Rick’s Cafe is a booming place. With Casablanca being the main hub of transit between Africa and American, Rick’s making it pretty good on the financial side too. Things get a little sticky however, when a regular brings in some letters of transit to sell on the illegal side. The authorities get involves, and Rick finds himself in the middle of a dispute which could get his business shut down, or worse.
Couple this with having to face the return of a long lost love of his, and Rick has his work in surviving cut out for him everywhere he looks. All he wants- or says he wants, is to get back to America. So the questions is, how will he do it?
Things I Liked
Rick is Cynical man on the outside, but has a heart of a servant on the inside. He uses his business to secretly help people via financial or connections means. We see Rick over and over just handing money to people who need it. This doesn’t mean however, he is a pushover. No, he is a very confident and hard man against those who try to manipulate or deceive him. He says he doesn’t sick his neck out for nobody, but in truth, he does do everyday.
In addition to his grumpy giving spirit, Rick refuses to be taken in again by Isla. We learn she left him long ago with no goodbyes or anything. She tries to win him back so that she and her fiancé can go back to America, but Rick has none of it.
The film also makes some German soldiers out to be quite human and does not make them all crazy and terrible ones like we read of in the prison camps from WWII. I enjoyed seeing that not all Germans were terrible evil in their actions throughout the war, and some in fact did not like the leader of the war just as much as America, or Britain.
There is no profanity whatsoever. We also see Rick drunk- and then the nevegative consequences from becoming so.
Things I Didn’t Like
We learn later in the film Rick and Isla were involved in a romantic affair. We see them kiss a few times.
A few men are shot in the film for various reasons I can’t say without spoiling the plot. There is no blood or stains.
Rick: Don’t you sometimes wonder if it’s worth all this? I mean what you’re fighting for.
Laszlo: You might as well question why we breathe. If we stop breathing, we’ll die. If we stop fighting our enemies, the world will die.
Rick: Well, what of it? It’ll be out of its misery.
Laszlo: You know how you sound, Mr. Blaine? Like a man who’s trying to convince himself of something he doesn’t believe in his heart.
Casablanca is a brilliantly clean, well acted, and provides thought provoking message which addresses many minor moral and philosophical questions. At the base of it all, is the man Rick. As we see in the above quote, Rick says doesn’t want to care about life, about others, or about fighting evil. But he always takes steps to help or deny the evil which would do others harm. Where does this drive come from? It never tells us.
Perhaps the greatest theme dwelt is that of lying. Many people lie for various reasons, but fascinatingly enough, most do so not out of selfishness, but out of service to another. This brings up an interesting point like we note from the story of Rahab. That is, when is it a sin to lie? The movie shows us deception for self will result in ruin, but deception to save others? Not so much. Again, a clear answer is never given as to what is exactly correct.
What Casablanca does give us, is a film showing the benefits of living a life for others, and using what you have to aid people in need, is much more rewarding than operating solely to make money. That the selfish and greedy will meet undesirable ends. And that forgiveness and moving on is not hard, but a valuable thing. For these reasons Casablanca is a classic which is not only philosophically intriguing and worth musing upon. But also an excellent story of personal sacrifice seen through an unusual means and an uncommon character.