Film / Casablanca
Rick and Ilsa as they wish they were.

"Here's looking at you, kid."

Casablanca is a wartime romantic movie, considered by many to be one of the most romantic (and best) movies ever made.

This 1942 Warner Bros. film featured a screenplay by Howard Koch, based on an unproduced play, Everybody Comes to Rick's, by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison; this screenplay was in turn enhanced by the brilliant dialogue of the brothers Julius and Philip Epstein. The film was handed over to ace director Michael Curtiz, and the respected film composer Max Steiner provided the score. Early studio press releases had it that the film would star Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan — but this was just the studio's publicity department needing to put someone famous's name in the release, otherwise the announcement wouldn't get printed (they picked Reagan and Sheridan because it gave them an extra chance to remind audiences about Kings Row). George Raft also made a play for the lead role, but the studio had always planned the film as an A-list picture and had never considered anyone but Humphrey Bogart for its starring role.

The setting is Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941; the city is a melting-pot hotbed of refugees from Nazi oppression who are all desperately trying to make their way to the United States — and freedom — while trying to avoid the Vichy French authorities, their German masters, and opportunistic criminals. At the center of the story is protagonist Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), the bitter, cynical American owner of Rick's Café Americain — which professes absolute neutrality to all, from the ruthless German commander Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) and the corrupt, cynical French police chief Louis Renault (Claude Rains) to the desperate refugees and criminals who use his bar as a convenient place for dealings of all kinds.

Rick's claims of neutrality are pushed to the limit by the arrival of Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) — the woman who broke Rick's heart when the Germans entered Paris — and her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a Czech resistance leader and Major Strasser's current favorite target. Ilsa had abandoned him upon learning that her husband, once thought dead, was still alive; now she and Victor need Rick's help in securing vital letters of transit that will allow them to leave the country and continue to fight the good fight against the Nazis. When it is gradually made clear that Ilsa — despite being with her husband — still loves Rick, Rick finds himself struggling with his heart, his anger, his gradually-revived sense of idealism, and the question of whether to sacrifice this new chance at happiness for the cause of something that is greater than all of them.

As an interesting side note: in his World War II espionage history Istanbul Intrigues, historian and political columnist Barry Rubin described the eponymous City of Spies as "a real-life Casablanca".

Not to be confused with the poem Casabianca.

I am shocked, SHOCKED! to find troping going on on this website!!note 

  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Turns out, Victor wasn't dead, causing much angst for Rick.
  • Accidental Adultery: Rick and Ilsa have this sort of tryst after Ilsa's husband Victor is presumed dead. She leaves Rick after Victor turns up alive, but much of the film is concerned with her being torn between the two of them.
  • Affably Evil:
    • Seemingly Louis, at first, but ultimately subverted (the evil part that is, not the affable).
    • Even the Nazis are relatively affable at times.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: The guy who puts his arms around visitors and warns them about thieves while robbing them.
  • The Alliance: The Allies. Which they go out of their way to demonstrate.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Ilsa gets one right after failing to shoot Rick.
  • Anti-Hero: Rick is an anti-fascist who participated in the Spanish civil war, losing miserably to Franco on each occasion. This and various personal failures led to him being exiled, whether by choice or circumstance, in "neutral" France. He does the dirty work of killing Stasser and smuggling the couple out of Casablanca.
  • Artistic License – Geography: "Waters? What waters? We're in the desert." Though not exactly rainy, the real Casablanca's mediterranean climate is not deserty, either. It is more like Los Angeles or San Diego (or Rome or Athens) than it is like Las Vegas or Phoenix (or Cairo or Mecca).
  • Artistic License – History: "I was with them when they blundered into Berlin in 1918." No enemy soldiers entered Berlin in 1918. The Allies had just reached Germany's western border when the war ended.
  • Awesome McCool Name: Signor Ferrari has a nice ring.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: "Rick's Cafe Americain". But then, everybody comes to Rick's.
  • Bad Samaritan: The "vultures everywhere" guy.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Yvonne, in her first scene.
  • Batman Gambit: The outcome of Rick's eventual scheme depends heavily on the characters of the people involved.
  • Berserk Button: Apparently, the song "As Time Goes By" has become this for Rick.
    Rick (storming halfway across the cafe): Sam, I thought I told you never to play that... (sees Ilsa sitting there)
  • Betty and Veronica: Victor and Rick.
