YMMV / Casablanca

  • Adaptation Displacement: Sort of. Casablanca was adapted from a stage play called Everybody Comes to Rick's, which took place entirely in the cafe and ended with Rick and Ilsa running away together, though few people know this. They could be forgiven for not knowing, however, as the play was never actually produced.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The movie has a lot of ambiguities, and thus has a lot of this trope.
    • Ilsa. The classic interpretation is that Ilsa is truly helpless to her feelings for Rick, and his words to Victor are a noble gesture to put his romantic rival's mind at ease and make sure they'll be happy together. However, Ilsa tries everything from reason to begging to threatening Rick with death in order to get those papers for Victor before she kisses him and finally melts his reserve. And remember, this woman has been sticking with Victor through some truly hairy situations, the willing and loyal accomplice to the most wanted spy in Nazi-occupied territories. Whatever feelings she may still have for Rick, it's no stretch to imagine that she's faking that helpless damsel act, and willing to stay with Rick if it that's her only means of getting her husband to safety once and for all.
      • More evidence: Ferrari offers them one letter of transit, and she never says, "Honey, you're the one they're after; take this one and get out to continue your work." She doesn't float the idea of staying behind until she's tried everything else she can think of. Also, she hears a singer with a familiar voice, is told that his name is Sam and that he came there from Paris with Rick, and she's still asking who Rick is. Doesn't exactly sound like she's been pining for him, although he stipulates that the one letter of transit would only work for Ilsa.
      • Basically Ilsa's got two totally awesome guys wrapped around her little finger here and would be perfectly happy to stay with either one if only she can be sure the other will be safe.
    • Many viewers and even some critics are unsure about Captain Renault's sexuality. The movie even drops a few hints that he's into men. Is he pretending to obsess over women because he's a closeted homosexual? Is he simply a bisexual who's only open about what he does with women because it's the 1940s? Or is he just French?
      • Some viewers think his hanging around Rick all the time and Rick's comment when Renault brings his latest victim and her husband suggests his sights are wider than first thought, and that Rick knows it.
        Rick: Renault's getting broad-minded.
      • And then, at the end of the film, Renault and Rick walk off into the fog together, talking about their new and beautiful friendship.
    • Ugarte. A sociopath who killed, stole and sold illegal visas for personal gain, who Rick genuinely couldn't care less about? Or a genuine friend of Rick's, just trying to get by, who had some understandable reasons not to feel bad about killing Nazis, who Rick is secretly sorry he lost? Not surprisingly, Peter Lorre fans tend to gravitate towards the latter.
      • And the Noodle Incident that leads to the couriers being murdered. Did Ugarte kill them for the letters? For some other reason? Or did he just pick over their bodies after someone else killed them?
    • The ethnicities of the refugees is left ambiguous. Some reviews complain about the lack of Jewish characters in a movie about Holocaust refugees, while others simply assume that Jan and Annina Brandel are Jews. Some think of Ugarte as Jewish because his actor was. Karl is German and is working against the Nazis so many fans of the movie believe him to be Jewish. Fanfic writers have fun getting creative with OCs and minor canon characters' backstories for being in Casablanca. Of course it's also important to remember at the time of the film's release, the Holocaust was not widely known and at any rate, the Endloesung proper had only just commenced a few months earlier. What reports were trickling out from Nazi-occupied Europe were not given enough credence due to heavily exaggerated atrocity stories about the Germans circulated during World War I making media gatekeepers wonder if this was another case of Crying Wolf.
      • It's also important to remember that while the horrors of Holocaust were still almost unknown, the crude anti-Semitism of Nazis as well as massive Jewish emigration from Germany had been no secret since long before the start of WWII, so the concept of Jews fleeing German-occupied Europe (if from persecution rather than extermination) was perfectly natural for the film-makers and audiences alike.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Fail is putting it too strongly, but a big part of the movie's legend is how no one working on it thought they were making anything special and saw it as simply one more product of the studio grind. They were caught quite off guard by its gaining the reputation of one of the greatest movies in history.
  • Award Snub: Considering the movie did win Best Picture and Best Director awards, it's not a major complaint. But Humphrey Bogart - playing the iconic role of Rick - lost out Best Actor to Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine, Claude Rains lost Best Supporting Actor to Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier, and Ingrid Bergman wasn't even nominated for Best Actress (instead being cited for her work in For Whom the Bell Tolls).
  • Awesome Music: At least twice...
    • When Victor Laszlo leads the crowd in Rick's in La Marseillaise to drown out the Nazis' "Die Wacht am Rhein". Doubles as a Moment of Awesome for Victor.
