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Casablanca
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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The movie that sort of saved my life

10/10
Author: Eqbal Ahmed (EqbalAnwari) from Afghanistan
29 January 2014

The purpose of writing this commentary is to solely state that the Writer in no way intends to compare Casablanca to any other movie in the history of motion picture; for the work is not only the pinnacle of Michael Curtiz career but also stands as a magical masterpiece in Twentieth Century Cinema.

I hope I have the criterion to write a justifiable and unbiased review because this Movie is very special to me and I try not to become emotional when writing about this iconic monumental work.

Considering the fact that there's nothing new to be said about Casablanca, I wonder where to start; probably from Rick's (Humphrey Bogart) philanthropy, Ilsa's (Ingrid Bergman) reciprocation—well reasoned and timely— her grace and heroism, the Battle of Anthems (German National Anthem vs French National Anthem), friendship, love, sacrifice, gallantry, patriotism, or plethora of amazing supporting actors such as Paul Henreid, Dooley Wilson, Claude Rains etc.

Michael Curtiz surpasses in telling his story masterfully, directing every single actor in brilliant and indelible performance of a life time, illustrating principles and inspiring his audience to think. The writers and the Director truly outshine themselves with the phenomenal multidisciplinary story of humankind.

There's so much to grab onto with a remarkable film like this; say the soothing music for example--as time goes by--or the memorable dialogue:

We'll always have Paris. We lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night. When I said I would never leave you. Here's looking at you kid. Are you one of those people who cannot imagine the Germans in their beloved Paris? It's not particularly my beloved Paris. Can you imagine us in London? When you get there, ask me! I wasn't sure you were the same. Let's see, the last time we met... Was La Belle Aurore. How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris. Not an easy day to forget. No. I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue. Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By." Oh, I can't remember it, Miss Ilsa. I'm a little rusty on it. I'll hum it for you. Da dy da dy da dumb, da dy da dee da dumb... The best movies are ones that touch the soul. It takes a movie like Casablanca to touch the soul. The only other movie I have ever seen that influences me as strongly is The Shawshank Redemption. Both movies leave me feeling influenced for having watched them; they have the power to inspire people and therefore I certainly say both pictures are neatly perfect organism.

But just suffice to say that in addition to watching Casablanca habitually, I also tend to watch it on the following occasions: When I see or hear cruelty or crises anywhere in this—according to the movie, crazy—world. When I decide to travel to places not being recommended by my family or friends. On the eve of Eid and New Year's Day. Every-time when I am down or empty, or whatever they call it.

Finally, this timeless classic deserved not only three Academy Awards but definitely the remaining five nominations that it lost unjustifiably.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Of all the review joints, in all the towns, in all the world, you walks into mine. Here's to you, Kid. Casablanca is iconic! Play it again, Sam.