  • Big Bad: Major Heinrich Strasser, head of Those Wacky Nazis stationed in Casablanca.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Rick gets one immediately after (apparently) turning Victor Laszlo over to Renault.
      Rick: Stay where you are, Louis. I wouldn't like to shoot you, but I will if you take one more step.
    • Renault gets a subtle one himself, simply by uttering an immortal line at the opportune moment, just as it looks like Rick will be arrested for murder.
      Renault: Major Strasser has been shot. [Beat] Round up The Usual Suspects.
  • Billed Above the Title: Bogart and Bergman, obviously, but also Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo. It was compensation for having to take such a thankless role.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Rick lets Ilsa leave with Victor and is forced to leave Casablanca for his role in the pair's escape. On the bright side, Victor and Ilsa are able to get away from Casablanca to continue to lead the fight against the Nazis for the resistance, and Rick has his sense of idealism revived.
  • Black Best Friend: Sam is a prototypical example. An interesting distinction, however, especially considering the context and culture of the time, is that Sam is never portrayed in a clownish or stereotypical way, nor is he a Magical Negro type, or anything other than a concerned and loyal friend to Rick. Sure, he tends to defer to Rick and addresses him as "Boss," but Rick is, in fact, his Boss, and he doesn't seem to be treated unfairly by the other characters or portrayed as inferior in any way, except perhaps in the sense that he's treated as a human juke box at times — but, again, that is his job.
  • Blatant Lies: The elderly German (or, at least German speaking—possibly Austrian or Swiss) couple headed for America is trying to make the transition to using English to become better acclimated to American life.
    Husband: What watch? (meaning What time is it?)
    Wife: Ten watch.
    Husband: Such much? (It's that late?)
    Karl: (smiling) You will get along beautifully in America.
    • Admittedly, the rest of their English is pretty good.
    • Sam keeps trying to lie, both to Ilsa and Rick, but he's not very good at it.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: "As Time Goes By" is now the official Vanity Plate jingle for Warner Bros..
  • Bowdlerise:
    • The first German dub was so thoroughly denazified (by about 25 minutes) that it told a completely different story. It took them 23 years to make a faithful dub.
    • To this day, any reference to fascism or Italy is missing from the Italian version.
    • In the first Spanish dub, the reference to Rick's participation in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side is omitted.
    • In Ireland, all references to Rick and Ilsa's affair in Paris (including the flashback scene and a lot of dialogue in the farewell scene) were cut, because Ilsa was still married to Victor (although he was presumed dead). Needless to say, this re-cut made absolutely no sense. The uncut movie was first shown on TV in Ireland in the 1970s.
  • Brooklyn Rage: When Major Strasser hints at the Nazis eventually invading New York, Rick quips that there are parts of the city that it would not be a good idea for the Germans to invade.
  • Butt Monkey: Captain Dorelli, the Italian military attache - even his allies never let him finish a sentence.
  • California Doubling: The film was shot on the Warner Bros. backlot and at the Van Nuys Airport, a general aviation airport near Los Angeles. A lot of Stock Footage was used for Paris and other locales for obvious reasons.
  • Call Forward:
    • "It's December 1941 and all of America is asleep...". From the date on the marker Rick signs at the very beginning, the movie begins on December 2, 1941, and ends on December 5, 1941.
    • Likewise in Ferrari's first conversation with Rick: "My dear Rick, when will you realise that in this world today, isolationism is no longer a practical policy?"
  • Catch Phrase: Casablanca has six quotes on the AFI's 100 top film quotes list, more than any other movie. "Here's looking at you, kid.", "Play it, Sam.", and many others. It's so hard to pick a page quote.
  • Chandler American Time: Geography aside (the film doesn't take place in America, but Rick is debatably an Anthropomorphic Personification of Neutral America), the film's timing (the first week of December, 1941) places it at the very tail chronological end of the setting.
  • Character Development:
    • Not just one, but two with Rick and Louis, who start the movie perfectly happy to drink or screw themselves to death without a care for what goes on outside Casablanca. Rick struggles to hold on to his shallow, cynical life even toward the end, when he claims he's no good at being noble while outdoing the nobility of even Laszlo (Laszlo, after all, has every reason to believe he can escape from the Nazis again; Rick was assuming he'd be summarily shot or turned over to the Nazis).
