Casablanca (1942)

The complete Movie Script for the movie Casablanca can be found here: 


CASABLANCA (1942) is the ultimate classic movie. It may not be the most moving or meaningful, but it has something for everyone, and it's one of those films you can watch over and over again, and every time find something you hadn't noticed before. In fact, I'm one of those people who not only thinks that everyone should see it, but who is also of the opinion that the more times you see it, the better it gets.

Music Clip:

clip_image002"Main Title" (clip) by Max Steiner (a .MP3 file courtesyRhino Records).

(For help opening any of the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins page.)


The love story between Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart has already gone down in history, and will probably end up being as eternal as Romeo and Juliet. At the same time, CASABLANCA is filled with colorful supporting characters who make it humorous, melodramatic, and even adventuresome all at the same time. If you only intend to see one classic movie in your lifetime, this is probably the one-- and please, if you're going to make the effort, don't waste your time with the colorized version; it simply isn't the same.



Above are just a few of the many posters that have been printed up for CASABLANCA over the years: At top, a window card from the original 1943 release.  Next, a reprint of the poster from the original Belgian release of the film.  At left above, a poster from the 50th Anniversary re-release for which Ted Turner and company issued a restored and remastered print of the film that is simply spectacular. And finally, a poster from the original German release, though I'm not sure when exactly they finally got to see it.





Rick's Café Américain:

Setting the scene. Rick, the protagonist (Humphrey Bogart), is an American who lives in Casablanca and owns a saloon frequented by some of the most colorful characters ever written.

They may be his customers, but that doesn't mean Rick won't give them a piece of his mind now and then.  In the picture above, Ugarte (Peter Lorre) watches Rick play chess with himself.

Ugarte: "You despise me, don't you?"
Rick: "If I gave you any thought I probably would."


Later in the evening, Ugarte gets himself arrested:

"Rick, hide me!  Do something!  You must help me.  Rick!"

But Rick sticks his neck out for nobody, least of all a cut-rate parasite like Ugarte.


Besides its international atmosphere, the biggest draw at Rick's is Sam, the piano player, who contributes such memorable songs as "Knock on Wood" to the soundtrack.

In this scene, Senor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet) tries to convince Sam to come work for him at The Blue Parrot, but Sam turns him down.  He claims that the extra money wouldn't matter to him because "I ain't got time to spend the money I make here," but we know it's really Sam's loyalty to Rick that keeps him where he is.  Actually, the role of Sam is actually rather a progressive black character for the early 1940s, being neither a servant nor a comic relief character.  Although serving in a musical capacity, Sam is also a friend and confidant of Rick, the white protagonist, frequently taking care of him and even trying to protect him at times.  Needless to say, this kind of relationship between black and white characters was unusual in films of the time.

Incidentally, Dooley Wilson, who played Sam, was a singer and drummer but couldn't play the piano.  The music for the songs was actually dubbed in by Warners' studio musician Elliott Carpenter.  Also, Wilson was the only member of the CASABLANCA cast who had actually been to the Moroccan city before.


Rick's already- eventful evening is further complicated by the appearance of Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and Victor Lazlo (Paul Henreid), at right, being introduced to Rick by Capt. Louis Renault (Claude Rains), the local Prefect of Police. When they leave, Rick gets drunk.





The Flashback:

CASABLANCA has more lines that have become classic quotations than any other movie I can think of. It is also probably one of the most misquoted films ever. 

At right, Rick and Ilsa eat peanuts in Paris:

"We'll always have Paris." -- Rick

clip_image002[1]"Paris Montage" (clip) by Max Steiner (a .MP3 file courtesyRhino Records).


The most famous line in the film (and one of the most famous lines in movie history) is Rick's toast to Ilsa:

Rick: "Who are you really? And what were you before? What did you do and what did you think? Huh?"

Ilsa: "We said 'no questions'."

Rick: clip_image014"Here's looking at you, kid." (a .WAV file).


Besides all the classic lines, the song "As Time Goes By"also became famous as a result of this movie (although it was not original to the film). Not only did Dooley Wilson do a memorable job singing it, but composer Max Steiner wove strains of it so completely into the film's score that it seems impossible to imagine the one without the other.


Rick and Ilsa at La Belle Aurore.

Despite the good times had in Paris, happily-ever-after was not meant to be just yet. The Nazis march into Paris, and Rick and Ilsa make plans to flee.

Later, Rick recalls: "The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."

Ilsa responds: "Yes. I put that dress away.  When the Germans march out I'll wear it again."

But notice in the two pictures above and at left, Ilsa is wearing a suit, not a dress.  Oops.

clip_image002[2]"At La Belle Aurore" (clip) by Max Steiner (a .MP3 file courtesy Rhino Records).


It's time to leave, but Ilsa is nowhere to be found.  Then Sam arrives at the train station with a note:

I cannot 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.