9/10
Author: ironhorse_iv from United States
3 August 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From 1942, comes a romantic historic drama directed by Michael Curtiz movie based on the stage play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. It's early Dec. 1941, American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is the owner of an upscale nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco that attracts everybody from Vichy French, Italian, and German officials; to refugees desperate to reach the still neutral United States; and those who prey on them. Rick stands as an allegory to U.S polities at the time trying to stay neutral and not involves himself into the war affairs. I also think it's cool to point out that Humphrey Bogart himself was a decorated war veteran, and this is reflected in his performance. It wasn't until a former lover Norwegian Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and her Czech Resistance leader husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) came into the bar looking for a way to escape Europe, where he states to question his beliefs. While most people know Casablanca as the exploration of the universal themes of love and sacrifice, people that look more into it viewed it as a political allegory about World War II. Ilsa can be seen as the wealthier of Europe who were able to escape due to their wealth, but whose warnings and pleas were dismissed in the late '30s and early '40s. Victor represents the poorer people of Europe who weren't able to escape and whose discovery prompted the change in attitude. When he appears, Rick finally grasps the true nature of what Ilsa is asking him. The film is set in Dec. 1941, the month in which the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. That attack changed the course of American history, awakening the nation from political neutrality and thrusting it into the midst of World War II. By Illsa showing up, Rick become a symbol for America to take a stronger stand against the Axis Powers. The film also tells the story of another transformation, that of the local French commander of Casablanca, Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains). Claude Rains is the second best actor in the film besides Bogart. He plays the role so well. Louis begins the film as a pro-Vichy Nazi-appeaser but winds up a committed partisan of free France. Scenes such as Captain Renault throwing away the Vichy bottle it was meant to shown a rejection of Petain's puppet government. Even the great line near the end, 'I think this is a start of a beautiful friendship' stands for United States becoming allies with the French into stopping the Nazis. There is a great scene in the middle worth checking out, where the Germans start singing and, to combat it, the other patrons start singing the French national anthem was a truly moving part. The use of shadows and lighting makes this movie into one of the greatest film noirs. The use of the spotlight that shines from a tall tower and lights up the city of Casablanca reminds people that they are always being watched. It was a great use of light to represent fear and a threat. The music by Max Steiner was just amazing. The song "As Time Goes By" by Herman Hupfeld had been part of the story from the original play; Steiner wanted to replace it, but Bergman had already cut her hair short for her next role and could not re-shoot the scenes which incorporated the song, so Steiner based the entire score on it. So, without Bergman cutting her hair. We wouldn't have that theme. The theme of Sam's piano is the symbolic heart and soul of Rick's Café. All the guests want to sit beside it, because they want to forget their worries by listening. The piano suggests purity, which may be why Louis doesn't even think to look there for the letters of transit. I love the smart dialogue. The exchange between Rick and Louis were funny and brilliant. There is a few criticizes that need to be address. The usual conspiracy-theory gang likes to say that this movie was just propaganda. I didn't care if it's pro-Allied propaganda, it was a good movie. Some people think its basically a rip-off of a previous 1938 movie called Algiers. The writers took the character of Rick from the unproduced play, the theme "As Time Goes By" from a failed early 1930s musical and even parts of the dialogue were cannibalized from other unproduced scripts. It's doesn't bug me because it was mixed so well. I honestly don't see how the line 'Round up the usual suspect' is famous. It seems very not important from the rest of the best one liners. I believe Ingrid Berman delivering lines acting was mediocre at best. Her eyes did most of the work. Paul Henreid was indeed a stiff. Henreid did not get on well with his fellow actors and it shows. His character seem plain compare to the others. I didn't like how the movie treat the German actors in the film. The German actors had to keep curfew, as they were classified by the US as enemy aliens and under restrictions. They were frequently cast as Nazis in war films even with the fact that there weren't any uniformed German troops in Casablanca during WWII. Then there is the colorization controversy. Don't see it in color, its work best in Black and White. Trust me. Overall: The story itself is straightforward a realistic romantic movie with political allegory. The film's lasting enchantment is due to its dramatic conclusion and the theme of the inescapable past. The plane theme works because it was the escape of such memories. If you don't get onboard and see Casablanca. You might regard it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Curtiz's Magnum Opus

9/10
Author: donuthaters12
2 July 2013

A film that is regarded as a classic from most but does it hold up for me? Definitely. Michael Curtiz is the director of Casablanca, who has done a mountain full of films including The Adventures of Robin Hood and Mildred Pierce. I came into this with high expectations, even in my subsequent viewings, as it has an established cast, a well known composer, a prominent director and an experienced cinematographer. The film is definitely excellent but some elements, due to nitpicking, sinks this film a little.

The screenplay is developed by the Epstein brothers who had a reputation at their time, and with this project they seem to be in the top of their game. The film's story is packed, exploring a love story, a rebellion and the life of a citizens or immigrants in Casablanca. The film is generally well known for its love story but that wasn't the area that hooked me as I felt it was dragged by it's melodrama. The shifty and uneasy life in this desert city is what kept me hook and it dominates the first half of the film. It is from the start that the film establishes the importance of the city as a character along with the leading actors. The first and start of the second act is dominated with humor as a break from the main storyline which held my interest. I do not hate the love story but I just feel it doesn't hold up with me as compared to the more later love stories in Hollywood, Annie Hall, Vertigo and Beauty and the Beast. Then again, this is a product of its time and I can't frown upon it too much just because of that.

This is the only film I have seen of Curtiz's work but it isn't the only one I am aware of. He is an underrated director and one of the hardest working. With Casablanca, he just got hold of a fantastic script which got the general public to really notice him. Curtiz wanted this film to move quickly but also giving key moments in exploring the relationship between Bogart and Bergman's characters.

The year before Casablanca, Arthur Edeson did the cinematography for The Maltese Falcon and in that film, Edeson used shadows well and using lighting to create the mood of the scene. He brings it back here but more. This film is dark, for the most part as most of the intimate scenes took place indoors and at night. Shadow casts on scenes with Bogart and Bergman but at the same time not overshadowing the actors, especially Bergman's beautiful face as her beauty and vulnerability expressed by her face as both are important components of Ilsa. Edeson and Curtiz always have the camera moving, whether it is inside Rick's club or outside in the streets of Casablanca. It keeps the film at a pace that doesn't feel stationary and gives us a sense of exploration of the setting. This pace is also supported by great editing. In intimate moments, Curtiz really wants Edeson to have the camera get close on the actor's faces to not only have us focus on it but to create that sense of intimacy and closeness. Casablanca still has great photography, even in this day and age, and is an important piece in making it an iconic film.

