100 Movies You Need to See Before You Die

Casablanca (1942)

Country: USA
Director: Michael Curtiz
Screenwriters: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid

Casabla—blah, blah, blah, right? Wrong! Sure the title's been referenced so much by precious film geeks that you hardly have the patience to give it a chance. But honestly, there are two very valid reason to watch: it's really fucking good, and legitimately important.

Set in Vichy-controlled Casablanca, Morocco, during World War II, the film focuses on American expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) as he struggles between maintaining his cafe (where he employs refugees who've escaped the Nazi regime) and the reemergence of his unrequited love Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), who is now married to the same type of man Blaine sought to protect.

The film dropped at the perfect moment in history: on November 26, 1942, to coincide with the Allied invasion of North Africa and the capture of Casablanca. Hence, the reason Tom Hanks compared the 2008 Iraq War film The Hurt Locker to Casablanca when presenting the newer movie with its own Best Picture Oscar. —TA

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