37. “Casablanca”, Michael Curtiz (1942)

Part of The 100 Greatest Movies I’ve Ever Seen list.

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Casablanca

dir. Michael Curtiz scr. Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison cin. Arthur Edeson with Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre

In 100 words: An accidental masterpiece that transcended the bounds of its Hollywood studio production, Casablanca remains one of the greatest and most heartbreaking love stories ever told set in the most desperate times of world history. The script keeps everything light, despite the grim subject, with hilarious dialogue and some contrived plot that was never meant to be taken too seriously anyway. But Curtiz’s direction of the movie is stunning: the craft is undeniably handsome, and the mélange of European and American actors are all so good. Bergman and Bogart’s romance was so palpable, the anguish so deep, nothing short of iconic.

Other Movies for Context: Ranks alongside The GodfatherGone with the Wind, and The Wizard of Oz as the most iconic of American cinema. Michael Curtiz directed two other movies that I’ve seen that are stellar: Angels with Dirty Faces with the always amazing James Cagney and Mildred Pierce, the melodrama that finally won Joan Crawford an Oscar.

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