    • Louis' change of heart is more sudden but no less complete: Strasser's death was clearly caused by either him or Blaine, with Louis' lie obvious either way. His subordinates could have turned them both in for a promotion.
  • The Chessmaster: Rick is first seen playing chess. We never see him play against an opponent, but there is an opened letter next to the board, indicating he's playing some unknown foe by correspondence.note  When finally called into action, Rick is seen manipulating other characters—even Ilsa—into setting up the final move.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder:
    • Louis, who admits as much, saying that he "blows with the wind."
    • Rick betrays most of the cast at some point or another, although he usually does it for a good reason.
  • City of Spies: Technically, city full of refugees and smugglers. And also spies, and vultures, vultures everywhere!
  • Les Collaborateurs: The police, particularly Louis — unusually, he redeems himself. Louis is in fact all cool with his normally extremely controversial behavior of opportunism. He, for instance, at one point nonchalantly informs Rick that he will go to his Nazi superior to lick ass for his own sake.
    Renault: I blow with the wind, and right now, the prevailing wind blows from Vichy.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: "We haven't decided whether he committed suicide or was shot trying to escape."
  • Crapsack World: The movie is more lighthearted about it than most, but it's there. Casablanca is filled with refugees fleeing from war zones or fascist police states, who are now targeted by all sorts of people seeking to exploit them. Leaving for a better place isn't impossible, but involves either a prohibitive cost that most refugees can't afford (and they often impoverish themselves further by trying to win the money through gambling), or, if you're a woman, sleeping with the local Dirty Cop. Organized crime thrives and the authorities are openly corrupt, with even the protagonist having to pay bribes to keep operating. The police shoots people in broad daylight and routinely rounds up large numbers of designated suspects simply for the pretense of efficiency. And all this is before the Nazis show up and start breathing down everyone's neck.
  • Crowd Song: The French National Anthem scene.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: When Ilsa abandoned Rick in Paris. (Though as Louis notes, Rick's cynicism was never as thorough as he liked to believe.) When Rick and Ilsa reconcile, Rick is able to drop the cynicism and become a straight-up hero.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several, most notably Capt. Renault and Rick, who engage in glorious Snark-to-Snark Combat, resulting in a movie with some of the snappiest dialogue in film history.
    Captain Renault: I've often speculated why you didn't go back to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Did you run off with a senator's wife? I'd like to think that you killed a man. It's the romantic in me.
    Rick: It was a combination of all three.
    Captain Renault: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
    Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
    Captain Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
    Rick: I was misinformed.
  • Default to Good: Rick, and then Captain Renault.
  • Despair Speech: Rick's dialogue in his famous "All the Gin Joints" scene once Ilsa shows up smacks of this, despite not technically being a speech.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Rick does a heroic sacrifice and lets Ilsa go.
    Rick: We'll always have Paris.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2008 Blu-Ray had contrast boosting and digital noise reduction, which were fortunately corrected in 2012 for the movie's 70th anniversary.
  • The Don: Signor Ferrari, though a less sinister version than most. He is "the head of all illegal activities in Casablanca," but is never seen harming anyone (he'd like to hire Sam away from Rick and he'd like to take over Rick's cafe, but he doesn't try to threaten or coerce them, only making offers that would be expected from any interested businessman). He's even the one who gives Ilsa and Victor the suggestion that leads to their leaving with the letters of transit (though he may have had an ulterior motive, see Xanatos Speed Chess below).
  • Drowning My Sorrows: When Rick learns of Ilsa, he has his famous, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine" scene, drinking rather heavily while his pianist tries to snap him out of it.
  • DVD Commentary: Roger Ebert makes one awesome commentary track. He breaks down things such as shot design, subtle character motivations, the "La Marseillaise" awesomeness and the MacGuffin disaster.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Pretty much everyone.
  • The Empire: The Nazis, of course.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Early on, Rick lets Ugarte get dragged away by the authorities to his death, asserting that "he sticks his neck out for no one". However, Rick's face clearly shows a moment of sympathy for Ugarte before the tough veneer reasserts itself. His line that he sticks his neck out for no one, which comes as Ugarte is being dragged away, comes across as more of an effort to convince himself and justify his seeming coldness.
    • Allowing the young couple to win at his rigged roulette table so they could afford to pay Louis for an exit visa, rather than the young wife having to use an alternative method of payment.