    • Start humming it people. "You must remember this / A kiss is still a kiss / A sigh is just a sigh..."
  • Director Displacement: Michael Curtiz won the Academy Award for Best Director, but that's about all the acclaim he's ever gotten for this movie. Film historians and critics usually credit the producer, Hal B. Wallis, and the various writers (Julius and Philip Epstein, Howard Koch, and the uncredited Casey Robinson) for the creative direction of the film. At times Curtiz has been called a "journeyman hack" or a "hired gun". The fiasco of one of his earlier movies, "Noah's Ark" (during which three extras were killed due directly to Curtiz's irresponsibility), no doubt also contributes to critics' reluctance to tie him to "the Greatest Movie Ever Made." His overall career was a success, however: He directed 173 films, starting in 1912, and didn't miss a year until his death in the early 1960s. Many are unremarkable, but there are at least a dozen that are still well-regarded.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: With so many famous actors all over the cast, this is likely inevitable. (For instance, Peter Lorre fans will easily say their favorite character is Ugarte, despite his appearing in only two scenes.)
  • Fridge Brilliance:
    • The average person can probably figure out that the movie is a metaphor for America joining the War. It's re-examining little details in the movie where the brilliance kicks in. Case in point; the famous scene where Rick grouses that, over in America, people are "asleep." He means it both literally, due to time differences, and metaphorically, due to their unwillingness to oppose Axis tyranny and determination to stay out of the conflict.
    • Rick being America personified adds new meaning to the last thing Ilsa says to him: "God bless you." ("God bless America.")
    • One for Peter Lorre fans. Ugarte fires four shots while trying to escape the police. Most handguns (in movies at least) contain six bullets. He already used two bullets on the two Nazi couriers.
    • The "La Marseillaise" scene becomes even more brilliant if you know that "Die Wacht am Rhein", the song the German officers were singing, had origins rooted in the historical French-German enmity.
  • Genius Bonus: Bogart's eyes are brown - not that viewers could tell that, since Bogart had appeared only in black and white films until that point.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • "It's December 1941 and all of America is asleep..." From the date on the marker Rick signs at the very beginning, the movie runs from December 2 to December 5, and given that all goes well, Victor will arrive in the US on December 7, 1941, just in time for America to "wake up".
    • Victor's defiant line "Even Nazis can't kill that fast." This was written before the general public knew at the time of the millions of Jews in Nazi concentration camps being killed at an unprecedented speed via methods like gas chambers.
    • Peter Lorre's Ugarte screaming for Rick to "Hide me!" as he is about to be apprehended (and killed) by the Nazis. Lorre was a Jewish actor born in Austria, who worked in Germany until the Nazis came to power. He ended up departing for France and later to America.
    • Marcel Dalio plays the roulette table minder. His most famous role outside of Casablanca was as a Jewish businessman drafted in the French army in World War I in The Grand Illusion and shortly before his exile from France, as an ineffectual French noble in The Rules of the Game. Combined with the repeated hints that most of Rick's staff have fallen very far from their formal social station, it can be a little discomforting.note 
    • Although the war ended with both France and Norway liberated from the Nazis, Victor Laszlo's homeland of Czechoslovakia sadly traded one occupying power for another - trapped on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain until the Velvet Revolution of 1989, an event Laszlo might not even live to see (although the actor who played him, Paul Henreid, lived until 1992). What's even more tragic is that Czechoslovakia did attempt to break free of the Communist yoke in the Prague Spring of 1968, only for the Warsaw Pact to brutally put it down without any reprisals from the West, essentially the anti-World War II in that regard (although it was instrumental in finally turning most Western Communist parties against the totalitarian Soviet Union once and for all).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Rick's advice to Major Strasser: "There are parts of New York I'd advise you not to try and invade." In two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise, the Nazis do invade New York, and the resistance is mostly made up of all the gangs and mobsters banding together.
    • This might also have been an in-joke on Warner Brothers' part—the previous year, Bogart had been playing a New York gangster fighting a group of Nazis led by Veidt in All Through the Night.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Louis is often interpreted as Ambiguously Gay, despite his habit of pulling the Scarpia Ultimatum on women. Even Roger Ebert called him "subtly homosexual" in his review of the film - apparently he has never heard of bisexuals and it doesn't occur to him Renault might just be In Touch with His Feminine Side.
    • Ebert would later amend his view slightly, stating in his 2007 review of The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford that he thinks Renault "plays for both teams".
    • Just about every male character in the movie has at least one Ho Yay moment with Rick.
      Renault: Rick is the kind of man that... well, if I were a woman, and I were not around, I should be in love with Rick.
