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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

THE Greatest Movie Ever Made

10/10
Author: Brodieman808 from United States
13 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Arguably the greatest film ever made. It is a classic for a reason, this film tells a great story, tells a love story and is a political commentary at the same time, all while being supremely entertaining.

From start to finish this movie continues to pull you in, and makes remarkable references to world events at the time. You are introduced to Rick, played by the legendary Humphrey Bogart, an American who "sticks his neck out for nobody" but who was fought bravely in the past against the same type of enemy the other characters are up against. This is clearly a singular personification of the history and the stance America had in 1941 prior to Pearl Harbor. Early in the story we see the keys to salvation handed over to him by Ugarte, played by Jewish actor Peter Lorre, who himself fled from the Nazi's in 1933 to come to America. Ugarte who is killed summarily early on in the story is something of a representative of the heartless horrors that Jewish refugees were telling of what was happening to Jews in Nazi Europe at the time. Rick is now the safeguard of "letters of transit" which play an important role and overall become a character in their own.

Taking place in what can only be described as purgatory we are introduced to a host of characters that need help to get out and the ones that prey on those needing that help. In this place the Vichy French, under influence of the Nazi's rule the land, and their prefect, the corrupt but still somehow noble in a way, Captain Renault, who becomes a representative of all French who wish to be free of Nazi rule, mainly because he doesn't like being told what to do more than anything. It is into this we see the great conflict as Victor Laslo, a legendary Czech freedom fighter against Nazi rule is brought into the story. Victor becomes a representative of all of Europe that needs the help of America, and as the singular American in the story, speaking for all of us he seeks out Rick, who now holds the key to Victors, and his wife's freedom. With the introduction of Victor Laslo we meet his wife Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, who we learn has had a past with Rick, a past that has scarred them both, but their feelings still remain. Here we see the American past with Europe personified, we have a past with that continent and most of us love that past but we want our own future and now our past love needs our help, so Rick has to come to the rescue. This relationship is summed up in one line Ilsa says to Rick "you have to think for both of us, for all of us" where we see the desperation and the need for salvation.

The climax to the movie is a masterful one, where a race to get Victor and Ilsa on the last plane out of Casablanca is taking place, where Rick has weaved a web of decit that bravely ensures they will get out alive if all goes according to plan. Prior to their escape one of the most famous monologues takes place that almost brings tears to the eyes of all who see it. And after the dust has settled Rick, the American, and Captain Renault the Frenchmen who has realigned his allegiances and saved Rick from the Nazi's walk off into the foggy night in what is "the beginning of a beautiful friendship" where side by side the Americans will stand with the French against the Nazi's.

In the end we see it as a highly critical editorial commentary made by Warner Brothers of the stance America had before entering the war. It also stands as a noble and optimistic beacon for events to come.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

I'd Like to Think You Killed a Man, It's the Romantic in Me

10/10
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
16 August 2003

It's that kind of cynicism that makes this old-time classic endearing to a modern day audience. "Casablanca" is a noirish melodrama set against the back-drop of WWII and Europeans fleeing to America by way of French Morocco. What's so refreshing about it, in spite of its classical love triangle theatrics, is that is never places romantic love on a pedestal. It realizes that in a world of uncertainty where neutrality is the biggest crime, there are more noble things than love.

This movie is sited by many critics and viewers alike as one of the top three greatest films ever made. It's easy to see why. It contains probably the greatest dialogue ever written for the screen. It stars two screen icons in their greatest roles and a superb supporting cast. It's directed by Curtiz with a complete lack of pretension. There's nothing overtly artistic about it, or any sign that anybody involved was trying too hard. Essentially this was a gathering of classy professionals who set out to accomplish one thing: make an entertaining film. In the process, they might have made the greatest. Unlike so many of the other classics of this period, you never have to view it "in context" to appreciate and enjoy it. Rock solid entertainment anchored by smart writing cleverly cast and competently directed translates well in any day and age. Play it again, Sam, and it gets even better As Time Goes By.

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7 out of 9 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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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Casablanca

10/10
Author: FilmFanatic09 from United States
5 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

No film captures the classical Hollywood style quite so well as "Casablanca." The film seamlessly combines romance and intrigue in its exotic location, remarkably conveyed by mere studio sets. The black and white cinematography is perfect for capturing and adding mood to the smoke filled rooms, war torn city streets, and foggy airports that compose the world of this film. Despite seeming a product of its time, "Casablanca" is truly a timeless piece of entertainment. It would be futile to recount the plot here. Even those who have never seen the film are likely to be aware that "Casablanca" is the film where Ingrid Bergman is forced to chose between old lover Humphrey Bogart and her resistance leader husband (the often overlooked Paul Henreid). Bergman as Ilsa Lund, the center of the love triangle, is magnificent here. She communicates with such ease the very different types of love she feels for each man in her life, and we sympathize with her struggle. Of course, Bogart too created a legendary performance as café owner Rick Blaine. Seeing him transform from the man who will stick his neck out for nobody to someone content with making a great self-sacrifice is one of the joys of the film.

