MPAA rating: G.
Run time: 102 minutes.
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a bitter American expatriate living in Casablanca during World War II. He is the owner of Rick’s Café Americain, a nightclub frequented by many colorful local characters and travelers trying to find passage out of Morocco and to the United States.
Through a strange series of events, Rick comes into possession of two valuable letters of transit, which guarantee passage out of the country. Then Rick’s former love, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) arrives in Casablanca with her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), the leader of an underground resistance movement, who has escaped from a concentration camp and is wanted by the Nazis. Rick is faced with a series of dilemmas, concerning his feelings towards Ilsa and the possibilities that the letters of transit may hold for them both.
This movie is widely considered to be one of the most romantic movies of all time, and I definitely agree. I love the entire feel of this movie: the drama of World War II, the desperation of the situation, the sardonic humor of many of the characters and, of course, the romantic tension between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you need to. And you need to see it in the original black and white, not the colorized version. I was lucky enough to see this movie, along with “The Maltese Falcon”, once at a film festival (in San Antonio, Texas, in 1986). There is nothing like seeing this movie in black and white, on a big screen in a dark theater. The drama of this movie, like so many other classic films, cannot be done justice on a television screen.
One of the strong draws to this movie for me is the performance of the supporting cast, particularly Claude Rains as Captain Renault. Here are a few of my favorite scenes from the film.
Here is some dialogue from a scene in which Claude Rains, as Captain Renault, gently inquires of Humphrey Bogart, as Rick, as to why he came to Casablanca:
Renault: I've often speculated why you don't return to America. Did you abscond
with the church funds? Did you run off with a Senator's wife? I like to think
that you killed a man... it's the romantic in me.
Rick: It's a combination of all three.
Renault: And what in Heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick (laconically): I was misinformed.
Here is another great scene in which Captain Renault is forced, by the
Nazis, to close down Rick’s Café. He hypocritically blames his order on gambling
infractions even as he is receiving his own winnings:
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Renault: I'm shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here.
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Renault: Oh. Thank you very much. Everybody out at once!
Listen to that scene!
Another of the colorful characters is Ugarte, played by Peter Lorre.
One of my favorite bits of dialogue in the film is between Ugarte and Rick:
Ugarte: You despise me don’t you?
Rick: Well, if I gave you any thought I probably would.
Listen to that scene!
And, of course, I love the scene that everyone remembers from this movie:
the foggy scene at the airport where Rick convinces Ilsa that she has to leave with her husband.
Ilsa: But, why my name, Richard?
Rick: Because you're getting on that plane.
Ilsa: I don't understand. What about you?
Rick: I'm staying here with him [Renault] 'til the plane gets safely away.
Ilsa: No, Richard. No. What has happened to you? Last night...
Rick: Last night, we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then and it all adds up to one thing. You're getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.
Ilsa: But Richard, no, I've...
Rick: Now, you've got to listen to me. Do you have any idea what you've have to look forward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten we'd both wind up in a concentration camp. Isn't that true, Louis?
Renault: I'm afraid Major Strasser would insist.
Ilsa: You're saying this only to make me go.
Rick: I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Victor. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it.
Rick: Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.
Ilsa: What about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have -- we'd, we'd lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you...
Rick: And you never will. I've got a job to do too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. 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. Someday you'll understand that. (She drops her head tearfully. He touches her chin and raises it to gently bolster her up.) Now, now. Here's looking at you, kid...
Humphrey Bogart -- Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman -- Ilsa Lund Laszlo
Paul Henreid -- Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains -- Captain Louis Renault
Conrad Veidt -- Major Heinrich Strasser
Sydney Greenstreet -- Senor Ferrari
Peter Lorre -- Ugarte
S.Z. Sakall -- Carl
Madeleine Lebeau -- Yvonne
Dooley Wilson -- Sam
Joy Page -- Annina Brandel
John Qualen -- Berger
Leonid Kinskey -- Sascha
Distributed by: Warner Brothers
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Director: Michael Curtiz
Screenwriter: Julius J. Epstein,
Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch
(Based on the play "Everybody Goes To Rick’s"
by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison)
Cinematographer: Arthur Edeson
Editor: Owen Marks
Composer: Max Steiner
Music Director: Leo F. Forbstein
Art Director: Carl Jules Weyl
"Here’s looking at you kid."
Listen to it!
Academy Awards for:
Best Picture of 1943
Best Director -- Michael Curtiz
Best Screenplay -- Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch
Best Actor -- Humphrey Bogart
Best Supporting Actor -- Claude Rains
Best Cinematography -- Arthur Edeson
Best Editing -- Owen Marks
Best Musical Score -- Max Steiner
"As Time Goes By"
One of the most memorable elements of the film is the song “As Time Goes By” played by the character, Sam. The lyrics are listed below.
“As Time Goes By”
Music and lyrics by Herman Hupfeld.
You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
And when two lovers woo
They still say “I love you”
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by
Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny
It’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
Yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
Listen to a portion of that song
as sung by Dooley Wilson (Sam).
Here is the text from the note that Ilsa leaves for Rick at the train station in Paris.
go with you or ever
see you again. You
must not ask why.
Just believe that I
love you. Go, my darling,
and God bless you.
This is the note that breaks his heart and turns him from the happy, love-struck
man he was in Paris to the cynical, cold-hearted person he is in Casablanca.
Information gathered from numerous websites including: