full title Casablanca

director Michael Curtiz

leading actors/actresses Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Heinreid

supporting actors/actresses Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre

type of work Melodrama, war movie

genre Drama

language English (with some German and French)

time and place produced Hollywood, 1942


 · Oscars (1943):
 · Best Picture, Jack Warner (Warner Bros.)
 · Best Director, Michael Curtiz
 · Best Screenplay, Howard Koch, Julius J. Epstein, and Philip G. Epstein

date of release Released in New York in late 1942 and nationwide in early 1943

producer Hal Wallis

setting (time) December 1941

setting (place) Casablanca in French-ruled Morocco

protagonist Rick Blaine

major conflict The major conflict is between Rick and Ilsa as he tries to understand and she tries to explain their suddenly aborted relationship in Paris. The conflict soon expands beyond their romantic past to involve Laszlo and his attempt to escape to Lisbon.

rising action The conflict between Ilsa and Rick is ignited when Ilsa shows up in Rick's Cafe with Laszlo. Laszlo and Ilsa plan only to pass through Casablanca, but the difficulty of obtaining letters of transit and the fact that the jealous Rick has the letters forces Ilsa and Rick into frequent contact and conflict.

climax The climax of the film appears to be the lovers' reconciliation in Rick's apartment, but Rick's decision at the airport to let Ilsa leave with Laszlo soon trumps this earlier scene.

falling action The falling action begins with Rick's idealistic pronouncements at the airport about personal sacrifice, which justify his decision to let Ilsa leave with Laszlo, and culminates in his murder of Strasser, an act that ensures Ilsa and Laszlo's safe departure but forces Rick into further exile.

themes The difficulty of neutrality; the inescapable past; the power of lady luck

motifs Exile and traveling; dreaming of America in Africa; spotlight

symbols Sam’s piano; Laszlo; the plane to Lisbon and the letters of transit


 · The plane to Lisbon that passes over Louis and Rick as they sit outside Rick's Café on the first evening foreshadows the end of the movie, when the two friends again watch a plane depart for Lisbon, this one carrying Ilsa and Laszlo.
 · Ferrari's attempt to purchase Rick's Café in the beginning foreshadows the eventual sale of the Café when Rick decides to leave Casablanca.
 · The gunfight in the Casablanca market at the beginning of the movie foreshadows the gunfight between Rick and Strasser at the end, though in the latter fight the good guy wins.