Casablanca is an Oscar-winning 1942 romance film set during World War II in the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca. The film stars Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund. It focuses on Rick's conflict between, in the words of one character, love and virtue: he must choose between his love for Ilsa and his need to do the right thing by helping her husband, Resistance hero Victor Laszlo, escape from Casablanca and continue his fight against the Nazis.


Rick Blaine, the American expatriate owner of an upscale club and gambling den called "Rick's Café Americain" in Casablanca, which attracts a mixed clientèle of Vichy French and Nazi officials, refugees and thieves. Rick is a bitter and cynical man who professes to be neutral in all matters; however, it is later revealed that he had run guns to Ethiopia to combat the 1935 Italian invasion, and fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's fascists.

Ugarte arrives in Rick's club with "letters of transit" he obtained by killing two German couriers. The papers allow the bearer to travel freely around German-controlled Europe, including to neutral Lisbon, Portugal, and from there to the United States. They are almost priceless to any of the continual stream of refugees who end up stranded in Casablanca. Ugarte plans to make his fortune by selling them to the highest bidder, who is due to arrive at the club later that night. However, before the exchange can take place, Ugarte is arrested by the local police under the command of Rick's good friend, Captain Louis Renault. A corrupt Vichy official, Renault accommodates the Nazis. Unbeknownst to Renault and the Nazis, Ugarte had left the letters with Rick for safekeeping, because "...somehow, just because you despise me, you are the only one I trust."

At this point, the reason for Rick's bitterness re-enters his life. His ex-lover, Ilsa Lund, arrives with her husband Victor Laszlo to purchase the letters. Laszlo is a renowned Czech Resistance leader who has escaped from a Nazi concentration camp. They must have the letters to escape to America to continue his work. At the time Ilsa first met and fell in love with Rick in Paris, she believed her husband had been killed while in captivity. When she discovered that he was in fact still alive, she left Rick abruptly without explanation and returned to Laszlo, leaving Rick feeling betrayed. After the club closes, Ilsa returns to try to explain, but Rick is drunk and bitterly refuses to listen.

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The main characters, from left to right: Rick Blaine, Captain Renault, Victor Laszlo and Ilsa Lund

The next night, Laszlo, suspecting Rick of having the letters, speaks with him privately about obtaining them, but they are interrupted when a group of Nazi officers, led by Major Strasser, begins to sing "Die Wacht am Rhein", a German patriotic song. Infuriated, Laszlo orders the house band to play "La Marseillaise". The bandleader looks to Rick for guidance; he nods his head. Laszlo starts singing, alone at first, then long-suppressed patriotic fervor grips the crowd and everyone joins in, drowning out the Germans. In retaliation, Strasser orders Renault to close the club.

That night, Ilsa confronts Rick in the deserted cafe. He refuses to give her the documents, even when threatened with a gun. She is unable to shoot, confessing that she still loves him. Rick decides to help Laszlo, leading her to believe that she will stay behind when Laszlo leaves.

Considering Laszlo too dangerous to leave free, Strasser arranges to have him jailed on a minor charge. Rick convinces Renault to release him, promising to set him up for a much more serious crime: possession of the letters. However, Rick double crosses Renault, forcing him at gunpoint to assist in the escape. At the last moment, Rick makes Ilsa get on the plane to Lisbon with her husband, telling her that she would regret it if she stayed: "Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

Major Strasser drives up, tipped off by Renault, but Rick shoots him when he tries to intervene. When the police arrive, Renault saves Rick's life by telling them to "round up the usual suspects." He then recommends that they both leave Casablanca. They disappear into the fog with one of the most memorable exit lines in movie history: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Video clips

  1. Rick and Ilsa meet with Sam (32)
  2. "Of the all the gin joints in the world, she walks into mine." (33:20)
  3. "Here's looking at you, kid." (37-38, 41)
  4. "Where were you 10 years ago?" (42:30)
  5. "Why'd you have to come to Casablanca?" (46:20)
  6. Confrontation -- lost hope. (77:30)
  7. When she discovered Victor was alive. (80)
  8. My destiny (84)
  9. Airport departure (93)