Although relatively popular and well received when released in the summer of 1942 due in part to events in North Africa at the time, Casablanca has since risen to be one of the most critically acclaimed and well though of films in history. It currently ranks number 23 on the IMDb’s Top 250, number 3 on the AFI’s 100 Movies and is one of Hollywood’s most loved romantic melodramas. The film is also one of the most quoted films of all time too with quotes such as “We’ll always have Paris”, “Here’s looking at you, kid” and the often misquoted “Play it Sam. Play As Time Goes By” being well known to people who have never even seen the film. Until today I was one of those people and like hundreds of other classic films it was on my list of must sees for a long time. Now it’s off that list and I’m glad of it. Although I wouldn’t personally put it towards the top of my favourite films of all time it is certainly a wonderfully taught and romantic drama which successfully mixes the geo-political problems of the age with a fine romantic story which remains eternal to this day.
The plot is set in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on the route of a great refugee trail from Nazi occupied Europe towards America. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a cynical and politically non aligned bar owner based in Casablanca whose neutrality is put to the test when an old flame unexpectedly appears back in his life.