Max Steiner was nominated in 1939 for his iconic work in Gone With The Wind and he was also nominated a few years later for score in Casablanca. His work here in Casablanca is definitely something to be remembered by fan when remembering this film. This should have been an area where it definitely should have won the academy award but sadly it lost to The Song of Bernadette.

For a film focused on the love story and is this intimate requires actors that bring that chemistry in order to create a memorable performance. Bogart and Bergman definitely work well together but I felt that Bogart is a little too old for Bergman. I would rather have the age of Bergman's character be nearly level with Bogart's and replace her with an older actress, but would the film still be regarded as a classic if the casting choices were different? I think so and I am only nitpicking. Both Bogart and Bergman bring it their all, even if the script is a little melodramatic they make it work for the most part. I definitely enjoyed Bogart's embodiment as this stoic and tortured character who distances himself from letting people in. Bergman has the more overly dramatic lines but she still delivers by showing emotion and care for Bogart's character. As soon as she was introduced in the film and meets Sam (Dooley Wilson), you can see that pain and sorrow rising to the surface. The supporting cast are fine and are either used for plot tools or comedic relief. The actors giving comic relief, especially Claude Reins, had me smiling every time they say something witty.

A film that definitely still holds a strong place in this day and age and is regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It is a fascinating story of a love story and an interesting take on the life of Casablanca during the second world war. It has its flaws but it's overshadowed by its strengths. Casablanca is definitely worth your time and demands repeated viewings.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Possibly the Greatest Romance Movie of All-Time

10/10
Author: phbasketball6 from United States
5 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of the best romance movies of all-time. Casablanca made Humphrey Bogart a top star in Hollywood and Ingrid Bergman a respectable actress. Claude Rains is also great in the movie and is an important character. Michael Curtiz, who I believe is one of the greatest directors of all-time, directs this the same year as Yankee Doodle Dandy. Curtiz direction was flawless and the close-ups mainly on Bergmann shown the emotions were great. The cinematography was astounding which makes the viewer seem like they're in the room. Despite the screenplay not being 100% realistic and believable, I don't think anyone cares because of how well and effective the movie is. The dialog is one of the best in cinema history which contains many famous quotes. This movie shows how important romance, friendship, and politics could be.

The beginning introduces Rick (Bogart) who owns "Rick's Café Américain" which is a nightclub and a place for gambling located in Casablanca which is in Northern Africa.. Usually the Vichy French, Italian, and Nazi officials go there. Rick looks like a professional businessman but seems depress for a reason we do not know.

Ugarte (Peter Lorre), a petty criminal, arrives in Rick's club with "letters of transit" obtained through the murder of two German couriers. The papers allow the person to travel freely around German-controlled Europe and to neutral Portugal, and from there to America. Ugarte plans to make his money by selling them to the highest bidder. However that does not work out according to plan and Rick ends up with the letters.

Eventually Ilsa (Bergman) comes in with a man and Sam (Dooley Wilson) notices this and is not thrilled. She asks if Rick is there and Sam doesn't her to see Rick. She tells Sam to play "As Time Goes By." Sam seeming like he doesn't want to plays it anyway which angers Rick. Rick then realizes Ilsa is there and seems upset and happy at the same time. It is realized that the man with her was her husband Victor Laszlo (Henreid). Laszlo is refugee that is trying to go to America.

Later that night Rick seems really upset about seeing her again and Sam tries to comfort him. While they are talking flashbacks are shown about Rick and Ilsa as lovers in Paris. While in Paris Rick had to flee and Ilsa plans to go with him however the minute that he leaves Sam gives him the letter from her saying she won't.

Ilsa basically broke Rick's heart but now needs help along with her husband. Many viewers question who is going to get Ilsa, Rick or Victor? Is Rick going to help Ilsa after what she did to him?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The perfect movie

10/10
Author: Victoria Colarusso (v-colarusso@hvcc.edu) from United States
4 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casablanca is a classic that defines film at its greatest. This has pretty much become common knowledge. The film has many dimensions inside its story. The romance between Rick and Ilsa is unique and fantastic, but this film is much more than a love story. It's a story of redemption, glory, and enlightenment. The social implications in the film are very relevant for the time period its in. The script is one of the best parts of the film by far. The dialog is beautiful and poetic. As much as auteur directors are well-respected and usually more liked than directors with no distinct flare, Michael Curtiz directed some wonderful films without the audience being aware of his direction.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An American staple that stands as a timeless classic

