Casablanca

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(1942, directed by Michael Curtiz)

- inducted 2013 -

“Tell people you love movies, and they'll often immediately ask you that impossible question: ‘so what's your favorite movie?’ You can stammer and equivocate all you like, but in the end, they just want to hear one title. That title, for me, is almost always Casablanca.

“I know that it can be dismissed as an obvious choice, or worse: a dull one. Casablanca doesn't play any major role in the history of cinema. It didn't introduce any new techniques or signify a breakthrough of some kind. It's not by some fancy auteur – though I would argue that Curtiz is generally underrated as a director.

“What it is, however, is a movie full of pure pleasure, not necessarily my absolute favorite at any time but a film I can watch over and over and enjoy every single time. It may not have been revolutionary, but it was expertly crafted in one of the most successful movie factories that ever existed. And then, due to some unmeasurable, impossible to replicate movie magic, every single element came together perfectly. The actors are all perfect for their parts. Every line (except maybe for the one about cannon fire) lands. And the ending is one of the most memorable ones ever put on film.

“Yes, Casablanca is corny. But as one of its screen writers, Julius Epstein, remarked: ‘When corn works, there's nothing better.’ Corn has never worked better than it did in Casablanca.”

~ Hedwig van Driel

Principal cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenestreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine Lebeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinskey, Curt Bois
Screenplay by Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, with uncredited contributions by Casey Robinson
Based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Murray Bennett and Joan Alison
Executive producer: Jack L. Warner
Director of photography: Arthur Edeson
Art direction by Curt Jules Weyl
Set decoration by George James Hopkins
Gowns by Orry-Kelly
Film editing by Owen Marks
Original music by Max Steiner
Songs by M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl
Makeup by Perc Westmore
Sound by Francis J. Scheid
Special effects by Lawrence W. Butler and Willard Van Enger
Produced by Hal B. Wallis (uncredited)

USA
Duration: 102 minutes
Languages: English, French, German, Italian
Filmed in black and white
Sound mix: Mono (RCA Sound System)
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Produced and released in USA by Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Premiered in New York City, NY on 26 November 1942

Awards and honors:
- National Film Registry selection, 1989
- Selected as one of Roger Ebert’s “Great Movies,” 15 September 1996
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Picture (won)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Director, Michael Curtiz (won)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Writing, Screenplay (won)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Humphrey Bogart (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Claude Rains (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Cinematography, Black and White (nominated)
- Academy Awards (USA), 1943: Best Film Editing (nominated)
- NYFCC Award, New York Film Critics Circle, 1942: Best Actor, Humphrey Bogart (2nd place)
- National Board of Review: one of the Top Ten films of 1943