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Casablanca
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Reviews & Ratings for
Casablanca More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Greatest war propaganda movie ever made

10/10
Author: Robert Kurtz (cr3@tentacle.net) from Berkeley, CA
22 March 2000

Every thing positive everyone has ever said about this movie is true. Still compelling after all these years, one of my top ten movies, I can go back and watch every few years.

This movie works on every level, drama, love story, suspense, but most of all it is a war propaganda movie. Pro war, pro allies, anti Nazi, even a little anti French, this movie was made smack in the middle of WWII when the outcome was still in doubt and designed get the public behind the war effort. It sure was more fun then those 'Victory gardens, paper drives and gas rationing' and other techniques to get public support. It is impossible for a film made for this purpose to stand the test of time, but Casablanca has, and that's why it is such an incredible film.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Casablanca

8/10
Author: Raj Doctor from Amsterdam, Netherlands
28 July 2007

Here is looking at you kid…, these words are written by my current boss Bernhard Drumel in his skype. I never knew that they are from Casablanca, until I saw the movie.

This is a love story during the world war second based in Casablanca, Morocco, North West Africa – a port where refugee Europeans came to depart for USA. Old time lovers - Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Lisa (Ingrid Bergman), meet after many years in Casablanca and remember their love in France. Lisa was and is wife of Victor (Paul Henreid) and the couple is planning to run away to America through Casablanca. Rick - now the owner of the most popular club in Casablanca is well connected among corrupt military and government machinery - sacrifices his love and helps the couple duo to go to America.

It is the not the story in itself, but the way it is told that makes it a very interesting viewing. The pace is fast and engrossing. The story slowly unfolds and never lets the viewers guess the next till the very end. There is a sense of mystery and suspense. The backbone of the movie is a love story that has gone wrong. It connects with every audience. The misery and cynicism of Rick is so real that every man may feel a close resemblance to the feeling Rick is having. Though many, there are well itched characters that define the intent and purpose of their words and actions. The characters – mostly representing different European countries – and give an universal appeal to western audiences, and so I understand its relevance in people's mind and popularity.

The character of Rick is brilliantly played by the chain smoking king Bogart. This was my first movie of Bogart and he impressed me the most. Like all olden days actors who – each one of them – had their unique style and so delight to watch; Bogart has his own. Ingrid looks and acts beautifully to say and hide her secrets with her eyes and body language. Paul Henreid was good, but not brilliant. Special mention of the local French Captain Renault, played by Claude Rains – who plays the most engrossing characters with black and white, shrewd and sober shades – a delight to watch him.

Each and every dialogue of the movie is perfect and catchy. The lines are worth repeating even today and written with so conviction that they are ever-green. The one that I personally liked the most was when the German commander asks Rick which nationality he belongs to; and Rick with his usual cynicism replies – I am a drunkard. There are so many such quotable lines almost unforgettable in the movie.

This was Director Martin Curtiz's 132 movie production as director. It took him almost 20 years of making movie to come out with this gem. Martin kept on making movies till the last year 1961; he died in 1962. Great music, fantastic choreography of people, and definite acting by most crew! The only thing I disliked about the movie was that most of it was shot indoors on the sets, and that in itself did not give the movie the epic proportions that normally one would expect from such classics.

There are many hate reviews about this movie, and I read a few of them. I found this movie to be very good – made in 1942, it was much ahead of its time in terms of scripting, dialogue, pace and screenplay. Now a days we see so many movies – but to think of the rave Casablanca would have created during world war second times, would have been enormous.

My salute to Martin Curtiz and Humphrey Bogart! Now I know and understand what does my boss mean when he writes and says – Here is looking at you kid…! (Stars 8 out of 10)

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Outstanding...