Bogart and Bergman are leading players among equals however, and are rightly matched by numerous character actors, not the least of which is Claude Rains. In his portrayal of French Vichy officer Captain Renault, he hits the perfect notes to show off both the corrupt and goodhearted sides of the character. He also gets to deliver some of the film's best comedic one-liners. Another unforgettable actor is Dooley Wilson as the congenial piano player Sam, who of course provides the quintessential rendition of "As Time Goes By". Director Michael Curtiz certainly does these fine actors justice. The film has some striking visuals too. Be on the lookout for the raindrops on a letter which look more like tears, and the symbolism provided by a bottle of water towards the film's end. Viewers aware of the many troubles that plagued the production of "Casablanca," should be amazed at the manner in which the film as a whole is able to so greatly transcend the sum of its parts.

When you pause and really consider it, "Casablanca" is a much simpler film than many others also hailed as classics. It was based on an unremarkable (and unproduced) stage play, shot on a modest budget, and released with the thought of the natural appeal it would carry for its wartime audiences. And yet it has endured so long beyond that. Much has been made on the subject of reading "Casablanca" as a political allegory, with Rick representing isolationist America, Lazlo the Free French, so on, and so on. This rightfully compels the film student in me. But in all actuality, the romantic in me is much more captivated by the story of three little people caught up in the problems of a crazy world. The nuances of the characters, the sense of urgency ominously hanging over every scene, and the tear jerking story of love lost, found, and lost once more in the name of a bigger cause are the elements that stay with us. For me, as well as countless other film lovers around the world, the first viewing of "Casablanca" proves to be the start of a very beautiful friendship.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The Greatest

Author: bob-1075 from Bob Morrell, Tonbridge, England
20 July 2004

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.

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11 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Some Film Invents Humanity

Author: tedg (tedg@FilmsFolded.com) from Virginia Beach
10 August 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers herein.

Bloom said of Shakespeare that he invented humanity. Films will always have less depth than poetry, but they can have a similar, profound effect on popular culture. Movies are seldom about life, but life is often about film, the few films that find the groove.

This film invented -- to a substantial degree -- what it meant to be a post-war American. It is not so much that it was perfect, but that we have remolded ourselves around it, as part of the victor's healing.

I recently saw some other Bogart films (like `Treasure'), and they amazed me in how poorly they worked. How mannered his acting seemed.

We have beautiful faces in other films, even this face (which we still have in Isabella). But nothing seems to compete for the certain archetype of passionate commitment, of pathetic yearning, of immature desire, of refugee desperation.

The interior sets -- and how they are photographed -- show a definite post `Citizen Kane' influence. In fact, one can see much of the Mercury Player flavor in these characters, particularly Greenstreet.

But you know, this film has so melded with dreams that you don't need to screen it.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Wartime Themes

Author: Lechuguilla from Dallas, Texas
28 November 2007

Love and sacrifice during WWII underlie the story about a café owner named Rick (Humphrey Bogart), and his link to two intellectual refugees from Nazi occupied France. Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) seek asylum here in politically neutral Casablanca and, like other European refugees, gravitate to Rick's upscale café, near the city's airport, with its revolving searchlight.

Rick is a middle-aged cynic who also has a touch of sentimentalism, especially for people in need, like Ilsa and Victor. The film's story is ideal for romantics everywhere.

Much of the plot takes place inside Rick's café, an ornate nightclub with archways and high ceilings. Rick's is a gathering place for an eclectic mix of patrons, from locals to those who have arrived from countries throughout Europe. It's this deliciously international ambiance of Rick's café that renders this film so appealing, with a variety of interesting accents, clothes, and uniforms. And, of course, there's Sam, the piano player, who plays all the favorites, including "As Time Goes By".

All of the film's technical elements are excellent including the script, with its colorful characters, like the debonair Captain Renault (Claude Rains); and Signor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet), the articulate and portly "leader of all illegal activities in Casablanca". And a minor character that made an impression on me was the guitar playing female singer at Rick's (Corinna Mura), whose beautifully operatic voice was an unexpected delight in this smoke filled saloon.

The film's dialogue, though substantial, is clever and lively, like when Captain Renault observes Rick escorting an intoxicated woman out of the bar: "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that; some day they may be scarce".

High-contrast B&W lighting renders a noir look. And that pounding score at the film's beginning is stunning; it evokes a feeling of far-off adventure.

"Casablanca" differs from traditional noir films, mostly as a result of its ending. Rick must make a choice between his own interests and the interests of others. The choice he makes enjoins viewers to a sense of courage and optimism, an individual's example of proper collective behavior in the war against Nazi Germany.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Casablanca is a movie that proves that early movies are still the greatest films of all time.

