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Casablanca

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
Director: Michael Curtiz
Genre: Drama
Year: 1942
Rating: 4 / 5

Considered by many to be the greatest Hollywood movie ever, Casablanca, the World War II drama starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is a cinema classic, as captivating today as it was back in 1942. Director Michael Curtiz guides an in-his-prime Bogart and an on-the-rise Bergman to dizzying heights, producing a tale as timeless as any. Casablanca nabbed eight Oscar nominations, eventually winning three, including Best Picture and Best Director. Bogart and Best Supporting Actor nominee Claude Rains lost out, but they were no less deserving. Casablanca might not be "the best of the best" in this critic's eye, but it is a film triumph nonetheless.

American Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) runs a popular establishment in Casablanca, a frequent haven for those fleeing German-occupied France. From there, Casablanca's visitors attempt to secure passage to Lisbon, Portugal, and on to the New World. Lording over the city is Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains), a Frenchman on the take and a good friend of Rick's. The local authorities tend to leave Rick alone, even though they know illegal visas change hands in his restaurant, because they know Rick will not get himself involved. Or, as Rick often says, "I stick my neck out for nobody."

Into town strolls Ilsa Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) and her famous husband Victor (Paul Henreid). Years prior in Paris, Ilsa and Rick had a brief, yet magical, affair. With Rick waiting at the train station to leave France with her, Ilsa sent word that their tryst was over, and that he should go on without her. Back in Casablanca, Ilsa and Victor are on the run together, with the Germans in hot pursuit. Victor is an underground legend, and the Germans have failed repeatedly in their attempts to silence him. This time, though, they may be able to capture him, as his options for escape are severely limited. Unless, of course, Ilsa can offer Rick something to make him rethink his longstanding policy of noninvolvement...

Casablanca is filled with timeless quotes that any film fan would instantly recognize. Fortunately, it is also full of fine acting performances, notably by Humphrey Bogart, whose Rick Blaine is a lot funnier than I would have guessed. His dry wit and witty retorts make his character all the more likeable. Ingrid Bergman is the picture of classical beauty, even if her acting was hardly distinguished. When critics look at films in an attempt to understand greatness, they often ask whether or not a given film will stand the test of time. Casablanca has stood the test, leaving no doubt as to its place in history.

Cast:

Humphrey Bogart..........Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman..........Ilsa Laszlo
Paul Henreid..........Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains..........Louis Renault

Certification: Rated PG.
Running Time: 102 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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[critics]