‘Casablanca’ Film Review

by Allison Kerper, Staff Writer

Throughout “quarantine,” my family and I have been rotating who gets to pick what movie or show we watch each night. Although not every choice has been universally liked by all four of us, it has been a nice way for us to watch a variety of movies over the past month. This past Sunday, I decided on a classic that I knew would be a respected choice. My only concerns about Casablanca were that the movie would feel dated, considering its release date of 1943. However, the movie proved to live up to its reputation. It seemed remarkably modern, with an inspiring love story woven into an exciting plot that explains why it has become arguably the most beloved American film. 

Humphrey Bogart stars as the owner of Rick’s Cafe Americain in French occupied North Africa, which has recently been taken over by the Germans. Rick Blaine is a cynic that appears to care about few people other than himself, until the wife of a fugitive Czech freedom fighter walks into his cafe. Ilsa, portrayed by Ingrid Bergman, had not seen Rick since six months ago, when they fell in love in Paris. Her husband Victor Laszlo, portrayed by Paul Henreid, knows nothing about their previous relationship. The storyline, however, goes far beyond this love triangle. Laszlo and Ilsa are on the run from the Nazis, and Rick is coincidentally the one in possession of their tickets to freedom. Claude Rains plays the sly Captain of the German-controlled Vichy government alongside Conrad Veidt as a cold Nazi commander, and the two are determined to bring the rebel to “justice.” 

Bogart fantastically expresses Rick Blaine’s internal conflicts, concealing his true intentions until the end of the movie. Bergman is charming as the love of two men and courageous as a rebel on the run from the Nazis. Henreid is reliable and inspiring; he is willing to go to any lengths for both his cause and his love. One of the most spectacular performances was by Claude Rains, who made the Captain a snarky, funny character that shaped the movie as a whole. In all, it is clear to me why Casablanca has become a classic over the past eighty years. In less than two hours, viewers fall in love with the characters and are consumed by the adventure. I believe it will continue to stand the test of time, and remain on the list of the top greatest movies.