10/10
Author: Daniel Counts from United States
4 September 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Perfection

10/10
Author: AKHIL AGGARWAL from United States
21 July 2007

Casablanca (1942), pretty close to perfection. A movie that brings out the best script from both heart n brain, a tough combination. Does a perfect job in blending the political scenario of that time (World War 2) and the ever pervasive love matters. Just 102 minutes movie but each second is entertaining. The clever-stylish dialogues keep it alive throughout. The chemistry between Bogart and Bergman from their very 1st shot together, looks very natural. I wonder why they don't make such well developed movies today. Before watching the movie I did some other viewer comments saying it is all so boring but one thing they might be missing is that these were the movies from which directors used stuff again and again and that is why they look boring to us. But I guess we should at least respect them for this. A keeper, 10/10.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Still the greatest movie of all time!!!

10/10
Author: TheInvisibleCar from United States
21 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casablanca is still the greatest movie of all time! Its stars shine, there are memorable lines, quite a few which have been repeated elsewhere or even become the titles of movies themselves, there is superbly artistic and notable cinematography, heartfelt romance, inspiring and touching music, heroes, swelling feelings of sentiment and patriotism, and it is in no way too long, too weird or different. Just an all around great movie, and even for the few of those who can't agree that Casablanca is the all-around greatest movie of all time, they perhaps would at least agree that it has all the elements and plenty enough of what it takes to be putting up an honorable fight to claim that top spot, and most definitely should be on any critic's short list of greatest movies, if they expect to really be taken seriously. .

Time seems to date some movies badly, while it has worked greatly in favor of some movies, like Casablanca. It was made in the day when color was rare, yet, used black in white so well that it seems to be a great example of a movie that should have been filmed in black and white, even if doing such were to have cost more than color. The false looking backgrounds in its Paris automobile scenes in particular, although perhaps not so intended, has actually been used as a purposeful technique of dreamy recollection and such, in a few more modern day films. And again, even though perhaps not intended at the time, and even though the entire movie was made in studio, the fact that the Paris scenes are the ones that look so particularly fake is appropriate, since, at that very time, those scenes had to be fake, as Paris wasn't available, because it was under German occupation. There is no understating that this movie was a part of the arsenal of democracy itself, its story, themes and passion are set in the very center of what was then the raging battle for the world in what would become the single most defining event of the 20th Century, World War II. Every actor in the film, the director, the producer, and anybody and everybody working on the film or in any way involved with its making, were, in fact, at war with Nazi Germany.

There is no need for a learned critic or professor to explain this or anything about the movie, anything about its producers having used some new technique, some new technology, or any particularly notable new style of cinematography to just enjoy Casablanca. It's very touching in its story of human relationships and it is so noted for its black and white cinematography that some of its most ardent fans consider any colorizations of it sacrilege, even among those of us not generally opposed to the idea of colorization. And, it is the story of its times. Its depiction of challenged French patriotism brings tears the eyes of many a repeat viewer time and time again, when The Marseilles is sung. There are lines that people repeat, songs that even today people sing and whistle. In terms of just all around sheer entertainment, the movie is petty much as good as it gets. It is not only difficult to come up with a suggestion of what movies of the 20th century could be considered as good, it's impossible to find any movie that has anywhere near as many people thinking of it as the greatest movie of the 20th century. It's as if a clear majority think it the greatest movie of all time, and as for what other movie is even a contender to Casablanca's claim to the title, well, there is no clear single contender. I doubt fans of Casablanca could even form a majority as to what the second greatest movie of all time is. Even if all those who have another movie in mind could have a run-off to determine their party's candidate, it wouldn't matter, as Casablanca already has 65% of the general electorate locked-up. Although all-time is far from over, it's safe to say that Casablanca is now the for-all-time greatest movie of the 20th Century. Its as if Indiana Jones was involved in some battle, in the middle of some war, that we were actually passionately involved in at the time, with our entire economy geared towards the goal of winning that war, against actual Nazis soldiers, rather than the theatrical Nazi-ish soldiers that Indiana Jones was having problems with. Except Casablanca's actors are legendary movie icons. The dialogue is superior. The musical score is among the best of movies, as memorable as even the best of musicals, only Casablanca isn't a musical. Just as the main song of the movie is about a fight for love and glory, exactly what the entire free western and allied world was engaged in at that time, so the viewer feels where they stand in their heart of hearts. The viewer relates to the characters, and anybody familiar with history who believes in freedom and democracy isn't just cheering for our characters in the end, we truly feel as if we are on their side! Had the allied battle been lost, Casablanca may very well have quickly become a controlled, discarded and forgotten piece of illicit war propaganda. But as things turned out, it's Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, along with Dooley Wilson, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and many others, starring in the greatest roles of their careers in what clearly still seems to be the greatest movie of all time. Casablanca's being part of the patriotic effort itself, is perhaps one of its greatest advantages in cementing its claim as the greatest movie of all time, and this is a concrete advantage that will only continue to strengthen and harden, "As Time Goes By."

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