10/10
Author: Tony Camel from United States
5 March 2007

Casablanca is the sort of film that suffers from its reputation. People walk into it expecting to see the greatest film of all time and are disappointed when it doesn't measure up to their own pet faves. But if it doesn't have the depth of some masterpieces, it is certainly among the most entertaining, with a brilliantly witty script, a superb cast and one of the most stirring scenes in all cinema, the so-called Battle Of The Anthems when Laszlo incites Rick's patrons in a recital of La Marseillaise. It also broke social ground, with Sam the pianist (Dooley Wilson) being one of the first black roles to be treated as (almost) an equal. Most of all, it's a film you can watch again and again. If you haven't yet, give it a try; it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

One of the two greatest American films

10/10
Author: lafdragon from United States
10 February 2007

"Casablanca" is unquestionably one of the two greatest American films. Everything about it (except possibly the special effects) is either perfect or so close it doesn't even matter. I'm writing this having just gone to see it with my sweetie at a packed-house Valentine's Day showing in a restored classic movie palace. If you ever have the chance to see a beautiful print of this film on a really big screen in such a venue, with an audience totally in love with it, DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT pass up the opportunity! When people used to refer to the "silver screen," it's this movie and a few others that they were talking about--it literally shimmers like finely wrought silver.

Oh yes, the other greatest American film? "Citizen Kane," and for many of the same reasons. Interesting that these two films were made almost at the same time, "CK" being released in 1941 and "Casablanca" in 1942.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

the problems of two little people ...

9/10
Author: didi-5 from United Kingdom
11 July 2003

Everyone remembers 'As Time Goes By' (the song that only stayed in the film, so popular culture has it, because Bergman had cut her hair for 'Joan of Arc', and couldn't retake scenes using another tune) but there is much more to this world-weary romance.

Bogart, of course, was hardly the usual romantic movie hero. Which is possibly what makes him so perfect for Rick, in his Casablanca nightspot, on nobody's side. He spars with Claude Rains (the crooked police captain) and Sidney Greenstreet (a rival bar owner) like a trooper, has a quiet contempt for Paul Henreid (a freedom fighter) and Peter Lorre (a thief), gives Conrad Veidt (the Nazi Major) as good as he gets, is on the level with employees Dooley Wilson and Cuddles Sakall.

Through all this, truly loves Ingrid Bergman (the beautiful Ilse, the love of his life). It is their story, but not the story you might expect. This is the secret, I think, of 'Casablanca' and its lasting success. From the moment we see the map and the film title to the 'beautiful friendship' line at the end, we're hooked. Every performance is a lasting joy.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The best of a kind

9/10
Author: Spleen from Canberra, Australia
16 April 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Spoilers ahead.

I didn't understand the film properly until I read Danny Peary's essay on it in the first of his three "Cult Movies" books (which, by the way, you MUST read, although you should be aware that Peary's complaints about "The Red Shoes" aren't even near the mark). The key (and, in retrospect, obvious) insight is this: all along, Captain Renault WANTED Rick to become a hero again. As long as Rick was content to adopt a cynical, self-serving attitude, Renault, a man made of lesser material, had an excuse to do the same - and he wanted that excuse to be denied him. When it WAS denied him he was delighted. THAT'S he joined the side of the angels, without even hesitating. (It's also why he spent so much time earlier poking fun of Rick's former idealism, in an attempt to get Rick to defend it.) This probably strikes many people as obvious; I regret to say I had to have it pointed out to me.

I don't have to argue that this is a great film. We all know it is. Peary calls it the ONLY film that's everything the old-style studio films were trying to be, and he's probably right. This doesn't, of course, mean that it's the BEST film of the 1940s; better still are the bolder, more ambitious productions made by more inspired directors: "Citizen Kane", "The Red Shoes", "Fantasia", and so forth. But "Casablanca" is probably as high as it is possible to fly without making a Philistine studio executive reach for his heart tablets. This is higher praise than it sounds. And if you think it IS the best film of the 1940s, after all ... well, I can see your point of view.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional, Outstanding, Wonderful, Dominant, a Total Triumph

Author: tfrizzell from United States
26 January 2001

If all films were made like "Casablanca" it would be a perfect world. Very rarely does a film move its audience the way that this film does. The movie deals with a romance that just cannot be because of numerous circumstances. World War II is quickly turning the planet upside down and many Europeans are making their way to Casablanca to get visas to escape the Nazi regime. Paul Henreid and wife Ingrid Bergman are among the many who have made the odyssey. However, trouble springs up when they must go through Bergman's old flame (Humphrey Bogart, Oscar-nominated). More trouble arises with French military official Claude Rains (Oscar-nominated) and his strained relations with the Nazis. It is a heartwrenching film that dominates because of an outstanding screenplay, amazing direction by Michael Curtiz, and superb performances by all involved. A great movie. 5 stars out of 5.

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2 out of 2 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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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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