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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Still the greatest movie of all time!!!

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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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


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 17 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 19 people found the following review useful:

Some Film Invents Humanity

Author: tedg ( 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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Timeless - a Hollywood classic!

Author: brchthethird from United States
14 November 2014

This was yet another classic film to which I've been a "Johnny-come-lately." Still, I can see why it has attained its status as one of the Hollywood greats. Put simply, it deals with timeless themes in a matter-of-fact way, enhanced by the excellent performances, flawless and elegant cinematography and an emotionally stirring soundtrack and score. There's not a single minute wasted, and its impossible not to get caught up in the story of love, longing and triumph over adversity. Any self-respecting film lover owes it to themselves to see this, and preferably more than once. At least now I can check it off my cinematic bucket list.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"I stick my head out for nobody."

Author: Emillion from United States
13 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Michael Curtiz's masterpiece, Casablanca, is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. The plot brilliantly demonstrates self sacrifice and ever- lasting love in a way that is untraditional and completely original. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman have amazing chemistry that really brings the story to life. The lighting is perfect and natural, despite being filmed in a studio, the dialog has a good rhythm, and the composition was spot on. The image appeared to be very crisp and clear with no imperfections. The sets and prop designs were beautiful with a truly authentic Moroccan style. The flashbacks were very well shot and utilized effectively, there were a few comparison shots that were well thought out. Overall Casablanca is a movie far beyond its time that will be forever loved and respected.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Classic

Author: Jacob Frydman from United States
29 October 2014

One of my favorite movies of all time. "Waters? What Waters? We're in the desert." I think this has to be one of the most quotable movies of all time. Think about all the great lines! "We'll always have Paris." "Here's looking at you kid." "Play it again Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By. "Every line is better than the last. One of the most surprising things about Casablanca is that it is truly timeless. I still smile when I hear Rick tell the band to "Play La Marseillaise. Play it!" I often wonder if this movie would be popular today? There's no great car chases or big stunts- it's just a great story that is beautifully acted.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A certified classic

Author: MovieLord23 from San Antonio
26 October 2014

Ah Casablanca. What can I say that hasn't already been said millions and millions of times before. It's a certified classic that has stood the test of time just because of how we can relate and just how well acted and directed even through all the advancements we have made. It's a cliché, but it is a justified one because Casablanca is one of the best movies ever made.

Good: Well, first off I gotta say the romance angle here is excellent. Bogart and Bergman are excellent together and bring such fantastic chemistry when they are on screen. You believe their love and want them to succeed. I also love how it all comes to a close in a way that we don't see in romance movies even today and it works so well. Casablanca is also a great war film with no fighting involved, but the story involving Nazi occupation is interesting and brings a dynamic of suspense into the mix. It is also a very funny movie mostly thanks to the dialogue from Bogart.

Overall, it is indeed one of the great if not the greatest romance film of all time and one of the surefire classics.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Superb setting

Author: Mustaveli from United States
18 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So far, this movie has the best lighting I've ever seen. Everything worked so well that I don't think I'd have to see the movie in color. My favorite thing about it was how the lights outside of the club worked so well. Nothing was too saturated, and you could tell what was what, and who was who. Even characters who were darker than others were seen well, and that's something big with me.

Sure, the movie was a little cheesy but I honestly liked it. Rick's character is probably my favorite, and both he and Lund were extremely good looking throughout the whole thing. It was a bit disappointing that they didn't get together in the end, especially with how their previous relationship affected Rick to become the cold man he was at the beginning of the movie. His development was interesting, and pretty good. The one thing I could say that I didn't like was how everything moved a little too fast for me. Though that in itself is great, a perfectly re-watchable movie. Casablanca had a wonderful setting, a well selected cast and I still can't get over the perfect lighting.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"Of all the whiskey bars in all of Northwest Africa she decides to visit my establishment"

Author: john-hogan23 from Albany, New York
15 October 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casablanca is the story of an American man in WWII era Morocco and his struggle in choosing between "love and virtue". Confronted by the woman he once loved and her new husband, a Czech resistance leader and important figure in the fight against the Nazis, the film focuses on Rick's internal conflict over deciding between his desires or the good of many others.

Casablanca is a testament to what you can accomplish with a spectacular cast and a beautiful, thoughtfully made set. The vast majority of the film takes place in Rick's Cafe Americain and focuses on a handful of characters, but even with it's relatively crowded story it never fails to feel well rounded and entirely better off than if were to use a wider array of characters and locations.

Humphrey Bogart stars as Rick Blaine, the owner of Rick's Cafe Americain. Bogart gives the film a career defining performance and makes his character the most compelling male lead I've ever seen in a love story. When dealing with the politics brought into the Cafe Americain he's cool, calm, and composed in his efforts to remain neutral in all matters, but when we see him alone after hours in his office he becomes very convincingly distraught over his love interest Ilsa. He is shown on multiple occasions alone in his office shrouded by the complete darkness of a Casablancan night, with only a thin ray of light shining through a window to illuminate his face. He drinks from a tall bottle of booze with a grim, haunted expression that gave me a real empathy for the toll his endeavors were taking on him. The rest of the cast performed well enough that there were no noticeable weak links, but there was really no way for them to escape the shadow cast by Bogart's performance.

My favorite thing about the film was Rick's Cafe Americain. The Cafe itself was just a series of sets constructed in Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank California, but it was so fitting and perfect for the film it left the same kind of impression that would be made by a well made fantasy location. Its stone walls were decorated in the shadows left by ornate lamps and intricate patterns made to shine light in from the outside. It was so packed full of extras during all of the scenes taking place there that it always created the atmosphere of a real bar. These things were vital to the film because so much of it was contained within these walls, and it was so great that I loved every moment of the scenes there.

Casablanca is a real classic. It's the sort of movie that feels like an experience and makes you glad you've seen it. It was all so excellent that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves movies. When you see some of these scenes for yourself you immediately understand how they've had such a lasting influence to this day.

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