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Casablanca
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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Magic, pure magic.... every time

10/10
Author: intelearts from the big screen
22 January 2007

The greatest love story on film - pure and simple.

The telling is so perfect: the setting, the timing, the exotic, the human.

Bogart was never better, Ingrid Bergmann never more beautiful: the first time they see each other takes my breath away every time - truly one of the best moments in cinema history.

Casablanca has a true timeless to it: partly because it is so beautifully shot; it is one of the most beautiful B & W films: the use of lighting, and shade are exquisite and compliment the settings perfectly.

Above all, though it is a film about love: who wouldn't want to be Rick, or to be Ilsa, and to have had Paris...

Exceptional, excellent, and will remain a favourite as time goes by

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Dooley Wilson as "Sam"

10/10
Author: Doug Deuchler (deuchler@sbcglobal.net) from Chicago
14 February 2007

Everyone knows the line "Play it again, Sam," never really occurs in the picture. Bogart doesn't say those actual words to Dooley Wilson.

"Casablanca" is widely recognized as a nearly perfect example of a film produced during the peak of the Hollywood "Studio Years." It's a cultural treasure and justifiably beloved. But there is no getting around the fact that the role of Sam, the jazz pianist, is patronizingly written and the character is an unfortunate example of the Uncle Tom type of "good black" that so often crept into movies of that era.

The character of the pianist/singer in Rick's Cafe Americain was initially conceived of as a part for a female jazz artist like Hazel Scott, Ella Fitzgerald, or Lena Horne. Perhaps the subliminal sexuality of having a young African American woman so close to Rick (Bogart) made the Warner Bros. execs nervous. MGM, where Lena Horne was under contract, never quite knew how to deal with her beauty or sexuality. She was seldom part of a storyline but rather often featured as a performer in a nightclub sequence that could be snipped out in prints of the film being exhibited in the Deep South, thus not offending racists but not messing with the continuity of the plot. The role of the pianist was switched to a male character possibly to sidestep all the issues of miscegenation between the singer and "Mr. Rick." Racial mixing was one of the last taboos to go during the 30 year reign and enforcement of the Production Code.

Though the Bogart character is respectful of Sam and looks out for his best interests, making sure Sam is paid the same once he leaves Morocco, their relationship is not truly one of equals. Sam always refers to him as "Mr. Rick" and Bergman as "Miss Ilsa." Sam takes care of Rick and worries over his happiness and well-being. We know nothing of Sam's life or needs. All we know for sure is that Sam will do anything he can to keep these white folks happy.

When Bergman first spots Sam in the nightclub she inquires, "Who is that boy playing the piano?" BOY? Born in 1886, Dooley Wilson was 56 years old. Use of the term "boy" to refer to the musician is an unfortunate indication of the prevailing practice of denigrating black men's sexuality and maturity. One was a "boy" until one was 70.

Yet Warner Bros., more-so perhaps than the other big studios, was more liberated in terms of race and its depiction. The mere presence of Sam as a character indicated progress to many. But the role is definitely narrow and restrained, within the typical submissive image often delineated for blacks. At one point, and mercifully it's mostly cut, early in the film Sam begins to sing an old song called "Shine." (Shine was a racist term for an African American, like Coon or Jigaboo.) The number was a very racist tune of the early 20th Century---"Just because my hair is curly/ Just because my teeth are pearly..." We are not subjected to the full song which is a catalog of stereotypic images---and then the song ends with the line "That's why they call me Shine." The full number is sung by dancer John Bubbles in MGM's "Cabin in the Sky" filmed that same year.

Dooley Wilson, by the way, was paid $350 per week to appear in "Casablanca." Sidney Greenstreet was paid $3,750 per week.

Dooley Wilson was one of the best jazz drummers of the era. It's ironic that he will always be remembered "playing piano" (and not a very good faking, at that) in "Casablanca." He did also sing well, and his performance is part of the stuff dreams were made of at Warner Bros.---preserved for posterity in this wonderful though clearly not perfect film.

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7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Why I think Casablanca is better than Citizen Kane

10/10
Author: rickhavoc1 from United States
3 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I know everyone won't agree with me, but I think Casablanca is the better movie for the following reasons.

1. Better cast. Humphrey Bogart vs. Orson Welles? No contest. Ingrid Bergman vs. any of the actresses in CK? Again, no contest. The same goes for the rest.

