“Here’s looking at you kid”
Casablanca is the classic 1942 American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. Filmed and set during World War II, it focuses on an American expatriate (Bogart) who must choose between his love for a woman (Bergman) and helping her and her husband (Henreid), a Czech resistance leader, escape from the Vichy-controlled city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Germans.
The screenplay is based on Everybody Comes to Rick’s, an unproduced stage play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. The supporting cast features Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.
Although Casablanca was an A-list film with established stars and first-rate writers, no one involved with its production expected it to be anything other than one of the hundreds of ordinary pictures produced by Hollywood that year. It had its world premiere on November 26, 1942, in New York City and was released nationally in the United States on January 23, 1943. The film was a solid if unspectacular success in its initial run.
Exceeding expectations, Casablanca went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, while Curtiz was selected as Best Director and the Epsteins and Koch were honoured for writing the Best Adapted Screenplay. Its reputation has gradually grown, to the point that its lead characters, memorable lines and pervasive theme song have all become iconic, and it consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films in history. In 1989, the United States Library of Congress selected the film as one of the first for preservation in the National Film Registry.