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Drama, War, Romance
IMDB rating:
Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund
Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains as Captain Renault
Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser
Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari
Peter Lorre as Ugarte
Joy Page as Annina Brandel
John Qualen as Berger
Leonid Kinskey as Sascha
Curt Bois as Pickpocket
Storyline: In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining a Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....
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Time Hasn't Gone By This Classic!
I saw this movie in college 20 years ago with over seventy 18-23 year old fellow students. And the audience reaction was like the movie just came out yesterday. Here's a movie that assumes that the average audience has intelligence. And the tons of laughs were all in the right places for the right reasons. Twenty years later, I can still hear the laughter and applause...and the cheers; especially for that now classic closing line.

If more black and white classics were given this kind of DVD treatment (the recent 2 disc release), then I'd own more black and white classics. Bogart's brilliant portrayal was ahead of its time and no one else but Bergman could of been Elsa. Same for Rains, Henreid, Sakall, Veidt and EVERYONE else. Perfect cast, perfect acting.

It's a shame most people will never see this with an audience because this is a crowd pleaser if ever there was one. So the next best thing is the quality and care that was put into the new DVD. Believe it or not, this makes a great "at home" date flick. And even have a few friends over...but not the 'chatty' ones. There's just too much to miss if so and so starts to "yackitty! yackitty! yackitty! during the many (& there are many) priceless and subtle moments. This movie deserves full attention. And the nice thing pick up more the 2nd time seeing it (& 3rd, 4th...etc).

My favorite line (no way am I repeating it or any others) is Rick's "poor salesmanship" rejection. This one film has more great 'one liners' than some hundred movies put together. And it still seems as fresh today as when...well; when I saw it the 1st time.

It's not that "they don't make em like this anymore" applies to 'Casablanca' because most movies, for every year, in every era (since the 1920's); aren't very good. It's always the very few that rise above the heap, every year; especially when you take into account that over 100 movies are made every year. But 'Casablanca' represents a sample of damn fine storytelling for that particular era that time has proved to be...timeless.

A 'must see' for most movie lovers (but not the 'yackitty' ones).

10 out of 10!

(Can't wait for Bogart's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre"s 2 disc DVD release next month. Another sample of just how brilliant Bogart's acting is.)

A film for everyone, even 'As Time Goes By'...
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 little.

(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!
The Fundamental Things Apply...
"Casablanca" remains Hollywood's finest moment, a film that succeeds on such a vast scale not because of anything experimental or deliberately earthshaking in its design, but for the way it cohered to and reaffirmed the movie-making conventions of its day. This is the film that played by the rules while elevating the form, and remains the touchstone for those who talk about Hollywood's greatness.

It's the first week in December, 1941, and in the Vichy-controlled African port city of Casablanca, American ex-pat Rick Blaine runs a gin joint he calls "Rick's Cafe Americaine." Everybody comes to Rick's, including thieves, spies, Nazis, partisans, and refugees trying to make their way to Lisbon and, eventually, America. Rick is a tough, sour kind of guy, but he's still taken for a loop when fate hands him two sudden twists: A pair of unchallengeable exit visas, and a woman named Ilsa who left him broken-hearted in Paris and now needs him to help her and her resistance-leader husband escape.

Humphrey Bogart is Rick and Ingrid Bergman is Ilsa, in roles that are archetypes in film lore. They are great parts besides, very multilayered and resistant to stereotype, and both actors give career performances in what were great careers. He's mad at her for walking out on him, while she wants him to understand her cause, but there's a lot going on underneath with both, and it all spills out in a scene in Rick's apartment that is one of many legendary moments.

"Casablanca" is a great romance, not only for being so supremely entertaining with its humor and realistic-though-exotic wartime excitement, but because it's not the least bit mushy. Take the way Rick's face literally breaks when he first sees Ilsa in his bar, or how he recalls the last time he saw her in Paris: "The Germans wore gray, you wore blue." There's a real human dimension to these people that makes us care for them and relate to them in a way that belies the passage of years.

For me, and many, the most interesting relationship in the movie is Rick and Capt. Renault, the police prefect in Casablanca who is played by Claude Rains with a wonderful subtlety that builds as the film progresses. Theirs is a relationship of almost perfect cynicism, one-liners and professions of neutrality that provide much humor, as well as give a necessary display of Rick's darker side before and after Ilsa's arrival.

But there's so much to grab onto with a film like this. You can talk about the music, or the way the setting becomes a living character with its floodlights and Moorish traceries. Paul Henreid is often looked at as a bit of a third wheel playing the role of Ilsa's husband, but he manages to create a moral center around which the rest of the film operates, and his enigmatic relationship with Rick and especially Ilsa, a woman who obviously admires her husband but can't somehow ever bring herself to say she loves him, is something to wonder at.