  • Establishing Series Moment: We see a guy shot in broad daylight and no one does a thing. Enter Rick's Cafe and we see people conducting shady business.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Rick. According to Louis, anyway, who describes him as the second most desirable man in Casablanca (after himself, of course).
    "If I were a woman, and I were not around... I should be in love with Rick."
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Played with in the case of Renault, though he's far from evil. Both he and Rick once fought on the side of the angels, with Rick running guns in Spain and Renault fighting alongside the Allies in World War I. Both drifted to Casablanca and adopted a stance of bemused neutrality. Both go through women faster than cigarettes. However, whereas Rick gruffly offers aid to a lovestruck couple here, a freedom fighter there, Renault embraced the corruption and vice that came with his police uniform.
    • Strasser is this to Laszlo. Both men are paragons of their factions. Curiously, both seriously underestimate Rick, albeit in different ways.
  • Exotic Backdrop Setting: Native Moroccans only appear as extras in street scenes.
  • Film Noir: Heavy shadows, morally conflicted and deeply wounded cynical protagonist, Bittersweet Ending, Humphrey Bogart... yeah, it counts.
  • Flashback: Of Rick and Ilsa's time together in pre-occupation Paris, and how exactly Ilsa left Rick.
  • Flippant Forgiveness:
    Ugarte: You are a very cynical person, Rick, if you'll forgive me for saying so.
    Rick: I forgive you.
  • Follow the Leader: After the success of this movie, Hollywood decided they should try and get Humphrey Bogart to make it again. And again. Annnnd again. To Have And Have Not is pretty similar (and very good), but could possibly claim plausible deniability. Tokyo Joe and Sirocco, on the other hand, are just Casablanca again in other countries with crappier supporting casts, writers, and directors.
  • Forced Perspective: That plane, with the maintenance crew working on it? A scale model, and midgets. A cheap cardboard scale model, at that. The scene's fog, in addition to being atmospheric, was used to hide how fake the plane looked.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the Paris flashback, Rick and Ilsa dance to ... Perfidia.
    • Yvonne gets in bed (literally) with the Germans, before revealing she's still a proud French patriot... just like Louis in the finale.
    • The young Bulgarian couple. They appear throughout the movie going through the "stages" of trying to escape the city just like Laszlo and Ilsa, the young woman is in a similar emotional situation to Ilsa in Paris and Rick at the moment, and if that weren't enough, their plight is what pushes Rick over the edge and into sticking his neck out for somebody.
    • Louis' theory about what crime Rick committed corresponds more or less exactly with his major plot points throughout the movie.
    • Louis and Rick both comment about Rick's dead idealism. Strasser is unconvinced.
    • During the first night of Ilsa's return into his life, Rick asks Sam about the time and day as though to commemorate the moment. The conversation reveals the film is happening on the weekend of the Pearl Harbor attack, making Rick's drunken comments about "America being asleep" potent.
  • Freudian Trio: Rick (Id), Sam (ego), Ilsa (superego).
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Rick as the Cynic, Ilsa as the Conflicted, Victor as the Optimist, and Louis as the Apathetic. All four start off as textbook examples of their respective philosophies, and their Character Development largely entails these philosophies being challenged by the events of the film.
  • Funny Foreigner:
    • "What watch?" "Ten watch." "Such much?" It's a literal translation from German to English.note  Doesn't rise to the level of a "Blind Idiot" Translation.
    • The "vultures everywhere" guy (Curt Bois) uses this as a cover for his pickpocketing.
  • Gaussian Girl: Ingrid Bergman is not shown in focus at any point in the film.
  • Genre Roulette: It's a film noir/war movie/comedy/drama/caper/romance with a side order of adventure (and propaganda).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • "Captain Renault must be getting broad-minded." A gay joke in 1942. Immediately followed with an implication that Renault extorts sex from women for exit visas, no less. As Annina has said "My husband is with me too," this is probably intended as Threesome Subtext and/or to imply that Renault's women are usually not married.
    • When Ilsa meets a drunken Rick after the bar is closed, his line about having heard lots of stories while a "tinny piano" plays downstairs is subtly referencing a brothel, implying the storytellers are prostitutes.
    • A more serious one, with the revelation that Rick was having an affair with a married woman. The Hays office would have had a conniption, but the Back Story helped excuse it by making it believable Ilsa would think Laszlo was dead at the time.
    • Yvonne counts as well, in addition to foreshadowing Rick's behavior. She's had sex with, at the very least, Rick and Louis.
