Casablanca is a romantic drama about an American expatriate who meets a former lover in Morocco during the early days of World War II. 

Rick is a world weary cynic, who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the war. It’s a place where dirty deals are made and everything is for sale, and Rick specialises in helping people escape by getting false ID papers. When his former lover turns up, desperate for his help, Rick’s is forced to make some honourable and dishonourable decisions. Can he bring himself to help Elsa save her fugitive husband’s life?

About the film

Casablanca was critically acclaimed on its first release, and in the 1944 Oscars it won best Picture, Director and Screenplay, and was nominated for Best Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography (black and white), Editing, and Musical Score.

It is black and white and famous for the song As Time Goes By sung by performer Dooley Wilson. Lauded for its portrayal of a cynical, often criminal, underbelly in an outpost during the Second World War, the film is frequently voted into critics lists of the best films ever made. The cast includes Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Dooley Wilson. All known versions of this work passed uncut. The film was banned in Ireland, during World War 2, as at that point Ireland was neutral and censors there felt that the film was too partisan, and favoured the allies over the German forces.

Information about the film

We provide information to accompany all our classification decisions. Casablanca has always been classified U. The film contains some mild violence. Our ratings info notes there are moments of mild violence when characters are shot and fall to the ground, but this is all undetailed without any sight of blood or injury detail. There are frequent scenes of smoking.

Discussion points
  • Did you enjoy the film? How did the film make you feel? Were there any bits of the story that you didn't like? Who was your favourite character?
  • Did you learn anything from the film? If so, what?
  • Do you think there are any true heroes or villains in the film? How does the film blur the lines?
  • Do you agree with Rick’s choice at the end? And what about Elsa? Do you think they did the right thing?
  • The film was made in the 1940s. Do you think any of its themes are still relevant today?
  • What did you think about the film's depiction of relationships - both romantic relationships but also friendships? In what ways do the characters learn and grow?
  • Many characters in the film hold prejudices against others. What kind of prejudices do you think are highlighted in the film?
  • The films uses several flashbacks to give us better idea of the characters, their pasts, and their motivations. Have you seen other films which have used this technique? Did you think it was effective?
  • The film is in black and white. Did that distract you? Have you seen other black and white films before?
  • Humphrey Bogart was a very influential star when the film was made. He was well-known for playing sometimes unlikeable characters. How does the filmmaker make you root for Rick even though he is flawed?