Sam consoles Rick, who's feeling as though his insides had just been kicked out.


Back to reality:

"She's coming back.  I know she's coming back." --Rick.

And she does.

clip_image002[3]"Ilsa Returns" (clip) by Max Steiner(a .MP3 file courtesy Rhino Records).

(For help opening any of the multimedia files, visit the plug-inspage





The plot thickens:

As it turns out, Lazlo is a noted Czechoslovakian resistance leader who has escaped from a  concentration camp and is wanted by the Nazi's, including Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt), their visiting representative in Casablanca.

Casablanca, in northern Morocco, is Vichy French territory early in World War II, and nationalist tensions run high among Rick's French, German, Italian and American customers. Lazlo's presence only aggravates an already tense situation. In the scene above, he inspires the band at Rick's to drown out the Germans (who are rigorously singing "Die Wacht am Rhein") with "La Marseillaise".


Besides the romantic triangle between Rick, Ilsa and Victor, and the Lazlos' quest to find exit visas to America, there are many subtle subplots you might not catch the first time you see the film.  At right, Rick sheds his tough, cynical exterior for a moment and helps out the young couple from Bulgaria: "Have you tried 22 tonight?"

More Memorable Quotations:

  • "I beg of you, Monsieur, watch yourself.  Be on guard.  This place is full of vultures, vultures everywhere, everywhere." --The Dark European.
  • "Oh, there's no hurry.  Tonight he'll be at Rick's.  Everybody comes to Rick's." --Renault.
  • "What right have I to think?" --Ugarte.
  • "I don't mind a parasite. I object to a cut-rate one." --Rick.
  • "Suppose you run your business and let me run mine." --Rick.
  • "How extravagant you are, throwing away women like that.  Someday they may be scarce." --Renault.
  • "I stick my neck out for nobody." --Rick.
  • "My dear Ricky, I suspect that under that cynical shell, you're at heart a sentimentalist." --Renault.
  • "There are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade." --Rick.
  • "Are my eyes really brown?" --Rick.
  • "I was informed you were the most beautiful woman ever to visit Casablanca.  That was a gross understatement." --Renault.
  • "Play it once, Sam, for old time's sake." ...
    clip_image014[1]"Play it, Sam... Play 'As Time Goes By.'" --Ilsa (a .WAV file).
  • "We have a curfew here in Casablanca.  It would never do for the chief of police to be found drinking after hours and have to fine himself." --Renualt.
  • "Sam, if it's December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?" --Rick.
  • "Was that cannon fire, or is it my heart pounding?" --Ilsa.
  • "Kiss me.  Kiss me as if it were the last time." --Ilsa.
  • "Ah, the lady is a friend of Rick's?  For friends of Rick we have a small discount.  Did I say 700 francs?  You can have it for 200." --The Arab.
  • "Oh, Monsieur, you are a man.  If someone loved you very much, so that your happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the whole world, but she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?" --Annina.
  • "I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" --Renault.
  • "My dear Mademoiselle, perhaps you have already observed that in Casablanca, human life is cheap.  Good night, Mademoiselle." --Strasser.
  • "Go ahead and shoot.  You'll be doing me a favor." --Rick.
  • "But it's still a story without an ending.  What about now?" --Rick.
  • "I wish I didn't love you so much." --Ilsa.
  • "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." --Rick.





The Finale:

Love and politics don't mix very well, but they do make for an exciting turn of events.

Rick pulls a gun on Capt. Renault and asks him to fill out the letters of transit.

Rick: "And remember, this gun is pointed right at your heart."

Renault: "That is my least vulnerable spot!"


Captain Renault, Lazlo, Rick and Ilsa arranging the getaway at the airport--but the adventure isn't over yet.

"Major Strasser's been shot. clip_image014[2]Round up the usual suspects." --Renault (a .WAV file).


The most famous goodbye in cinema history: "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. Now, now . . . Here's looking at you, kid." --Rick.

The Goodbye from CASABLANCA:

clip_image025 "Now, now . . . Here's looking at you, kid." (a .MOV file).
clip_image025[1] "I've got a job to do too . . ." (longer version) (a .AVI file courtesy Warner Bros. Home Video).
"Inside of us we both know . . ." (longest version) (a .AVI file courtesy Warner Bros. Home Video).

(For help opening these files, visit the plug-ins page.)


Can you look at this studio publicity still from CASABLANCA and tell why this movie just has to be seen in the original black and white? Arthur Edeson's cinematography might not have won the Oscar in 1943, but Ingrid Bergman is so luminous in certain scenes and Humphrey Bogart so debonair in his white jacket and black tie, that to paint a portrait like this with computer colorization seems a crime.  Incidentally, Ted Turner did just that in 1988 and the colorized version is still available, but considered rather out-of-style these days.