  • Good-Guy Bar: Rick's Cafe Americain.
  • Guile Hero: Rick.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Louis and Rick. A tad different and late in the latter's case.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Ilsa, according to Rick, Victor, and Louis.
    Louis: Ms. Lund, I was told you were the most beautiful woman who had ever come to Casablanca. That was a gross understatement.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Rick gets two. First when Ilsa leaves him in Paris, and again when she reappears in Casablanca.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Rick and Ilsa
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "I'm shocked — shocked! — to find that gambling is going on in here." "Your winnings, sir." "Oh, thank you very much."
      • In this case the juxtaposition is used to illustrate how flimsy a justification there is for shutting down Rick's Cafe. Compounding the hypocrisy is it's demonstrated the roulette wheel can be rigged, and briefly stated the 'winnings' he earns are a form of indirect bribery for turning a blind-eye to the illegal gambling in the first place.
    • A more subtle example is Rick's repeated claim that he "sticks his neck out for nobody," and then spends pretty much the entire movie sticking his neck out for one person or another.
    • And, once again, the "vultures everywhere" guy, who is, himself, one of the vultures he is warning you about.
    • Early in the movie, Renault tells Rick, "In Casablanca, I am the master of my fate." He is then immediately summoned to kowtow to Major Strasser. The realization that he is not truly the master of his fate, at least as long as the Nazis have anything to say about it, may be part of what motivates his Heel–Face Turn at the end of the movie.
  • Iconic Song Request: "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."
  • Implausible Deniability: Insisting that the roulette game isn't rigged. After Rick blatantly gives instructions to the spinner and the same number comes up twice in a row.
  • Insistent Terminology: Renault emphasizes Third Reich every time he says it. Lampshaded by Strasser.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: When the gambling activities are exposed at Rick's Café:
    Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
    Louis: I am shocked, shocked, to find that gambling is going on in here!
    Emile: [handing him a stack of bills] Your winnings, sir.
    Louis: Oh thank you very much. [shouting to casino patrons] Everybody out at once!
  • It's a Small World After All: Referenced but not played straight as there's no coincidence; everybody involved has a good reason for being in Casablanca, and in Casablanca, everybody comes to Rick's.
    Rick: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: A defining theme of the movie. Although this is justified more than the trope typically is. "If that plane takes off and you're not on it, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life." Also, he was talking about the work Laszlo was doing more than just being with him. Both men care more about her safety and happiness than which of them "wins".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold
    • Rick Blaine: "I stick my neck out for nobody." Sure you don't, Rick. Sure you don't.
    • Signore Ferrari, much lesser extent: "I am moved to make one more suggestion; why, I do not know, because it cannot possibly profit me, but, have you heard about Signor Ugarte and the letters of transit...?"
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Rick is a jaded and weary man who projects a selfish façade, but he's also a romantic with noble goals.
  • Lady of War: Ingrid Bergman seems to be a Damsel in Distress trying to be a Lady of War. More important, what she really is, is every soldier's favorite princess. Which might make this a successful attempt at inspiring the World War II version of Courtly Love from fans.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Rick asking "Are my eyes really brown?" It is a black and white film, after all. note 
    • When a drunken Rick asks Isla "Does it (the story about why she left him) have a wow finish?" the script itself was still undergoing massive rewrites. At the time the scene was filmed, nobody knew what the finish would be...
  • Leitmotif: Three:
    • Most famously, "As Time Goes By", which symbolizes the romance between Rick and Ilsa.
    • "La Marseillaise", which, in addition to representing Paris and France, also symbolizes La Résistance, and the Allied cause as a whole.
    • The opening of the Deutschlandlied (the German national anthem, here played in a minor key to make it sound more sinister) represents Nazi Germany, and Major Strasser in particular.
  • MacGuffin: The letters of transit are never used in the context of the movie, since before the plane leaves, Strasser is dead and Renault is sympathetic.
  • Manly Tears:
    • It's perfectly okay to tear up when Rick gets that letter at the train station.
    • It's also perfectly okay when Rick performs his noble speech at the end telling Ilsa to go with Laszlo.
  • May–December Romance: Ilsa is noticeably younger than Victor and significantly younger than Rick. Lampshaded in Rick’s repeated line to Ilsa (‘Here’s looking at you, kid’) and when Ilsa and Rick discuss in the Flashback what they were doing 10 years beforehand—Ilsa was getting her braces, Rick was looking for a job.
