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Casablanca
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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Decades have gone by, but this one remains a classic!

10/10
Author: Electrified_Voltage from Guelph, Ontario, Canada
3 August 2007

I first became aware of this film's existence back when I was around nine years old, but never actually saw it. At the time, I highly doubt that was a great loss for me, as if I did see "Casablanca" when I was that young, there probably wouldn't have been many words for me to use to describe what I thought of it, other than "boring." However, I finally watched it for the first time about eleven years later, earlier this year, and was very impressed, even though I wouldn't have given it a 10/10 at the time. Since then, for me, it has improved with more viewings!

The film is set during World War II in Casablanca, Morocco, where many European refugees, fleeing from the Nazis, had to come in order to have any hope of getting to Lisbon, then to America. Rick Blaine is an American in exile who runs a nightclub in the Moroccan city. He is very cynical and "sticks his neck out for nobody." After it is announced that two German couriers have been murdered, Ugarte, the murderer, comes to Rick's club and asks him to hold on to two letters of transit for a while. Shortly afterwards, Ugarte is arrested, so Rick is stuck with these letters. The nightclub owner is then informed that Victor Laszlo, the European Resistance leader, is coming to Casablanca, and Major Strasser of the Gestapo tells him to make sure Victor doesn't escape from the city. Victor comes to Casablanca with Ilsa Lund, Rick's former love who left him in Paris! At first, Rick is not pleased to see Ilsa again. Ilsa and Victor have come for the two letters, but convincing Rick to give them to the couple won't be easy!

It has been 65 years since "Casablanca" was first shown to the public, and since then, many people from generation after generation have seen it and have been blown away! With its poignancy, suspense, strong dialogue, romance, etc., this 1942 motion picture is a work of genius, and there's nothing surprising about its wide appeal! So, if you want to see a stunning love story, set and made during WWII, and movies don't require a whole ton of action to impress you, I would say "Casablanca" is a must-see! If you don't love it right away, maybe you never will, or maybe it will grow on you with a second or third viewing!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Here's looking at cinema-perfection, kid…

10/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
16 February 2004

Out of all the films that are considered classic milestones in cinema…how many fully deserve that status?? Not that many, let me tell you…but Casablanca absolutely does! Casablanca has become history itself, a legendary production that'll live on forever. And it should! This film is essential viewing for everyone who ever showed interest in cinema. Every sequence in Casablanca is brilliant, every character is intriguing and every setting is breath taking. Especially when you're watching it for the first time…you'll be surprised how much you actually know about it already. Multiple ideas, lines and sequences were so influential and important to cinema, that they have been used numberless times afterwards. You might even say that cinema would have looked completely different if it wasn't for Casablanca. It's a brilliant love-story with irresistible film-noir and comedy aspects. The entire script - line by line - is pure nostalgic and some of the dialogues originally shown here grew out to become pure historical art. This intelligent movie also depends a lot on its superb cast, of course. Bogart portrays a terrific character here…a performance that yet has to find its equal. His brute and heartless portrayal of Rick is fascinating, especially because you soon find out that he is in fact just a hurt romanticist, heart-broken by a girl who's about to show up again. This girl (the stunning Ingrid Bergman) is practically the most marvelous lady who ever appeared on the big screen. Thanks to her natural charm and beauty, Bergman makes the most out of Ilsa. Film-noir stars Claude Rains and Peter Lorre supply the film with terrific supporting characters and a right amount of humor and parody. It's amazing how this film combines so many different genres successfully. The cruelty and drama of the war and the rise of the 'Third Empire' is mixed with comedy and romance in a unique way. It cannot be denied…Casablanca is pure perfection and everyone should appreciate it. This film isn't to be missed by anyone, whether you're young, middle-aged or retired…this film will move you.

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6 out of 8 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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6 out of 8 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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7 out of 10 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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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I'm A Cynic So What I Say Doesn't Matter

7/10
Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
5 May 2014

Once in a while you find yourself stumbling upon a film whose reputation precedes it . It doesn't matter what anyone on this site or out in the wider world says about it . CASABLANCA is a case in point . Anything I or anyone else writers here is entirely superfluous because any insight has already been said and anyone saying anything negative is instantly considered a contrition merely for the sake of it . CASABLANCA is cinematic legend . End of . It should be noted however that despite being broadcast on a relatively regular basis in the 1970s on British television it hasn't appeared very often in recent years . It might be wrong to point out that it was a mainstay in the top ten of the IMDb top 250 but nowadays it's sliding down the list as more people are exposed to it and perhaps think its legendary status isn't as deserved as it could have been . Perhaps I too belong to that camp

