of this quality about real people.
2004-07-20
One of the greatest
This is one of the greatest movies ever made. It transcends time. The script is just pure poetry. Sure, some of the supporting actors are a little stiff but Bogart and Bergman have a chemistry that has never been captured on screen again. The ending is the best 15 minutes of film ever. Anyway, can't say enough for this movie. Chris
2002-09-16
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