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Play It Again, Sam (1972)

PG | | Comedy, Romance | 28 April 1972 (USA)
A neurotic film critic obsessed with the movie Casablanca (1942) attempts to get over his wife leaving him by dating again with the help of a married couple and his illusory idol, Humphrey Bogart.


Herbert Ross


Woody Allen (based on the play by), Woody Allen (screenplay)

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Complete credited cast:
Woody Allen ... Allan
Diane Keaton ... Linda
Tony Roberts ... Dick
Jerry Lacy ... Bogart
Susan Anspach ... Nancy
Jennifer Salt ... Sharon
Joy Bang ... Julie
Viva ... Jennifer
Susanne Zenor ... Discotheque Girl (as Suzanne Zenor)
Diana Davila Diana Davila ... Museum Girl
Mari Fletcher Mari Fletcher ... Fantasy Sharon
Michael Greene ... Hood #1
Ted Markland ... Hood #2


A mild mannered film critic is dumped by his wife and his ego is crushed. His hero persona is the tough guy played by Humphrey Bogart in many of his movies and the apparition of Bogart begins showing up to give him advice. With the encouragement of his two married friends, he actually tries dating again, with less than satisfactory results, until he relaxes. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It's still the same old story, a fight for love and glory. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Italian

Release Date:

28 April 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aspirins for Three See more »

Filming Locations:

San Francisco, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Both Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart actually appeared in this movie, as Ilsa Lund and Richard "Rick" Blaine from Casablanca (1942) respectively, by way of using original film footage from that movie, thereby the two making "archival film appearances". See more »


The phone in Dick and Linda's bedroom changes between scenes from a standard set to a "Princess" set. See more »


[first lines]
[clip from 'Casablanca']
Airport guard: Hello, radio tower, Lisbon plane taking off in ten minutes, east runway. Thank you.
Richard 'Rick' Blaine: Louis, have your man go with Mr. Lazlo and take care of his luggage.
Captain Renault: Certainly, Rick, anything you say. Find Mr. Lazlo's luggage and put it on the plane.
Airport guard: Yes, sir. This way please.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Since the Casablanca reference in the title wasn't immediately clear to italian audiences, the name of Woody Allen's character was been changed from Allan to Sam in the Italian release. See more »


Referenced in Sliding Doors (1998) See more »


As Time Goes By
from Casablanca (1942) (uncredited)
Written by Herman Hupfeld
Sung by Dooley Wilson
See more »

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User Reviews

Woody And Bogie Play The Dating Game
18 February 2006 | by slokesSee all my reviews

What could be cooler than having a screen legend hanging out with you, offering you dating tips? This classic 1972 comedy written by and starring Woody Allen gives him two, one the specter of Humphrey Bogart, the other a young Diane Keaton just working her way into film.

Woody plays Allan Felix, a film critic who has just been dumped by his wife and sets off to fill the hole in his heart. "I'll get broads in here like you wouldn't believe," he tells himself. "Swingers, freaks, nymphomaniacs, dental hygienists." But when even the nymphomaniac complains about his getting fresh, he realizes it won't be so easy. Enter Bogart, appearing in a series of fantasy sequences, and Keaton, very much a part of his real life as one-half of the married couple that jumps in to help Allan out. Alone amongst women, she can see Allan as a worthwhile guy, especially with their shared love for apple juice and Darvon.

"Play It Again, Sam" is a bit of an anomaly for an Allen comedy. It's set in San Francisco, not New York, and is directed by Herbert Ross rather than Allen himself. But it's very funny, kind of poignant, and a clever way of examining the foibles of hooking up, circa the 1970s. A number of comic vignettes examine the various ways seeking out the opposite sex can go wrong, on the dance floor, in a Chinese restaurant, in a bar. My favorite has to be the museum hottie with the pneumatic voice: Only an Allen movie would have its best punchline be about committing suicide.

The central point of the film, as brought out by another apparition only Allan sees, his ex-wife, is that the world is broken up into watchers and doers, and Allan the film critic is too much the former. Bogie gives him much the same advice, but Bogie and the ex-wife don't exactly get along in Allan's daydreams, leading to awkward moments. "Don't listen to him!" "Don't listen to her!" "Fellas, we're in a supermarket."

Besides, as Allan notes, it's one thing for Bogie to get slapped, another thing for him: "Your glasses don't go flying across the room."

Other than "Annie Hall" and "Sleeper," this is the best of the early Woody Allen comedies, another way of saying the best of Woody Allen. Ross's unpretentious style keeps the focus on the humor and the performances, and even makes Allen seem a gifted physical comedian, which he isn't. Keaton is a terrific foil for Allen, both platonically and as it turns out, otherwise, while Tony Roberts as her husband (this being his first of many Allen films, too) makes for a wry straight man with his constant phone calls and his appearances in some fun fantasy send-ups, the best of them in Italian.

You really like the characters in this one. Empathy can be a powerful weapon in comedy, something Woody apparently forgot as he moved into his Bergman phase. The ending is neat without being satisfying, the dream sequences aren't used to their full potential, and some of the rape jokes sound really bad all these years later. But you laugh a lot watching this film, a nice vehicle for Woody's observational humor and for seeing the game of love played in its most ineptly enjoyable form.

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