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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Casablanca (1942) Revisit

Original Episode: #50 Casablanca (1942) (released January 6, 2021)

New Episode: #117 Casablanca (1942) Revisit (released June 15, 2022)

Listen Question: from Saving Private Ryan from Steve from Staten Island, NY

Plot Summary: With the outbreak of war in Europe, refugees make their way to Casablanca in French Morocco, attempting to obtain visas which will allow them to travel to Lisbon and eventually America. Two such visas or letters of transit-obtained under questionable circumstances-end up in the hands of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American running the most popular cafe in Casablanca. When Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a resistance leader to the German war effort in Europe, shows up with his wife Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) attempting to secure the letters to escape the clutches of the Vichy French Police Captain Louis Renault and Major Heinrich Strasser of the SS, Rick is forced to relive his heartbreak over Ilsa all over again. Caught between helping Laszlo escape and wanting to rekindle his affair with Ilsa, Rick is forced to choose between his own happiness and the fate of the world.


  • Michael Curtiz as Director

  • Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch as writers

  • Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine

  • Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund

  • Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo

  • Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault

  • Conrad Veidt as Major Heinrich Strasser

  • Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari

  • Peter Lorre as Signor Ugarte

  • Curt Bois as the Pickpocket

  • Leonid Kinskey as Sascha

  • Madeleine Lebeau as Yvonne

  • Joy Page as Annina Brandel

  • S. Z. Sakall (credited as S. K. Sakall) as Carl

  • Dooley Wilson as Sam


  • Casablanca premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City on November 26, 1942, to capitalize on Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of French North Africa) and the subsequent capture of Casablanca.

  • It went into general release on January 23, 1943, to take advantage of the Casablanca Conference, a high-level meeting in the city between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Office of War Information prevented screening of the film to troops in North Africa, believing it would cause resentment among Vichy supporters in the region.

  • In its initial American release, Casablanca was a substantial but not spectacular box-office success, earning $3.7 million (equivalent to $47 million in 2020). A 50th anniversary re-release grossed $1.5 million in 1992. According to Warner Bros. records, the film earned $3,398,000 domestically and $3,461,000 in foreign markets.

  • Casablanca was nominated for Best Actor (Bogart), Supporting Actor (Rains), Cinematography - Black and White, Film Editing, and Score.

  • It won for Best Picture, Director (Curtiz), and Screenplay (Epstein, Esptein, and Koch)

  • In 1989, the film was one of the first 25 films selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

  • In 2005, it was named one of the 100 greatest films of the last 80 years by Time magazine (the selected films were not ranked).

  • Bright Lights Film Journal stated in 2007, "It is one of those rare films from Hollywood's Golden Age which has managed to transcend its era to entertain generations of moviegoers ... Casablanca provides twenty-first-century Americans with an oasis of hope in a desert of arbitrary cruelty and senseless violence."

  • The film also ranked at number 28 on Empire's list of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, which stated: "Love, honour, thrills, wisecracks and a hit tune are among the attractions, which also include a perfect supporting cast of villains, sneaks, thieves, refugees and bar staff. But it's Bogart and Bergman's show, entering immortality as screen lovers reunited only to part. The irrefutible [sic] proof that great movies are accidents."

  • Screenwriting teacher Robert McKee maintains that the script is "the greatest screenplay of all time".

  • In 2006, the Writers Guild of America agreed, voting it the best ever in its list of the 101 greatest screenplays.

  • 1998 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies - #2

  • 2001 AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills - #37

  • 2002 AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions - #1

  • 2003 AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains - #4: Rick Blaine (hero)

  • 2004 AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs - #2: "As Time Goes By"

  • 2005 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes - #5: "Here's looking at you, kid."

  • #20: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

  • #28: "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."

  • #32: "Round up the usual suspects."

  • #43: "We'll always have Paris."

  • #67: "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."

  • These six lines were the most of any film (Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz tied for second with three apiece). Also nominated for the list was "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."

  • 2006 AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers - #32

  • 2007 AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - #3

Did You Know?:

  • Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany.

  • During the scene in which the "La Marseillaise" is sung over the German song "Die Wacht am Rhein" ("The Watch on the Rhine"), many of the extras had real tears in their eyes as a large number were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out. The scene was copied from Jean Renoir's The Grand Illusion (1937), in which French soldiers in a German POW camp sing the song as a similar gesture of defiance.

  • Because the film was made during WWII, the production was not allowed to film at an airport after dark for security reasons. Instead, it used a sound stage with a small cardboard cutout airplane and forced perspective. To give the illusion that the plane was full-sized, they used little people to portray the crew preparing the plane for take-off. Years later the same technique was used in Alien (1979), in the scene where the crew discovers the dead "space jockey", with director Ridley Scott's son and some of his friends in scaled-down spacesuits.

