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Casablanca: Why This 1942 Movie Is Hollywood’s Greatest Timeless Classic

Casablanca, today, holds a place among the classics, and rightfully so. The film is not just an amazing example of the art form but also is a cultural icon. In 1944, Casablanca won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture and has been called a Hollywood film that is sentimental and magnificently put together. The movie had perfected every element Hollywood style of filmmaking had back then. And it is one of the many reasons why Casablanca is still on the list of classics. 

The Expectation during the Making was Low

Expectations during the Making were Low
Expectations during the Making were Low

Casablanca is a love story during World War. It was filmed and released during the peak years of World War II. The film was adapted from a play – Everybody comes to Rick’s, and when the movie was in the making, the second half of the screenplay wasn’t even written. Actors were handed out the dialogues that were immediately written while the shoot was on. The story was rewritten multiple times and was incomplete even after the shoot was over. Casting too wasn’t a guarantee towards a hit, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as leads. 

The Themes are Retable and Timeless

Themes are Retable and Timeless
Themes are Retable and Timeless

Casablanca is a classic for a myriad of reasons but the main reason is the relatability of the story. The story includes several applicable themes that just sit well with every viewer. The movie is a love story, a movie about war, a thriller with action, mystery, suspense, and intrigue. With themes of sacrifice, concern, and working for a common goal, it appeals greatly to the audience. It even guides the audience that they can choose the right path. Concepts like being a good person and doing the right thing are timeless concepts that resonate with audiences of every era. However, the themes would not have been enough if they hadn’t been presented as well as they were in the film. 

The Acting Performances are Perfect

Acting Performances are Perfect
Acting Performances are Perfect

The performance of the cast is excellent. Bogart’s performance as the cynical Rick Blain is a classic example of perfect acting. Not just Bogart, everybody in the cast put up a performance of unmatched quality. Rick set a new example for Hollywood’s protagonist by being the first rebel hero. Rick changed the way heroes in films were written and portrayed. Bogart portrayed the character most convincingly. With the outstanding work of the cast, the screenplay outshined itself.

The Direction is On Point

Direction is On Point
Direction is On Point

The direction by Michael Curtiz was also an example of technical genius. With whatever was available, Curtiz created a masterpiece. He believed in the narrative. Curtiz kept the technical aspects of the film perfectly with the low-key lighting to add to and enhance the theme of the film even more. He effectively implemented his philosophy of anti auteur and threw himself completely into the telling of the story. 

The Screenplay is Simply Genius

Screenplay is Simply Genius
The screenplay is Simply Genius

The narrative is the backbone of a screenplay, and Casablanca won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay as well. And the movie’s screenplay is another reason it is a timeless classic. Iconic dialogues – “Here’s looking at you, kid”, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine”, “You’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life”, “Round up the usual suspects”, and, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” are still largely quoted.

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Written by Gargi Mishra

I am Gargi Mishra, an aspiring filmmaker. I look at the world through the viewfinder and love to study films. Write them and write about them.