My favorite bit is when Rick finds himself the target of an entreaty by a Bulgarian refugee who just wants Rick's assurance that Capt. Renault is "trustworthy," and that, if she does "a bad thing" to secure her husband's happiness, it would be forgivable. Rick flashes on Ilsa, suppresses a grimace, tries to buy the woman off with a one-liner ("Go back to Bulgaria"), then finally does a marvelous thing that sets the whole second half of the film in motion without much calling attention to itself.

It's not fashionable to discuss movie directors after Chaplin and before Welles, but surely something should be said about Michael Curtiz, who not only directed this film but other great features like "Captain Blood" and "Angels With Dirty Faces." For my money, his "Adventures Of Robin Hood" was every bit "Casablanca's" equal, and he even found time the same year he made "Casablanca" to make "Yankee Doodle Dandy." When you watch a film like this, you aren't so much aware of the director, but that's really a testament to Curtiz's artistry. "Casablanca" is not only exceptionally well-paced but incredibly well-shot, every frame feeling well-thought-out and legendary without distracting from the overall story.

Curtiz was a product of the studio system, not a maverick like Welles or Chaplin, but he found greatness just as often, and "Casablanca," also a product of the studio system, is the best example. It's a film that reminds us why we go back to Hollywood again and again when we want to refresh our imaginations, and why we call it "the dream factory." As the hawker of linens tells Ilsa at the bazaar, "You won't find a treasure like this in all Morocco." Nor, for that matter, in all the world.
This one has it all!
**Spoiler** This movie has it all; literally. The combination of several film genres in its outstanding story make this film one of the best. There are alot of visual metaphors and symbolism throughout as well. Consider the fact that Bogart's character Rick represents the social and military isolationism of the US prior to the war and how he changes to making sacrifices for the good of the cause. "The lives of 2 human beings don't add up to a hill of beans" so he gives her up for the greater good. That's Hollywood telling us that we need to sacrifice in our personal lives in order to fight for the greater good. There is so much to say about this film, especially the hidden meanings behind it. You'll be hard pressed to find a flaw with this film. Masterful direction, acting, and storytelling. *****/*****
Greatest war propaganda movie ever made
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.
Highly Recommended
​'CASABLANCA' - 1942

Directed by Michael Curtiz

Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid

Plot Overview: ​Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), who owns a nightclub in Casablanca, discovers his old flame Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) is in town with her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Laszlo is a famed rebel, and with Germans on his tail, Ilsa knows Rick can help them get out of the country.

I know, I know. It's quite frankly atrocious that it has took me so long to see this film. I say that because Casablanca is a masterpiece of epic proportions. I genuinely don't think I could name a flaw with this gem of a movie. It is a masterpiece and well and truly deserves its spot on the Film Hall of Fame. If you haven't seen it, then I highly suggest you do.

So what do I like about it? The story was fascinating and interesting and intriguing in all senses of the world. And don't even get me started on that ending. That ending, which I of course won't spoil, is easily one of the greatest endings in cinema history. It is a testament to the magic a GOOD writer can make.

Humphrey Bogart was exceptional as Rick Blaine. I absolutely adore this performance and the character is also truly amazing. Words cannot describe the authenticity and skill that Bogart projects onto Blaine. It is a performance that deserves A LOT more recognition by the average movie goer.

Ingrid Bergman was, also, excellent as Ilsa. She didn't quite outdo Bogart in her performance but I would be lying if I didn't say she came pretty close. She manages to project so much emotion and trauma onto the audience in such a fascinating and spectacular manner.

As far as the supporting cast goes, they were also exceptional. Paul Henreid was excellent as Victor Laszlo and added a very interesting and intriguing character to the already riveting narrative. Claude Rains was excellent as Captain Renault and provided an excellent humorous backbone for the movie. He wasn't necessarily essential to the plot but he was essential to the tone and final product. Dooley Wilson was also excellent in his unfortunately short run as Sam. Truly amazing performances from each and every single member of the stellar cast.

For 1942, this movie is a technical wizard. The cinematography and editing were both incredible. The lighting is visually stunning and worked exceptionally well in the black&white environment. The music and sound effects were also excellent and the visual effects were truly admirable, especially considering the time at which they were created.

