A bonafide classic!!!!!
If ever a film deserved to be considered a classic then this is it, even if you haven't seen it before you'll recognise much of the dialogue; it is probably the most quoted, and misquoted, film of all time. Humphrey Bogart is excellent in this career defining role as bar owner Rick Blaine who has come into possession of two "letters of transit" which guarantee the holders unhindered passage out of Casablanca. He has these as Ugarte, the man who asked him to look after them, was captured by the Vichy French police before he could get them back. Ugarte had been planning to sell the documents to Victor Laszlo, a Czech nationalist who is fleeing from Nazi occupied Europe to the United States via neutral Portugal. Things are complicated by the fact that Laszlo's wife Ilsa had a relationship with Rick before the fall of Paris and he never really got over her. Right up until the end we don't know what Rick will do, perhaps he will let Victor and Ilsa have the letters, perhaps he will let Victor have them on condition that Ilsa stays with him or perhaps he will betray Victor and leave Casablanca himself with Ilsa. Bogart isn't the only great performance; Ingrid Bergman is fantastic as Ilsa, there is a real chemistry between her and Bogart, Claude Rains is great as the French policeman who's loyalty is likely to change depending on who he thinks is likely to be the most use to him and Paul Henreid's restrained performance as Victor Laszlo is faultless too. It is hard to say what genre this film is, it is one of the great romances, it is also a war film, a thriller and even has some subtle comedy moments. Don't be put off by the film's age, the fact that it is in black and white or that it has a U certificate, this film is a must see. Whatever your tastes you owe it to yourself to watch this at least once, although I suspect few people will only want to watch it just once.