  • Humphrey Bogart's then-wife, actress Mayo Methot, continually accused him of having an affair with Ingrid Bergman, often confronting him in his dressing room before a scene was to be shot. Bogart would come onto the set in a rage. In fact, despite the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Bogart and Bergman, they hardly spoke, and the only time they bonded was when the two had lunch with Geraldine Fitzgerald. According to Fitzgerald, "The whole subject at lunch was how they could get out of that movie. They thought the dialogue was ridiculous and the situations were unbelievable . . . I knew Bogart very well, and I think he wanted to join forces with Bergman, to make sure they both said the same things." For whatever reasons, Bogart and Bergman rarely spoke after that.

  • In the 1980s this film's script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, "Everybody Comes to Rick's". Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was "not good enough" to make a decent movie. Others gave such complaints as "too dated", "too much dialog" and "not enough sex".

  • Some years ago in a shop dealing with historical documents, a photo still from this film was found, showing Rick sitting at the chess board. Accompanying the photo was a letter from Humphrey Bogart to a friend in New York, indicating a specific chess move. The document dealer explained that the chess game in the movie was a real game Bogart was playing by mail with his friend during the course of filming.

  • Although this was an overtly anti-Nazi film, it wasn't the first one that Warner Bros. had made (it had come out several years earlier with Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)). Warners was the first Hollywood studio to be so open about its opposition to the Nazi regime, and the first to prohibit its films from being distributed in Nazi-occupied territories. Indeed, Harry M. Warner was making speeches denouncing Nazi activities in Germany as early as 1936.

  • When this film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Jack L. Warner was first on stage to accept the award, beating the film's actual producer, Hal B. Wallis, who was incensed at this slight and never forgave Warner. Wallis, at the time regarded as the "wunderkind" at the studio, left Warner Bros. shortly afterwards.

  • It is never revealed why Rick cannot return to America. Julius J. Epstein later said that "my brother (Philip G. Epstein) and I tried very hard to come up with a reason why Rick couldn't return to America. But nothing seemed right. We finally decided not to give a reason at all."

  • Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a professional drummer who faked playing the piano. As the music was recorded at the same time as the film, the piano playing was actually a recording of a performance by Jean Vincent Plummer who was playing behind a curtain but who was positioned such that Dooley could watch, and copy his hand movements.

  • Director Michael Curtiz's Hungarian accent often caused confusion on the set. He asked a prop man for a "poodle" to appear in one scene. The prop man searched high and low for a poodle while the entire crew waited. He found one and presented it to Curtiz, who screamed, "A poodle! A poodle of water!"

Original Legacy Score: 9.75

New Legacy Score: 9.88

Original Impact/Significance Score: 8.25

New Impact/Significance Score: 9

Original Novelty Score: 7.25

New Novelty Score: 9

Original Classicness Score: 9.25

New Classicness Score: 10

Original Rewatchability Score: 9

New Rewatchability Score: 9.5

Original Audience Score: 9.5

New Audience Score: 9.05 (86% Google, 95% RT)

Original Total Score: 53

New Total Score: 56.43

In Memorium:

  • June Preston, 93, American Actress (Anne of Green Gables, Christmas in July) - Obituary

  • Brad Johnson, 62, American Actor (Always, Melrose Place) - Obituary

  • Maggie Peterson, 81, American Actress (The Andy Griffith Show, The Bill Dana Show) and location manager (Casino) - Obituary

  • John Aylward, 75, American Actor (ER, The West Wing, The Way Back) - Obituary

  • Marnie Schulenburg, 37, American Actress (As the World Turns, One Life to Live, Tainted Dreams) - Obituary

  • Linda Lawson, 86, American Actress (Sometimes a Great Notion, Night Tide, Adventures in Paradise) - Obituary

  • Lee Lawson, 80, American Actress (Guiding Light, One Life to Live, Love of Life) - Obituary

  • Gary Nelson, 87, American Film Director (Murder in Three Acts, The Pride of Jesse Hallam, Molly and Lawless John)

  • John Zderko, 60, American Actor (Apparitional, Jinn, 892) - Obituary

  • Bo Hopkins, 84, American Actor (The Wild Bunch, American Graffiti, Dynasty) - Obituary

  • George Shapiro, 91, American Talent Manager (Carl Reiner, Andy Kaufman) and television producer (Seinfeld) - Obituary

  • Ray Liotta, 67, American Actor (Goodfellas, Something Wild, Field of Dreams), Emmy winner (2005) - Obituary

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