2. Better, tighter plot and pacing. The plot and pacing of Casablanca is totally superior. You have to pay attention through the entire movie or you will miss crucial dialog or plot developments. Citizen Kane's plot moves at a snail's pace by comparison, and it's non-linear, which makes it more confusing. Plus, Casablanca tells a better story.

3. Better romance. Who even talks about the romance in Citizen Kane?

4. Greater truths explored. While the truths explored in Citizen Kane are important, (limits of wealth and power, the dangers of one man gaining too much power), Casablanca explores more and greater truths, such as freedom being worth any sacrifice, that no matter how many people tyrants kill there are always others who will step up to replace them, how America was seen as the last hope for freedom by those trying to escape from or being oppressed by Nazi tyranny, the critical importance of fidelity in marriage, (which CK barely touched on), and how totally cynical men like Rick and Captain Renault could become patriots, just to name a few.

5. Better musical score. Although both scores were nominated for Academy Awards, I really think the score for Casablanca was far more memorable.

6. Many more memorable lines. Do I really have to go into this? I don't think so. Besides, plenty of others have already posted comments here about the many memorable lines in Casablanca.

7. More Academy Awards. 3 for Casablanca vs. 1 for Citizen Kane.

8. Better final scene. I just think seeing Rick and Captain Renault walking off together with the line, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." beats the scene of "Rosebud" being burned up all hollow. Plus, it touches on another truth, the importance of friendship.

9. Casablanca, as well as some of Hollywood's other greatest movies, was made following what I call the "Indiana Jones Method". They made it up as they went. Although it can be tough on the actors, this often results in a better movie.

10. Casablanca is both timely and timeless at the same time. The same could be said of Citizen Kane, but I think a fictionalized account of the life of William R. Hearst, (which is what everyone, including Hearst himself, thinks or thought CK is) grows LESS relevant as time passes. The timeless themes of Casablanca, lost love, resisting tyranny, patriotism, and freedom being worth any sacrifice will NEVER lose their relevance. Which is why it's so much more than just a WWII propaganda piece.

Although I have to admit a slight bias because the main character of Casablanca and I happen to share the same first name, I think I've shown enough other reasons why I prefer it. I honestly believe that the only reason the AFI rates Citizen Kane #1 is because of the many ground breaking techniques Orson Welles used to make it. As for me, I just think that, since the primary purpose of any movie is to tell a story, and use the story to explore and expound on truths that never change, story should trump technique every time. Movies that forget this almost never do well, and are usually soon forgotten. Citizen Kane barely broke even, but it shouldn't be forgotten. I just don't think it's the better movie.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Deeper meaning

Author: Ara Gevorgyan from United States
13 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In the first glance it is a romantic drama telling story about an unhappy

love triangle but the film bears deeper meanings. It portrays the World War II and its devastation impact on the people and on the war-torn Europe. is a mirror reflection of the war, the consequence of the horrible war that Germany has started. It is a city of hope, chaos and desperation at the same time. This is a very clear political statement (message), said by U.S government through Major Heinrich's character, which has a sub-plot saying and showing to the world that for Nazi Germany human life has zero value.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Casabalaca and Rick

9/10
Author: Ayush Manu
5 January 2015

Casabalanca is classic love triangle set at the time of World war 2 in the city of Casabalanca,Morocco.The movies revolves around a rich saloon owner Rick played by Humphrey Bogart.The movie is not only about love it depicts realities of war,terror and friendship. Characters like Rick and Ilsa are deep.Rick is first portrayed out as an arrogant rich person who is very selfish.As he says "he sticks out his neck for no one".But later we realize he is a sentimentalist and is always ready to help people. Captain Renault played by Claude Rains as A French officer is interesting.His performance is comical and effective. The story and direction is great.The performances are engaging.A must watch!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

The Most Magical Movie Ever Made.

10/10
Author: powermandan from Canada
22 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Humphrey Bogart is the coolest actor ever. Sure there are actors that are better than him, but none have his spunk that only he can deliver. After first starting off with movies, the world fell for his bad guy gimmick and he changed his birth-date to Christmas to make himself seem nicer (or so I read). His breakout role was in the complex mystery The Maltese Falcon, where he plays cop, Sam Spade, with an edge. Every cop after has just been trying to match Spade in toughness and coolness. Casablanca was the role that really made his versatility grow and made him one of cinema's greatest heroes.

