Casablanca—the beloved classic of love, sacrifice and usual-suspect roundups—is 71 years old. The movie could’ve started earning a pension 6 years ago, yet it endures. Somehow this picture never gets old. I think one big reason is its sense of humour about an ultra-sensitive situation. For all the Nazis and the talk of concentration camps, there’s Claude Rains cracking wise with Humphrey Bogart. People love Bogie and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca, but the real romance is between Rick and Louis. Beautiful friendship? Get a room with Renault’s casino winnings, you two!
We all know the great lines of dialogue, but did you know the American Film Institute honoured six (6!) of those classic lines on their Top 100 Quotes list in 2005? They had so many that the AFI couldn’t even cram the “hill of beans” or “shocked, shocked to find illegal gambling” lines onto the Top 100. Even if you don’t know much about Casablanca, you’ve heard 2 or 3 of the legendary quotes. That’s not even taking into account how the AFI ranks “As Time Goes By” as the 2nd best movie song ever and the movie itself as the #1 romantic flick.
But this picture is so much more than high rankings on Top 100 lists and witty bon mots. You’ve got tension, drama, romance, witticisms, love songs, duelling national anthems, flashbacks, drinking, rigged gambling, and Nazi death. Good ol’ Morocco. You know how to show a girl and a guy a good time…before they walk off with other people. Or, if you’ll allow me to put this movie in a nutshell: bar owner and cop casually walk away from murder scene.