How is it possible that one of film history’s most famous masterpieces only made #46 on the Spy 100 list? Perhaps Casablanca (1942) isn’t a “pure” enough spy film? Whatever the justification, I think it’s wrong: this is a great, great film that deserves to be ranked much higher. It’s got great, well defined characters, sparkling dialogue, perfect music, memorable scenes galore, and an intelligent web of wartime intrigue coloring its interactions.
Rereading my original review, I’m finding I don’t have much to add — other than that it’s even more stirring on a second viewing, particularly the scene where the heroic Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) inspires the patrons of Rick’s to a rousing rendition of Le Marseillais, and of course the brilliant final scene. This is Bogart and Bergman at their best, a great romantic war-time spy film that I can’t recommend strongly enough.
It also features a number of supporting actors who escaped Nazi Germany in real life.
I didn’t know that! Yeah, from our present vantage it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that so many WWII movies were made even as the war was still raging…I’m always a little surprised when it occurs to me.