9/10
Author: Connor Lawrence from United States
2 May 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casablanca is a 1942 romantic drama directed by Michael Curtiz, staring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund. In the realm of American films, Casablanca is as well regarded as Gandhi or Einstein, and for good reason. You can make the argument about the films political messages regarding the time period, but nothing overall hinders the movie, in my opinion. Like most other movies of the time, the cinematography is excellent, not very exciting but well made none the less. Curtiz also uses dark lighting in an excellent way, in fact one could make the argument that this film is total film noir because of Curtiz's obsession with shadows. Otherwise, in terms of content, nothing else about the movie really stands out, with maybe the exception of the mini airfield they made for the movie. What keeps Casablanca as a hallmark in our collective movie going memory is the love story. With the exception of the part where Rick just casually asks Ilsa if she wanted to get married, a truly boss move on Bogart's part, the love story feels very natural, and realistic. Even a violence craving, Scorsese/Tarantino loving person like myself can't help but feel the plight of Rick and Ilsa, two humans in an extreme rut. 9/10

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A Classic

10/10
Author: zthaleb
29 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Casablanca is the all time classic love story (besides Romeo & Juliet). The romance in this movie has everything. For people watching this movie for the first time without knowing anything about it will be shocked to see what happens at the end. I know I was the first time I saw this movie! At first it upset me because I wanted there to be a happy ending, but after realizing what Rick had done for Ilsa it made me so happy! The acting was amazing in this; very believable and very smooth. I think Humphery Bogart was really amazing in this movie. He played his character very well and made the character relatable! His character did a lot of developing in the movie as well! I would recommend this movie to any one! Such a great film!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

TheMovieFrog Reviews: Casablanca

10/10
Author: Dave Lucas from Atlanta. Georgia
5 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To view the entire review, please visit us at www.TheMovieFrog.com

So, what do you write about a film that has been discussed and lauded for seventy years? Is it a timeless classic about love, loyalty, honor, and sacrifice or the greatest piece of corn-pone pro-war propaganda ever visited upon the American public? Well, the answer is yes...and yes. It is all of those things and more.

It is, first and foremost, a classic story of love and sacrifice, almost biblical in the way that it is layed out. Lazlo is the Christ- like figure. He has sacrificed everything: his safety, his freedom, and the purpose of his life to the cause of inspiring others to rise up and fight the Nazis. The only sacrifice he will not make is leaving behind the woman that he loves. Ilsa is his inspiration and the thing that keeps him going.

In turn, Lazlo's example of ultimate sacrifice inspires others to sacrifice for the greater good as well. His ability to inspire is demonstrated most dramatically and obviously in the scene where he leads all the patrons of Rick's in song. You can see in the faces of everyone joining in all the pain, fear, and uncertainty of living in a world turned upside down fade away to be replaced by a greater sense of pride and purpose. It is a very powerful moment in the film. However, this man's greater power is in how he impacts and inspires individuals from Ilsa, to Rick, to Renault. Rick has every reason to despise the man, yet it is not just Ilsa that leads him to break precedent and have a drink with the couple.

Is the film a little corny? Well, yes, but only in the best tradition of the time. The dialog is fantastic, but when every other line is a zinger, it does stretch believability a bit. No city has ever been populated by that many people who are that witty that much of the time. Yet the wordplay (continued at www.TheMovieFrog.com)

For reviews and more, please visit us at www.TheMovieFrog.com

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Obvious Instant Classic!

10/10
Author: BatmanAndRobyn from United States
13 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Prior to seeing this in it's entirety, I'd only seen the closing scene where the plane is taking off and Bogart's infamous quote is spoken.

Needless to say, this film was fantastic. The characters and acting were flawless. The story line includes a love story of epic proportions and shows the audience what war and invasions can do to a relationship. It tears it apart. Also, for some reason, I really liked Sam's storyline-- I found him to be a very interesting minor character.

The use of one sided, low-lighting was present throughout and helped make some of the scenes seem a bit more dramatic. I also found myself admiring the photography from beginning to end. You could pause that movie at almost any spot and it could easily be used as a still frame or photograph. Still frames alone would be able to tell this story, obviously not as great as the film though. The cinematography and photography were absolutely beautiful.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

First-timer

9/10
Author: RoseXGold from United States
13 March 2013

Seeing this movie for the first time in the 21st century, I asked myself, "Well...was it as great as expected?". I'd have to go with a yeah, sure! The movie was interesting. Was it the best movie I ever saw in my life? Uhh, not really. The main thing is that is kept me captivated (almost forgot I was watching it) and I was able to relate to parts of the film. When a movie is able to do that, create a relatable feeling for its audiences, then it's a winner. Casablanca was a real love story. Not this fluff that we see now a days that have the same concept and the same story line. I loved this films mise-en-scene. The props and effects used made the setting seem so real. There was great use of invisibility. Even though the scenes were not shot overseas, it kind of made you forget where they really were shooting.

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