movie review: casablanca

Casablanca Movie 1942:

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.


Casablanca one of those deliciously heartbreaking movies.  When I want to have a good cry without feeling like my insides have been kicked out, and when I get in that mood, Casablanca is usually the movie I watch (as opposed to its contender at the 1943 Academy Awards – The Ox-Bow Incident).  Yes, it’s sad, but I can deal with the ending – Ilsa and Victor will be happy together, in the end, and as for Rick…well, Rick will be fine, too, doing whatever it is he and Louis end up doing.  Naturally, I still cry, though, and not just at the end, because since I know the ending, all the foreshadowing and echoed lines and multiple playings of ‘As Time Goes By’ never fail to make me tear up, at least a little.  Oh, and the Marseilles scene.  That always gets me.


Besides describing my personal feelings when it comes to Casablanca, what can I say about this film that will be new and fresh?  That I love it wholeheartedly and breathlessly?  That each character is unique and I love half of them and hate the other half and that I feel extremely conflicted about Louis?  That the script is a work of art with all the glittering, snappy, funny, romantic, gutwrenching dialogue?  All that, and more, has been said.

But, whatever.  I want to do it, too.

First, the part of loving it so hard and so much: I LOVE THIS MOVIE TO INFINITY AND BEYOOND.  It’s definitely on my top ten favorite movies list, and maybe top five, and maybe top three (if anyone’s interested in the top ten, let me know and I’ll write a post about them).  It’s that good.  I know that the plot is a bit thin at times, mainly due to the supposedly infallible letters of transit (de Gaulle’s signature wouldn’t have meant a thing), but the acting and dialogue and quality and all that is so good that you can forget about all the plot holes.  Or at least I can.  The settings (Rick’s cafe is practically a character all of its own), Ilsa’s outfits, the flashbacks, the lovely score (I adore how ‘As Time Goes By’ is incorporated into the scoring for so many scenes)…everything comes together flawlessly to form one gorgeous, classic film.

Casablanca 1942:

The characters: I can’t decide on a favorite.  There’s Rick and Ilsa, for starters.  I like Humphrey Bogart quite a bit, and I think Rick was the one role of his that led me to that conclusion because before I watched Casablanca, the only thing I’d seen him in was Treasure of the Sierra Madre, in which he plays a rather…disturbed character.  Anyway, I really like Rick.  Really like him.  Especially at the end when he does all the Heroic & Awesome things and sends Ilsa off with that tear-inducing final farewell.  As for Ilsa, Ingrid Bergman plays her with a luminosity that’s alternately warm as the summer sun and cool as ice, and I can fully sympathize with her, though I don’t agree with her decision to leave Victor for Rick near the end.  And, speaking of Victor, after seeing Casablanca about ten times, I appreciate him more than I did the first five or so times.  Yes, he’s a little bland, but not as bad as I first thought, and he truly does love Ilsa and he is a great Underground leader.  So, he’s okay.

Pinner said " number 1 favorite black and white movie...":

Louis is a complicated character.  I won’t spend a lot of time on him since this review it quite long already, but suffice to say, he alternately amuses, frustrates, and – at times – disgusts me.  Very complicated, as I said.  Strasser is a good villain – sufficently Nazi-ish without being too cartoonish.  All the regulars at Rick’s, plus Ugarte, Ferrari, Yvonne, and all the other minor characters play their parts admirably and some of them, particularly Carl and Sascha give the film a great bit of humour and flavour.  Oh, and Sam.  How could I forget Sam?  He’s one of my favorite characters – I love the look on his face when he first sees Ilsa walking in and how he gets out of there in a hurry when Rick sees Ilsa and comes over to talk to her.  And the songs he plays/sings are great.


The script is wonderful.  We all know of the iconic lines like “Play it, Sam.  Play ‘As Time Goes By’.” or “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.” or “We’ll always have Paris.”, but there are plenty of conversations (particularly between Rick and Louis) that are brimming with wit and verve.  Between the strong characterizations and the dialogue, Casablanca is, in many ways, a writer’s dream come true.  (Here’s the full script, if you’re interested.)  There are several scenes that I love – the singing of the Marseilles (there’s a look Ilsa gives Victor during that scene that leads me to believe she won’t be entirely unhappy with him when it comes right down to it), Rick’s extended flashback (I recognized the song that Rick and Ilsa dance to, which made me happy – it’s ‘Perfidia’), the bit where Rick lets that young man win all the money, the final scene, and so many others.  Basically the whole movie.

*siiiiiiiiiigh*  It’s sooooo good.