As a whole, 'Casablanca' is a masterpiece of a film and I can HIGHLY recommend it. As for flaws, I can not name a single one. It is a work of art and should be commemorated for its massive contribution to film and the art form. Please, if you have not, see this film; I assure you that it is worth your time. I'll rate 'Casablanca' 10 'Half a Thoughts' out 10!
A kiss is still a kiss... a sigh may be just a sigh, but MUSIC MAKES THIS FILM A FILM THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
For a film that is so highly spoken of I never really was too eager to see it. I suppose it's because of what some would term as "hype" others would term as "overkill." But some would term it as "tribute." Anyway, I didn't feel like it was a must-see. I THOUGHT I knew the story. I didn't. I THOUGHT I knew the lines, I did, I THOUGHT I knew the music, and I did, but only when I see this movie over and over do I begin to appreciate Bergman's acting, Bogie's finesse, and Steiner's music. Ever since I saw "Carrotblanca," I remembered that I should really try to see this one. So at the first opportunity, I bought it, watched it that very night, and unlike Doctor Zhivago, this one actually kept me entertained and sympathized with the characters. It's an amazing story, I'm surprised people have actually thought this was a boring film... though for action-loving dudes on motorcycles in leather and gold chains might find it so.

The best movie ever made
I discovered this movie about 15 years ago. I'm 33-years-old and had never really been one to go back and watch old black-and-white movies. The first movie I ever really remember going to see at the theater was Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was in love with the movies from then on. Oh, sure, I'd gone to the drive-in in rural Alabama and had seen various movies. But I had been too young and immature to really appreciate them for what they were. But when my uncle took me to see Raiders, I was hooked. For years, I considered Spielberg's masterpiece to be the best movie ever made. But then I happened to get hold of a VHS copy of Casablanca and checked it out. WOW! Moviemaking had been redefined for me. This movie has it all. Bogart is such an incredible presence. I think Harrison Ford is our modern-day answer to Bogart. The story is so straight-forward and so cool ... the backstory about the romance in Paris is great, perfectly handled. The one-liners are unforgettable, and the songs are enchanting. This is the whole package, alright. Perfect movie.
Bogart at his very best...
When Hal Wallis and Michael Curtiz paired Humphrey Bogart with Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre...well, that combination in and of itself was sufficient to make the movie a "box office" smash. However, the year was 1942 and the subject matter and scenario in 'Casablanca' was quite the contemporary issue for that time. No one could know the events that would occur in the following years, as the world waged the brutal battles of World War II. Yet, out of the growing global chaos, Curtiz was able to direct a masterpiece that will continue to rank among the best films ever made. This is classic, quintessential "Bogey" at his very best. Starring as Rick Blaine, with his sharp, if not, brash style, Bogart gives such life to this character with incredible precision, that he's worthy to be remembered for the classic line "Here's looking at you kid..."

Matched with the stellar performances of the other cast members, this movie will always be an industry standard for it's brilliance and consuming style. If you're a fan of classic films, you must see this one!!
Hollywood at its absolute best
I just watched Casablanca last night, and it's one of the greatest films I have ever seen in my life. Everything about it is great. For one, it is one of the most gripping love stories ever to hit the screens, and its romantic drama has rarely been matched since it was made. Same goes for the acting, which is some of the finest in film history. All of this and more will put together one of the greatest movies you will ever see. Period.

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is an ex-freedom fighter who now runs a nightclub in Casablanca, a place filled entirely with French refugees seeking unauthorized transit passes so they can escape to America. Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), who is at the top of the Nazi most wanted list, comes to Casablanca with his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), a former lover of Blaine who departed him when the Nazis overtook Paris. She wants her husband to escape, but her love for Rick re-ignites, and she wants to stay in Casablanca. However, things become more dangerous for the Laszlos, and despite their revived love for each other, Rick convinces Ilsa that she must leave with her husband. He then sees her off on a plane on a fog-enshrouded runway in one of the greatest movie conclusions of all time.

There are so many moments, many of which will forever be unforgotten, in Casablanca that stand out even when compared to greater or bigger films. Every scene is gripping, like when Rick has a flashback to his romantic times with Ilsa in Paris while piano player Sam (Dooley Wilson) plays "As Time Goes By", or when Rick walks out onto the runway and tells Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), "Louis, I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship". But these invincible moments obviously don't need retelling, for almost everyone knows of them. As for the timeless cast, Humphrey Bogart is simply stunning as the leading man. The class, drama, and brilliance in his performance are impossible to match, although there have been countless attempts to try to surpass it. Ingrid Bergman is simply gorgeous, and contributes a performance that's worth cheering for. In fact, all of the performances in this movie will have you cheering.

This is the kind of film that many other Hollywood movies have followed the footsteps of, yet probably very few have rivaled or suprassed. In a nutshell, Casablanca is a sweeping classic that will leave you breathless. From Humphrey Bogart's classy acting to the great ending, there is not a flaw to speak of. In the battle of the ultimate classics, it's not as good as Citizen Kane (despite a higher star rating, but star ratings don't speak all of the volumes in my book). But it's still a fantastic movie. Watch it and enjoy it.

`Here's looking at you kid!'

***** out of *****
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