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This is by far my favorite movie of all time. It spins so many different tales that come full circle back to the main point of a love story. Starts and finishes strong, I like the struggle that Rick must choose between the woman that he loves and the Nazi's taking over the city of love.
After the American Film Institute issued its list of the 100 greatest films
of all-time, I started making regular trips to my local Hollywood Video to
rent groups of three or four of them. My summer ran out before I could
round out the top twenty, but of the handful that I got around to seeing,
"Casablanca" was my favorite.
I'm currently enrolled in a Gangster Films class, where we screen and discuss classic films in the gangster genre. Having seen films like the original "Scarface," "The Public Enemy," and others, it amazes me that, while these films are great, they feel extremely dated.
The dialogue is clearly circa 1930, and the sets are all clearly just that, sets.
But then, you see "Casablanca." While the film is now 60 years old, it still holds up to modern cinema in every way. The characters are believable and sympathetic. Rick's unrequited love is painful (emotionally, not because it's awful, because it's not) to watch, not because Bogart is a great actor (though he is. One of the best), but because it's written in such a way that all of us who have ever pined for "the one who got away" know exactly how he feels.
I'll spare you a summary, because by now, you know the story. You know the dialogue, you know the shots. "Casablanca" is one of the most important films ever. It is almost perfect.
It is my sincere hope that the handful of people who gave this film a 1 out of 10 had mistaken 1 as being the highest mark available, because I'd hate to thank that anyone could possibly dislike this film.
This is one of the greatest movies ever made. It transcends time. The script is just pure poetry. Sure, some of the supporting actors are a little stiff but Bogart and Bergman have a chemistry that has never been captured on screen again. The ending is the best 15 minutes of film ever. Anyway, can't say enough for this movie. Chris
For whatever reason I kept putting off watching this film. I knew so much about it, including its ending, and for years meant to see it, but thought, "what's the point?" After watching it last night I remembered what made me a movie fan in the first place. Movies like Casablanca. I was astounded with how influential this picture was. I knew Raiders of the Lost Ark was inspired by the old Saturday Afternoon Serials, but I had NO IDEA how much it had taken from "Casablanca." The shots, the cinematography, the staging of characters, even the clothing. So many movies were inspired by this film (some were direct rip-offs). I may go as far as to say that this is the most influential film ever made (along with Citizen Kane)! I absolutely loved it. No matter what type of film you favor, you'll find something to like about this movie. Don't make the same mistake I did and put it off for decades. It's well worth a rental or even a purchase!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
How does one even begin to describe CASABLANCA? I know that there's nothing
I can say to improve its reputation, or to make it any more well-loved. All
I can attest to is the fact that I had the chance to see this film for the
first time today, and just couldn't help falling in love with it. It's as
close to perfect as a romance film could get, with elements of war, action,
suspense, and good old-fashioned friendship thrown in to spice things up a
(Summary contains spoilers, beware!)
It's war-time, and Casablanca is en route to America and freedom. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), cynical and crusty owner of Cafe Americain, hides a softer, wounded side beneath his tough exterior. He says many times that he's never going to stick his neck out for anyone, that it's a policy of his not to drink with people in his cafe--all things that change when Isla (Ingrid Bergman) comes back into his life, unfortunately accompanied by her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Victor is a top man in the resistance movement, and needs desperately to escape to America to continue his fight for freedom. CASABLANCA isn't all about politics, however. It really comes down to the love of Rick for Ilsa, whom he met for a heady love affair in Paris, all set to the tune of 'As Time Goes By' (surely one of the most beautiful and memorable love songs ever written). His choice is the most difficult one anyone could ever be expected to make, and what's good about the film is that it keeps the audience guessing, even to the end, about just what Rick will do with the power he has over the fate of Ilsa, and most importantly, Victor (and as the film would have us believe, the free world!). I dare your heart not to break when Rick tells Ilsa, as he so famously does, "Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." And then one realises just what war can do to people, and what people can do in spite of war.
It's a fantastic film to be discovering for the first time, since the directing, acting and script are all first-rate. Michael Curtiz pulls the entire film together beautifully, drawing an incredible performance from Humphrey Bogart (perhaps the only actor--aside from Spencer Tracy--who could come off as so apparently self-centred and cynical and yet reveal a believably vulnerable side) and capturing Ingrid Bergman in all her luminous beauty. The supporting cast is brilliant, especially Claude Rains as the parallel character to Bogart's Rick, Captain Louis Renault. He certainly rivals Bergman for screen-time, and justifiably gets the lion's share of the good lines. Moreover, the screenplay is one of the most oft-quoted ones ever written, and for good reason: you just don't get dialogue like this anymore, in any film, and it's a treat to be allowed to listen in on the lives of these characters.
CASABLANCA is often described as one of the best films ever made as well as one of the best-loved. Its reputation is fully deserved. Watch this for yourself to find out why!
