Casablanca (1942) is an American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Set during World War II, it focuses on a man torn between, in the words of one character, love and virtue. He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her and her Resistance leader husband escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.
Although it was an A-list movie, with established stars and first-rate writers—Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch received credit for the screenplay—no one involved with its production expected Casablanca to be anything out of the ordinary; it was just one of dozens of pictures being churned out by Hollywood every year. The film was a solid, if unspectacular, success in its initial run, rushed into release to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier. Yet, despite a changing assortment of screenwriters frantically adapting an unstaged play and barely keeping ahead of production, and Bogart attempting his first romantic lead role, Casablanca won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Its characters, dialogue, and music have become iconic, and Casablanca has grown in popularity to the point that it now consistently ranks near the top of lists of the greatest films of all time.
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a bitter, cynical American expatriate in Casablanca. He owns and runs "Rick's Café Américain", an upscale nightclub and gambling den that attracts a mixed clientèle of Vichy French and Nazi officials, refugees and thieves. Although Rick professes to be neutral in all matters, it is later revealed that he had run guns to Ethiopia to combat the 1935 Italian invasion, and fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War against Francisco Franco's Nationalists.