  • Meaningful Name: "Victor" means "Winner". See Messianic Archetype just below.
  • Messianic Archetype: Victor Laszlo, the one man who will single-handedly save the resistance.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Captain Heinz, who is Strasser's Aide.
  • Music for Courage: The French national anthem scene "La Marseillaise" is played as a beautiful answer to "Die Wacht am Rhein". A Nazi at the back in the shot where Maj. Strasser is conducting accidentally sings a bar of the Marseillaise, then looks embarrassed. Part of the reason that scene is so powerful is that many of the extras were actually European refugees. That woman you see crying during the song? She was French, hearing her country's anthem for the first time in years - not the character, the actress.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Laszlo tries to use this to scare the Nazis, but Strasser doesn't buy it.
  • Neutral No Longer: Rick in the finale, which Strasser had suspected might happen. Also Renault, which he didn't.
  • Nice Hat: Ferrari's fez.
    • Rick is wearing Bogie's iconic Fedora during the final scenes.
  • Noodle Incident: The reason Rick can't return to America is never disclosed in the film. The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s were in play and the writers apparently attempted to come up with the exact reason numerous times, but eventually decided to leave it to our imaginations, and hung a lampshade on it by having Renault bring up various theories (see Deadpan Snarker above) of either stealing money, seducing a Senator's wife, or killing a man. By the end of the movie, Rick does all three: cheats on his bet with Louis about Victor's escape, rekindles the love affair with Ilsa (even as she leaves with Victor), and shoots Major Strasser.
  • Not So Above It All: Rick tells Ilsa that he'd rather see the world burn, but the glibness subsides when he meets Lazlow in person.
  • Notable Original Music: The catchy little call-and-response ditty "Knock on Wood" was the only song written expressly for the film.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Several, but perhaps most noticeably Claude Rains as a Frenchman.
  • Old Flame: Ilsa and and Rick.
  • Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Ilsa in the Backstory doesn't so much forget she is married as think her husband is dead.
  • Persona Non Grata: Rick is an unwilling ex-pat from the United States, and just about everybody there is also displaced from their homeland for one reason or another providing several examples of The Exile and You Can't Go Home Again.
  • The Place: Casablanca is set in Casablanca.
  • Properly Paranoid: Karl, after the slightest contact with the "vultures everywhere" pickpocket, checks himself thoroughly for his valuables.
  • Punch Clock Hero: Rick tries to paint himself this way when discussing his previous anti-fascist activities, but Renault punctures this by pointing out the other side would have paid better.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ilsa gives Rick one when she’s in his office and refuses to give her the letter, calling him out on his choice to screw over the Resistance just for being snubbed. She quickly apologises, though.
  • La Résistance: Lazlo is a key player in European Resistance movements. By the end of the film, it's implied that Rick and Louis Renault join the French Resistance.
  • Romantic False Lead: An unusual twist: Either Victor or Rick could be considered a False Lead once you know the Backstory. In the DVD commentary, Roger Ebert points out that no matter with whom Ilsa leaves at the end, she's leaving with the wrong man. Ingrid Bergman claims that she consciously attempted to avoid this trope by presenting Ilsa as having to decide between two men she genuinely loves, each in his own way. In addition, the outcome wasn't written in the script while they were filming it and The Hays Code wouldn't have allowed the showing of a movie in which she left her husband for another man in that fashion.
  • Rousseau Was Right: See Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism.
  • Running Gag:
    • Ferrari swatting flies in his rathole club.
    • Vultures. Vultures everywhere.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum: The scene with a young Bulgarian couple trying to buy passage to Lisbon from Captain Renault. He wants either a very large sum of money or sex with the wife. In the end, Rick helps them raise the money cheating to let them win at roulette. In contrast to most examples of this trope, Captain Renault apparently always does keep his word and is willing to take the money if they do happen to have it. It's what lets him keep the 'Affable' in Affably Evil.
    Renault: I'll forgive you this time. But I'll be in tomorrow night with a breathtaking blonde, and it will make me very happy if she loses.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!:
    • Until Victor's arrival, the majority of Rick's clients.
    • If you presume that Rick is the Anthropomorphic Personification of the United States, it applies to him too. He tries to stay out of the conflict of the plot, despite his personal history with Ilsa, and run his business. Now consider that the film takes place in the first week of December, 1941.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Rick and Ilsa start talking, Sam immediately packs up the piano and slips away. In fact he flees the scene like the club has caught fire.