Pay no mind to the nattering nabobs of negativism who say that this movie is
as stale as your granddaddy's underwear. Casablanca rocks, dude. You must
remember this: 1) a kiss is still a kiss but only between consenting adult
humans; 2) a sigh is just a sigh, except when it comes from the CFO of your
bankrupt company; 3) the original version of Casablanca featured
interpretative belly dancing by the Moroccan Sisters of Mercy and a really
great bondage scene between Rick and Ilsa (the chorus line with the shaved
macaques was a nice touch too). It's really a shame those scenes never made
it out of Jack Warner's closet. However, the
deliriously pointed dramatic tension of the "La Marseilles/Wacht am
Rhein" karaoke grudge match at Rick's is one of the most incisive allegories
for the shifting tides of WWII ever burned into celluloid. You can
virtually feel the tension sweeping across Major Strasser's face as he
realizes the triumphant reemergence of French idealism and the fact that his
lactose intolerance has ruined yet another Nazi uniform. I thought that the
complexity of the love triangle was presented very tastefully, although some
have pointed out that Victor was seeking Mexican herbs in the secret garden
for far too long.
Ilsa eventually got her revenge. But at what cost? The dog would no longer hunt, the sun wouldn't shine and the pasta primavera would never be al dente. It's a good thing they had Paris before she became a nun. She built a birdhouse in her soul but it was later leased to Starbucks. The mysteries of romance go full circle in this flick. Whew. It's getting hot in here.
Casablanca is just about as perfect a film as there can be. Everything from the casting, direction, cinematography, & music to the acting, script, & sound is just about perfect. It doesn't get any better than this.
There's nothing like a Romantic Classic, and since the AFI recently named
"Casablanca" as the Number One romance film of all time, here's yet
review for the Film That Has It All. As the IMDB tagline says, "They had
date with fate!"
"Casablanca" will take you away to a time and a place where good guys (Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine, who runs "Rick's Café Americain," an oasis with the best music in town) were good, though flawed, bad guys were nasty Nazis, and beautiful women were, well, in a word, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). The closeups of her alone are worth the price of admission.
Based on a play, "Everybody Comes to Rick's Place," the movie's dialogue is spectacular -- Rick and Louie's (Claude Rains) banter in particular is very funny, witty, and fast-paced, with no fat. The film's black-and-white texture and the exotic setting in Casablanca paint a picture of a time and a place where things fall into the grey areas in a world starkly divided between Axis and Allies. The quirky market scenes and the opening narration (with the map, to show you exactly where Casablanca is located) set the stage for the events to follow.
Claude Rains and Peter Lorre (who makes an early exit) complement Bogie perfectly, and the supporting cast -- Paul Henreid as Czech underground resistance leader (and Ilsa's husband) Victor Laszlo, the German couple trying to get to America, and Sydney Greenstreet as Ferrari, the city's black marketeer -- are nothing short of spectacular. Every actor in this movie makes their characters 100 percent real.
The entire plot -- based on Laszlo's mysterious entry into Casablanca and whether he will be able to get out to carry on his fight against the Germans -- is riveting. Perhaps the most incredible thing about the movie is when it was made: 1942, in the heart of World War II, when the outcome was not assured.
There are so many great and memorable lines in this movie that it's impossible to list them all. It is worth noting that Rick never actually says "Play it again, Sam" -- he says, "Play it, Sam!" in a drunken stupor after Ilsa returns to his "gin joint." Louie's (Rains) line, "I'm shocked, shocked, that there is gambling in this establishment!" is almost a cliché today for things that are not really that surprising. I love the roulette scene, where Rick sets up a win to help a Bulgarian émigré, and his line "Have you tried 22? I said, 22!" is also one of my personal favorites.
And of course, there's The Song: "As Time Goes By" -- the one Ilsa, and Rick, wanted to hear again and again -- is one of the most memorable in the history of film.
"Casablanca" is about politics; it's got political intrigue, tons of hard drinking, a love triangle to end all love triangles, a few choice fight scenes (where the nasties get theirs good), and about the choices we make in hard, crucial situations in life. But "Casablanca" is, more than anything else, a love story, and without giving away too much, ultimately about one of life's greatest lessons: Letting Go. The flashback scene to Rick and Ilsa's years in Paris is one of the most memorable in all of film. The airport ending is classic and will give you chills -- be sure to bring a hankie!
Note: Keep an eye out for "Casablanca" on the Big Screen in the summer -- it's a favorite for the outdoor free film fests and a perfect movie for a date or with family & friends! (Probably teens & up, younger kids wouldn't get it.)
The lasting attraction of this film must be its seemingly effortless use of the medium. We know that Casablanca was at the time one of dozens of "cardboard cutout" features from Warner Brothers' World War Two domestic audience assembly line. This film was not intended to be a classic. What happened? One can watch this movie without sound and marvel at the human struggle in northern Africa. Did Michael Curtiz perfect his directorial technique during the silent film era? Obviously his silent film experience is evident. Why watch Casablanca with the sound off? One would miss the orchestration by Max Steiner and vocal by Arthur Dooley. The dialogue is very rich, the plot compelling and acting perfect. Someone will try to convince you that this whole effort was well planned. My understanding is that it was not. This film is an accident that happens only once every few generations and it is a joy to experience again and again.
This movie is just flat out good. It still holds up after 60 years, and
excellent reason. The performances, though more over-the-top than what we
are used to today, are spot on. The story is simple but effectively
and the movie is entertaining from beginning to end. The musical score is
Casablanca is simply a fine example of classical Hollywood cinema. I watched it with a degree of skepticism, not expecting the movie to live up to its hype, but I was pleasantly surprised when if far exceeded my expectations. The story is interesting and the script is well-written. All of the characters are strongly crafted, and the acting is superb. I give this movie the 10 it deserves.
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