The reputation means so many people have actually forgotten what the film is about . Slightly patriotic flag waver where the forces of democracy get one over on the vile Nazis , slightly romantic pot boiler , and very much redemption plot it's a film that does have a feelgood factor . The story revolves around Rick , an embittered cynic who is only interested in profiting from the war and as events turn out he's about to discover that there's somethings far more important than money . Everything could have been done a little bit better especially when you consider Michael Curtiz is very much a contender for best film director of the 20th Century who made a lot of differing genre films and was always very good at what he did . His problem was that his films weren't marketed for a bitterly cynical audience in the 21st Century and seem a little bit too old fashioned when seen today . That said the up side is you enjoy classic Hollywood with its emphasis on stardom , dialogue and feel good factor there's a lot to admire in CASABLANCA but you have go in to it with the certain knowledge that it's not quite the masterwork its legendary reputation suggests it is

That is the main problem with Michael Curtiz in general and CASABLANCA in particular . A film like ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES doesn't contain one single scene or line of dialogue that can be classed as realistic in anyway and a film like that which has lines such as " Okay fellas let's say a prayer for a kid who couldn't run as fast as me " would see pop corn and drinks thrown at the screen in 2014 . You have to meet these classic Hollywood movies on there own terms and sometimes cynicism gets in the way

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Words are Sufficient

10/10
Author: Phillip Riback from United States
31 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"This is a beginning of a beautiful friendship" – that is how this unforgettable and everlasting movie, which talks about love, friendship, loyalty, intrigue, and survival ends. The play takes place in the city of Casablanca, and even though we are unable to see the city (because the action takes place mainly in Ricks' bar), the life of the city is present. On one side are refugees waiting to escape from the horrors of war, and on the other are those who still enjoy nights full of gambling and entertainment, or smuggling and enrichment. The love story is started in war Paris, and revived through the memories in the currently more peaceful Morocco. The fact that love is stronger and larger than any other living thing, and subordinate to world events, is show in the decisions Rick (H. Bogart) makes. Although the movie is black-and-white, it even more emphasizes time events. There is also a color version of the film, but it feels like something is missing. If you have a chance to watch it, you shouldn't miss this masterpiece. And if you have watched it... Play It Again Sam.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Here's looking at you, kid... and you're looking pretty good - 93%

10/10
Author: Benjamin Cox from Hampshire, England
2 April 2013

Given that I'm now over 500 reviews into my film-critic "hobby", I figured that the time was slightly over-due to watch some of the more iconic pictures out there, the ones most critics consider essential. You know the ones - "Citizen Kane", "Gone With The Wind", stuff like that with epic dollops of melodrama and black-and-white shots in soft-focus. I expected this to be one of those over-hyped pictures that people remember through rose-tinted spectacles. I expected dodgy acting, a corny script, rubbish sets and that horrible feeling that the whole thing was a con. And after 500-reviews, do you know what I've learnt? I know nothing.

Casablanca, in northern Africa, is a mecca for people fleeing the approaching Nazi forces in the early years of World War 2. For those like Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) with nowhere else to go, Casablanca is as good a home as any and his nightspot is the hottest ticket in town. Enjoying an uneasy relationship with local prefect Captain Renault (Claude Rains), Rick is as cynical and world-weary as they come until the enigmatic Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) comes to the bar. Having escaped the clutches of a Nazi concentration camp, Laszlo forces Rick to question his neutrality in the politics of Europe: firstly, by bringing along his wife - and Rick's former lover - Isla Lund (Ingrid Bergman)and secondly, by trying to escape from the Nazis once and for all and the villainous Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) who's in town specifically to bring Laszlo in.

I'm always weary about approaching the oldies but I really shouldn't have worried about "Casablanca" - it's an iconic picture for several reasons. Performances are frankly superb from almost everyone - Bogart is immensely charismatic as Rick, a character whose influence you can see in many movies since and his chemistry with Bergman is the stuff of legend. Every time you hear one of his classic lines like "Here's looking at you, kid", you give a little childish yelp of joy at witnessing film history before your eyes. There is a real sense of magic here, which would count for nothing if the film weren't any good. But it is - the story offers a timeless romance and tales of redemption amid heightening tensions and the imminent threat of war, brilliantly illustrated by the scene in the bar as the Nazi anthem is drowned out by the locals singing La Marseillaise. It reminded me of the first time I watched "Dr No" or the first Star Wars - you know what's coming, you've probably already heard some of the lines before but you know what? Instead of weakening the film, it brings it to life in a way that modern movies just can't do. You know you're watching a landmark picture and things like plot holes and continuity simple don't matter any more.

