Casablanca ★★★★½

Another great classic of movie history I can remove from my list of shame. This movie is so iconic that even someone like me, who hasn´t seen it before, already knew the general story, the most important characters, and of course many of the quotes (“Here´s looking at you, kid”, “We´ll always have Paris”, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”). I am glad that I have finally seen it.
I love, how the movie combines a personal love story with a strong political stance against Nazi Germany (in 1942, no less).
The story is intriguing, the cinematography is great, and the characters are well written, layered, and perfectly portrayed by some of the best actors of that time. Especially Humphrey Bogart is fantastic as the nightclub owner and former political activist Rick, who tries to convince everyone (most of all himself) that he became a disillusioned cynic, even though deep down, he still is caring and idealistic. The female lead is played by Ingrid Bergman, probably one of the most beautiful, charming, and charismatic actresses of that era. The chemistry between Bogart and Bergman is legendary. “Casablanca” also has great supporting characters. Especially the police chief Louis Renault I found fascinating, since he does reprehensible things, but is also very funny and becomes one of the good guys in the end. I was also glad to see Peter Lorre (“M”) as Ugarte and Conrad Veidt as the villain Strasser. Veidt was actually one of the biggest stars of German cinema, but he had to flee from the Nazis, because he married a Jewish woman. Therefore, it is kind of a sick joke that in his later career he was frequently casted for Nazi roles.
The whole movie fascinated me, but it was the ending that really moved me emotionally. It is just bittersweet and fits the movie´s overarching theme of sacrifice so well. A great ending for a great movie.
“Casablanca” is an absolute classic and everyone, who loves movies, should see it.

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