This movie is perfect. If you consider yourself a movie buff and you haven’t seen Casablanca, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and watch it. Humphrey Bogart is breathtaking (I swear the word “swagger” should have been invented solely to describe his semblance), while Ingrid Bergman is one in a very small handful of actresses who would not pale beside him. Even beyond these two treasures of 1940’s Hollywood, there is no shortage of incredible acting in this movie. Every movement and every line in this film is convincing and emotional.
The historical significance is also genuinely gripping. The context of this entire story pivots on one of the many aspects of WWII that has since been overshadowed: the expatriates, many of whom were not Jewish, that were trying to escape as the Nazi’s occupied their homelands. This, in conjunction with the schism between occupied (Vichy) France and the unoccupied territories sets the tone for Casablanca, which delves into these dynamics so authentically. Remember, this movie was released in 1942, well before WWII ended, so the fear that the Axis powers would win was still extremely real.
My only regret watching this film is that I already knew the ending having seen it when I was about ten and could never appreciate it the way I would now. My boyfriend however, who is very new to watching these classic films, loved it. At first I was nervous he would not be able to get past the black and white (it has always shocked me how many people refuse to watch movies for this pathetic reason), but he didn’t flinch. If you are watching movies for the right reasons: the story, the romance, the suspense, etc., then I promise you, this movie will not disappoint.