I was quite unprepared for just how good "Casablanca" is. It would appear that nothing diminishes its power and even after all this time, it is a wonderfully emotive and evocative picture that rightly remains one of the all-time classics. It would be easy to dismiss it as clichéd or overly dramatic but this is a film with real power, a tangible sense of danger that hangs over the characters as they battle with inner demons and external villains. The only real things I could criticise are the fact that no patron ever appears drunk (despite everyone having vast amounts to drink) and that Casablanca's excessively humid climate doesn't transfer well but to be honest, I'm nit-picking. I love this movie and regret not watching it before. Some critic, huh?

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Everything That Makes a True Classic is Here

Author: Scrius from United States
3 December 2012

To have lasting appeal in the past, present, and future, that defines a classic. As for my humble opinion, I believe there are two things which enable a filmmaker to create a classic that people hold dear: identifiable elements that are not so far-fetched from our own world and a profound message that continues to inspire and strengthen us with age. Bearing this in mind, it's understandable why the acclaimed Casablanca is a beloved work of cinema and counted among the great classic films. A romantic, patriotic, and idealistic movie that continues to stand the test of time and enchant present generations.

Derived from an unpublished play that surprisingly went nowhere, Casablanca is as beautifully photographed as it is narrated. The central focus is a timeless relationship between two characters played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, without whom there's no doubt the movie wouldn't be as memorable or appealing. A loving relationship between Rick Blaine (Bogart) and Ilsa Lund (Bergman) in Paris tragically ends because of the outbreak of the War and leaves Rick a heartbroken and apathetic man. It drives him into hiding away from the world's problems in his café in far off Casablanca. But the fires of a lost passion are rekindled upon Ilsa's unanticipated reentry into his life, their fates forever entwined. Ilsa explains to Rick that something greater than the both of them had begun to unfold in her relationship with Victor Laszlo, the hero of the Resistance. She appeals to the sentimental heart and the patriotic spirit that rests within Rick's cynical exterior. His former self revived, Rick grants his lover and her husband passage to America in one of cinema's most memorable finales, as they say farewell outside of a plane, all for the sake of the cause they fight for. The rest is cinematic history!

I find it hard to believe that no one expected anything grand to come from Casablanca during the course of its development. The film is handled with great care, having a strong script and outstanding performances. Humphrey Bogart brilliantly portrays a hero, ranging from a broken man with little to lose to a redeemed figure who is changed for the better in the end. As Ilsa, Ingrid Bergman conveys a very warm and tender nature. And of course, the chemistry between Bogart and Bergman is top-notch and deeply moving.

Countless are all the classic moments and dialogue that even those who have never seen the movie can recognize. One of my favorite scenes takes place during the second meeting between Rick and Ilsa. Upon entering the café, Ilsa seems bathed by an almost heavenly light, symbolic of Rick's salvation. Another sequence that lingers within me is when the crowd singing La Marseillaise drowns the Nazi anthem out. Both scenes illustrate the crux themes of the movie, of how much hope a loving relationship can provide and how justice will prevail over evil if we all stand united.

Casablanca is not a movie that's to be marveled for technological achievements, but something infinitely more meaningful. For the leading characters, their relationship meant hope, which was exactly what was needed throughout the bleak time that was World War II. Casablanca is a movie that encourages viewers to follow their hearts and to take a stand for the many. No matter how insignificant you may seem, making a difference is never impossible. Those who have thought that Casablanca would never go far, let alone be hailed as a timeless classic, could not have been more wrong. I expect I'll be asking Sam to play it again soon!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Beginning of The Golden Age of Hollywood

10/10
Author: yilmazomar from United States
19 October 2012

The sets, costumes and designs were absolutely gorgeous. Each shot in each scene was carefully composed and mathematically balanced, there was a symmetry to shapes and buildings and the way in which they were captured. The lighting was incredibly clean and succinct, objects were so smooth and defined I couldn't believe my eyes. I also think the camera movements like quick zooms or when the camera moved up to a character, or shots like of the entire club were revolutionary and you can definitely see the influence of the camera work in later films. I feel like this is the film or one of the films in which our cinematic history transitions into the modern period with acting and camera-work the kind that were used to, the film strangely didn't feel old to me it looked and flowed like it could have been made yesterday. The plot itself isn't bad, it's suspenseful and exciting and interesting, Bogart and Bergman are talented actors but Bogart stood out to me the most. You can see his influence on later actors portraying dark disturbed men in historical films or action films or a combination of both.

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