During this time, there was roughly a movie a week that was released. All of them blended in together very well and nobody really cared about Casablanca. It was based on a relatively unknown play and the actors treated this as if it was just another movie. Nobody knew this would stand the test of time and become more loved over the years. When Orson Welles made Citizen Kane, he knew it would become the best movie ever. The people in Casablanca could not say the same thing.

Casablanca is said to be the greatest film of all time more than any other. The only other movie that's a worthy contender as the best ever is Citizen Kane. The Godfather is also a good rival. But Casablanca is a nicer and more feel-good movie than Citizen Kane and The Godfather,but it has mostly been Citizen Kane and Casablanca that have been rivals since the beginning. Citizen Kane changed the way movies are made with unbeatable camera tricks and the best delivery of a life lesson ever, whereas Casablanca uses just great acting, a great story, and great dialogue. It is about a tough nigh club owner in Casablanca, Morocco named Rick (Bogart) who re-encounters his old flame (Bergman) with her war hero husband (Henreid) laying low. Rick is the only one with letters of transit that can help them escape, and only she can convince him to do it.

What makes a movie so good? It has to have good acting, a good script, a good look, great filming, be relatable and emotionally connecting. Casablanca has all of those, minus great filming techniques. What makes Casablanca so special? Awesome swing music a none swing fan would like; great acting by a star-studded ensemble; a wide variety of emotions such as comedy and excitement and drama; unbeatable and quotable dialogue, more than any other in film history; and the amount of love that's in this: he is willing to sacrifice himself for her, she wants to be with Rick, and Rick reawakens his love for her. This is raved as being the most romantic movie ever. There's crappy Zac Efron movies these days that are more romantic than this. But this has the best and most original love story ever.

Since Casablanca's release, there have been various copycats and adaptations of it, but none have ever been able to capture its magic. It is the best movie that did not rely on any special effects or filming usages.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Nothing remains to be said

10/10
Author: ClairePusatere from New York
13 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What can anyone say about Casablanca that hasn't already been said? It is one of the most prolific, successful, and critically lauded films in American history. It's also one of my personal favourite films. From start to finish, the dialogue is endlessly quotable without becoming obnoxious, and it maintains a keen wit that is unforgettably punched into film canon with Humphrey Bogart's legendary delivery. Bergman is angelically filmed in each scene with extreme attention paid to framing and lighting, and she flawlessly portrays a woman tortured by her situation. The special attention to the lighting, the bustling Rick's café, the unique period of American neutrality before involvement in WWII... The list of things I love about this movie goes on and on. Few films are more deserving of a perfect score than Casablanca.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Casablanca (1942)

Author: jsaunders8 from United States
16 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What an experience it was to watch Casablanca for the first time. It is truly an amazing film. The director Michael Curtiz did a superb job when he chose the casting for this movie. Humphrey Bogart plays the perfect leading role as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman plays heartbreaker, Ilsa Lund.

While watching the film, you get a feeling that Rick Blaine is a cynical man, who holds little value and respect towards women. Maybe it's because his heart was broken after his lover betrays him in Paris, leaving him to wonder what went wrong with their relationship.

After leaving Paris, Rick opens up a casino/nightclub in Morocco during World War II. This night club is a refuge for those trying to escape German (Nazi) leadership. Blaine is a well liked man and many refugees from other European countries travel to Morocco seeking Rick's help to obtain exit visas.

Rick is soon reunited with Ilsa and the unspoken truth is revealed as to why she left him stranded in Paris. Does the man get the girl? You'll have to watch the movie to know for sure.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Movie romanticism at its best

9/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
4 October 2014

Casablanca is a desperate place during WWII. Refugees escaping the Nazis travel a back route through Casablanca to Lisbon and then to the free world. Some can go no further than the French colony which is home to scoundrels, smugglers, double dealers, and freedom fighters. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a world wearied expat American who runs a popular nightspot Rick's. He sticks his neck out for nobody. Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) leads the local police. He's eager to catch the underground leader Victor Laszlo to please the Germans. Ugarte (Peter Lorre) is a sweaty people-smuggler who is selling 2 letters of transit stolen from 2 German couriers. He gives the valuable letters for Rick to hide. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with his old flame Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman).