  • Sequel: After a fashion; it's the novel As Time Goes By, by Michael Walsh. It picks up exactly where the movie left off, sends Rick & co. off on a mission for British Intelligence, and delves more deeply into Rick's backstory. A clear-cut case of First Installment Wins.
  • Signature Line: Almost everyone knows the classic line, "Play it again, Sam." ...except the line never appears. It's simply "Play it, Sam." With the "again" later on. Hence the title of Woody Allen's film Play It Again, Sam, which has Allen's neurotic Jew being given advice on how to pick up ladies from the ghost of Bogart. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Rick starts out nursing this view. It doesn't last, though.
  • Skunk Stripe: Laszlo sports a small one.
  • Slasher Smile: Conrad Veidt (whose face was the original model for The Joker) has still got it.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Pretty much the point of the movie. "I suspect that under that cynical shell you are at heart a sentimentalist." Of course, Louis is right when he says that of Rick. And because Rousseau Was Right, it turns out to be true of everyone, even the local crime lord and corrupt, lecherous Louis himself. Except Strasser, of course.
  • Spiritual Antithesis: The Third Man uses similar characters and story elements to invert that sentiment right back into cynicism.
  • Stealth Insult: A beautiful one by Renault: "Major Strasser is one of the reasons the Third Reich enjoys the reputation it has today."
  • Stood Up: Rick at the train station at the end of the flashback.
  • Take That: When Colonel Heinz asks Rick if he could imagine Nazis being in London, Rick replies, "When you get there, ask me." At this time, both in universe and real life, Germany had already abandoned any plans to invade Britain.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Not insane or out-and-out evil like modern views, but not good, obviously.
  • Threshold Guardians: Rick, who has the letters of transit that Victor and Ilsa need to leave Casablanca. Rick is perhaps one of the few Threshold Guardians in fiction to be The Protagonist.
  • Title Drop: Here of the (unproduced) play it was adapted from. Captain Renault's "Everybody comes to Rick's". The word "Casablanca" is spoken many times, too. Justified, being the city in which the story is set.
  • Train-Station Goodbye:
    • The film that made this scene famous. Ironically, no one is there to say goodbye to Rick - just a note.
    • The movie then ends on an Airport Goodbye, the other famous scene.
  • Travel Montage: Right at the beginning, where it is used to show the refugee trail from Paris to Casablanca. It even starts with a shot of the globe and then zooms in.
  • Triang Relations: Number seven, initially.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The band contest. There was an actual Bar Brawl in a neutral Balkan establishment between a visiting American adventurer and some German visitors over whether German or Allied themed music would be played. It caused a political incident, but was well known enough for President Roosevelt(who thought the whole thing rather funny) to hear of it.
  • War Refugees: Most of the characters.
  • Weapons Understudies: Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca in a Fokker Super Universal instead of a Junkers Ju 52, which was the preferred transport aircraft of the Luftwaffe but obviously only available in Germany during the war.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: One of the other refugees has a very pointed reaction to Rick's callousness over letting Ugarte get dragged away.
    Refugee: When they come for me, I hope you'll be more of a help.
    Rick: I stick my neck out for nobody.
  • What You Are in the Dark: When it comes time to make a stand, Louis effectively condemns himself to death to do the right thing.
  • Wild Card: Renault agrees to do whatever will help maintain his cushy position. He leaks word of Laszlo's escape to Strasser, but once the Major is shot dead, Renault figures that his law enforcement career is up in smoke, too — and there's no point to turning Rick in.
  • Woman Scorned: Rick is a male example, refusing to give Ilsa and Victor the letter out of a grudge he holds for Ilsa for leaving him. She calls him out on it.
  • Wretched Hive: The city of Casablanca itself.
    "This place is full of vultures, vultures everywhere."
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Possibly Ferrari, behind the scenes. We know he wants Rick's Cafe and all of the talent Rick has running it. So, when Ilsa and Victor approach him, he offers: "I am moved to make one more suggestion; why, I do not know, because it cannot possibly profit me, but, have you heard about Signor Ugarte and the letters of transit...?" In the end, he gains Rick's Cafe and most of the talent running it, so it did profit him. He also has little to gain from the Nazis closely watching the black market.

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."