    • Honorable Mention must also go to Ugarte, who really loves to invade Rick's personal space. Of course, this is just part of Peter Lorre's trademark style of acting. Ugarte may not come across as exactly "gay" or "bisexual" so much as simply an eccentric who will half-consciously make love to anything that gets too close. (His cigarette got the most action.) Although...
      Rick:: First they grab Ugarte then she walks in. One in, one out...
      • ...almost seems to imply Rick had the same kind of relationship with Ugarte that he had with Ilsa.
    • Strasser seems to be checking Renault out several times during the movie. Right after their conversation about bumbling Americans and Germans, Strasser says "As for Laszlo, we want him watched twenty-four hours a day" and blatantly eyes Renault's crotch and licks his lips before taking a puff off his cigarette. Hard to say whether that's Strasser checking Renault out or Veidt checking Rains out, though.
  • Homegrown Hero: It's set in the titular Moroccan city during World War II, where refugees from all of Europe gather to escape Those Wacky Nazis - and the main character is the American expatriate who runs the local nightclub.
  • Idiot Plot: A huge deal of needless drama could’ve been solved had Rick had the good sense to talk to Ilsa like an adult about why she’d left.
  • It Was His Sled: The plane scene and "We'll always have Paris" is... uh... kinda obvious. It's even the iconic scene shown at Disney's Hollywood Studios for its famous movies tour.
  • Memetic Mutation: A good chunk of lines from the film have become considerably memorable. Notable is "Play it again, Sam", but they don't say these words exactly.
    • "This looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
    • "I am shocked, SHOCKED to find that (insert not-so-shocking event)."
    • "Round up the usual suspects"... which inspired The Usual Suspects.
    • "Here's looking at you, kid."
    • "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
    • "Vultures, vultures everywhere!"
    • "The lives of two people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Hell, pretty much that entire monologue.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: There's a contingent of movie fans and critics - viewing the plot as contrived and the production values rather common - who cannot comprehend the sheer love people have for this film when it comes to the performances and witty banter. Granted, a lot of romantic thrillers post-Casablanca tried to repeat the same script but could never recapture the spark of this film.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The public's consensus regarding the 1980s colorized version.
    Stephen Bogart (Humphrey's son): ...if you're going to colorize Casablanca, why not put arms on the Venus de Milo?
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In the first scene inside Rick's, Sam is singing "Shine".
    • Similarly, Ilsa referring to the adult Sam as a "boy."
    • Along with a touch of Fair for Its Day — Rick clearly respects Sam, and it's heavily implied that Sam stays with Rick out of genuine concern for Rick rather than money or foolish loyalty.
    • In the scene where Rick sells the Cafe to Ferrari. To his credit, he makes sure that Sam gets a decent cut of the profits, but they way they talk about him makes it sound like Rick is selling Sam as part of the Cafe.
      • Then again, he is on staff along with the others. Arguably lampshaded near the beginning of the film in the scene where Ferrari tried to "buy" Sam; Rick responded with "I'm not in the business of selling people".
    • Rick having to remind Sascha to escort the drunk woman home and then come right back. Sascha's disappointed "Yes, boss" implies that he'd been hoping to take advantage of the situation.
    • Even back in the day, Renault's use of the Scarpia Ultimatum was supposed to come across as scummy and rotten. But given his charming, likable demeanour and apparently sincere Heel–Face Turn by the end of the film, it's apparent that nearly a century's worth of civil rights and feminism have made it even more scummy than that.
  • Values Resonance: Despite how much society has changed in the seven decades since this film was released, there are still millions of refugees in The New '10s trying to find their way to freedom in more peaceful lands. Many of them come from lands that aren't that far from Casablanca.
    Noah Isenberg: "Nearly all of the some seventy-five actors and actresses cast in Casablanca were immigrants. Among the fourteen who earned a screen credit, only three were born in the United States: Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson, and Joy Page, Jack Warner’s stepdaughter, who plays the Bulgarian refugee Annina Brandel. At the studio, Stage 8, where Rick’s Café was assembled, was known as International House...Hailing from more than thirty different nations, the majority of refugee actors in the film served merely as day players, performing small parts—generally either as Nazis or as refugees fleeing the Nazis—most without significant dialogue. Among them, however, were many distinguished European artists with illustrious pasts on stage and screen."
  • Watch It for the Meme: Watch it for any of the most famous lines; possibly even watch it for the Beam Me Up, Scotty!, as many people now realize that it isn't "Play it again, Sam." In fact, the majority of this movie's most famous lines are in the end scene, causing it to practically overdose on Memetic Mutation in the last ten minutes or so.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Casablanca