It's hard to quantify everything that is so great about this movie. Bogie as the Rick is one of those movie icons that transcends even the movie world. The desperation is well projected. This is melodrama of the highest order and the best of the genre. Sometimes movies come along at the right time. This is a propaganda film at the perfect time where the theme of sacrifice hit hardest. This is the standard bearer for movie romanticism as much as Romeo and Juliet for plays. Some can complain about Paul Henreid's stiffness as Laszlo but that's the point of his character. Some others can complain about the effects but that's missing the point of the movie entirely. Some can complain about all the clichés, and I agree that this movie is one big cliché. So what? In the end, this is a movie that deserves every bit of its iconic status.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Perfect . . . just perfect

Author: The_Film_Cricket from Birmingham, Alabama
4 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Casablanca' was just another movie to those making it, one of 200 pictures that Warner Bros. released in 1942. In the decade before television, the major studios had a movie a week to get into theaters and so with that schedule one movie was just as important as another. 'Casablanca' was not expected to do well (or rather not nearly as well as it did) even though the cast was first rate – Humprey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. It doesn't comfortably fit a genre, its plot is too complicated to put into an ad and, in the maelstrom of World War II, movies about the events overseas were a tough sell unless they had John Wayne or Gary Cooper blasting the Axis powers back to the Stone Age.

When it was released late in 1942 it quickly found audiences lined up around the block to see it. Part of its appeal I think was the timeliness of the subject. This was a time when Hitler's armies were spreading across Europe and a time when no one knew what the Nazis were going to do next. That uncertainty is present in the film. There is a desperation that is always present just beneath the surface of 'Casablanca', the pervasive dread of the Nazi death grip on the world.

The movie takes place in the tiny village of Casablanca in Northern Morocco, one of the last French occupied countries not in the grip of the Nazis. As the movie opens it has become a human traffic jam of refugees trying to get money and transport to Lisbon where they can catch a plane to America. Few opportunities arise to book such a passage so many find themselves stranded for days weeks and even months. At the center of this chaos is Casablanca's most popular nightspot Rick's Café Americain which is run by Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) a man who remains steadfast at staying out of political affairs ('I stick my neck out for no one' he says).

One day he is given an order by police chief Louis Renault (Claude Rains) that a man wanted by the Reich is on his way to Casablanca and that Rick is to make sure that he stays in Casablanca. The man, Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid), escaped a concentration camp and is now a major figure in the French resistance and his passage to Lisbon would be a bit detrimental to the Reich. Rick isn't interested but in the interest of humoring Renault he agrees. What he doesn't know is that Lazlo is currently married to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), a woman that left Rick standing alone on a rainy train platform some years earlier with a Dear John letter soaking in his hand (this is part of the reason that he has retreated to Casablanca). He has held a deep resentment for years so naturally this reopens old wounds as Victor and Ilsa enter Rick's club and Rick grieves that 'Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine'.

There is a legitimate reason that Ilsa left Rick and when she reveals it to him, he understands but she falls into a quandary. She loves Rick and can't bear to hurt him again but she loves Lazlo and she must she knows that he needs her now more than ever. Bergman's performance as the emotionally confused Ilsa is due in part to the fact that during filming she was never told which man she was going to end up with. She twists and turns with confused emotions and we never see her leaning one way or the other. When Rick tells her in the end that she is getting on the plane with Lazlo her face reveals confusion as she tries to comprehend it. The moment is very real. If she knew how the movie was going to end, I don't think that the subtleties of her performance would be as present.

Bogart, known at this point for his cold tough guy roles, showed a sensitive side here and hereafter is where he flourished as a leading man. As Rick, he is cold to those who come looking for a favor but in Ilsa's eyes he simply melts. This was a side of Bogart that was new to audiences and it changed his image for the rest of his career. This was his best performance so naturally he lost the Oscar to an unworthy contender Paul Lukas in 'Watch on the Rhine' (heard of it? Me neither?). Bogart would win the Oscar for 1951's 'The African Queen' continuing the academy's strange habit (after Cagney in 'Yankee Doodle Dandy and Gable in 'It Happened One Night) of giving Oscars to Hollywood tough guys for sensitive pussycat roles.

I greatly admire the screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch for their restraint. It must have been tempting to present the Nazis dominating the screen but the presence of too many might have lessened the credibility that Lazlo could escape. Also, it must have been so tempting in a movie with this much star power and this much emotion to supply an ending that would find Rick and Ilsa in each other's arms. That would have been a mistake. Rick's change of heart is the most important aspect of the film. He realizes that he must let her go in the interest of the greater good, that Lazlo, off on his mission, needs her now more than ever. The script allows the characters to follow their hearts rather than some kind of crowd pleasing convention. It took nerve to allow the characters to find the courage of their convictions, that the cause of stopping the Nazi's is far more important because they realize that their personal problems just 'don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world'.

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