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

*everyone bursts into tears*


P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway, if you haven’t already!


14 thoughts on “movie review: casablanca

  1. Haha, I saw this coming. ;-P

    AS TIME GOES BY. That song is so gorgeous. I’d never heard of it before watching the movie! I love Sam. He’s so much fun. “Yes, boss.” 🙂 Also his piano is just about the coolest thing ever. It’s kind of the hero, that piano, ‘cuz it hid the letters. 🙂

    I actually – crinnge – like Victor better than Rick. Now I’ve said that, I don’t like Rick at all. Apart from his delicious one-liners, of course. (And the, ‘here’s looking at you kid’ line. I Loved that.) He just seemed so gloomy. (Yeah, soary.)

    This might sound weird – but your post made me like the movie better! (I did love it, truly. It’s really darling and epic and simple and heart-breaking at the same time.) Also, it was quite fitting for me to watch, especially now that Europe has all those refugee problems!

    Oh, do you know when I love Rick? When he helps that sweet young couple win money. 22. 😛

    Great review!!!

    ~ Naomi


    • Don’t you love Vera Lynn’s rendition of it? Unbelievably beautiful. I was disappointed with Frank Sinatra’s take on it, though (he’s my favorite singer), ’cause he just sounded bored. 😛 But I’ve had Vera Lynn’s on repeat for quite a while. Yes, the piano! I never thought of it that way, but you’re absolutely right.

      *GASP* How can you like Victor better than Rick??? Yes, Rick is gloomy, but he has a perfect right to be, plus he breaks my heart in so many places and I like having my heart broken by fictional characters (all those delicious feels, remember?), so I like him better. 🙂 Plus, like you said, the way he helps that young couple is lovely. But everyone’s entitled to their own opinions – and I’m certainly not mad at you for yours. 🙂

      Oh, that doesn’t sound weird – it’s happened to me before. 🙂

      Speaking of reviews, is there any chance you might review GWTW (the book) on your blog sometime soon? I’d love to read it if you did.


  2. I’ve never seen this movie . . . so . . . I don’t know if I’d like Rick or Victor better. I will say, though, that last line always gets me, whenever I hear it. “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Man ALIVE, the feels.
    Ingrid Bergman is one of the most beautiful actresses of all time, IMHO. I’ve only seen one movie with her in it–“The Bells of St. Mary’s,” where she plays a nun. She was FANTASTIC. Made me want to cry. A lot. The ending . . . *gulps.*


    • Sooooo many feels. You really should see this some day, even if it isn’t really your kind of movie. 🙂

      Ingrid Bergman is gorgeous. I’ve only seen her in a few things and “The Bells of St. Mary’s” isn’t one of them, though I’ve heard of it. Doesn’t that one have Bing Crosby, too? Or maybe I’m thinking of something entirely different…


      • YES. It does have Bing Crosby in it–the two of them are co-stars. Bing plays a priest, Father O’Malley, and he’s a wonderful character. So relaxed and casual, and yet so wise and GOOD. He always makes me happy. And Ingrid Bergman did an absolutely beautiful job playing Sister Benedict. It’s such a sweet, wholesome movie, and yet it’s pretty emotional, too. I would highly recommend it, especially since I know you like old movies and this one’s from 1945 or something. 🙂


  3. Casablanca. Now there’s a movie I never get tired of (even after seeing it nine times. 😉 ). Of course, the story is fascinating (in spite of those made-up letters of transit), but I think what I like best about it is the characters. I love each and every one of them, even Louis (at the end, that is). And they’re all so wonderfully acted! You would expect the main stars of a film like that to hit it out of the park, but I was just as impressed with the supporting cast too. Claude Rains, of course, is brilliant in everything he’s in, but I also loved Peter Lorre, S. Z. Sakall, and Conrad Veidt. I agree with your opinion of Major Strasser: he’s as evil as he could possibly be without seeming cartoonish. Veidt was great at giving performances like that. Glad you enjoyed this movie!


  4. A top ten list of your fave movies would be cool to see!

    Now that you like Bogart, have you seen We’re No Angels yet? Oh man, that is a hilarious and awesome movie — totally my favorite Bogie role and film. And since you’re in a Christmasy mood, it would be very timely…

    (Cuz I haven’t already added enough to your TBW list.)


    • Let’s see…I’ve only watched *thinks* four Humphrey Bogart films, and WNA isn’t one of them (the ones I have seen are Casablanca, Sabrina, The Maltese Falcon, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre). But I’ll check it out! (Though it’s doubtful my library has it – they carry so few old movies.)


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