Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Casablanca Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Brief violence and lots of tension in top-notch classic.
  • NR
  • 1942
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 47 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes of the movie include integrity and courage. This is the classic film about people of conscience sacrificing personal happiness for the greater good. Further, in the fight against corruption, cynicism, and evil, a few righteous and courageous people can help to change the course of history.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In this film both the hero and heroine are characters of great nobility. They are honorable, choose to do the right thing, and, in the process, help defeat their Nazi enemies. They are unselfish, brave, and highly moral. An African-American entertainer is depicted as a close friend of the hero: the two have drinks together and are on equal footing.


Opening sequence includes French police rounding up citizens and refugees for interrogation after the murder of a Nazi officer. People look frightened as uniformed officials accost them. One resistance fighter caught by the police makes a run for it and is shot, falls to the ground, lifeless. A second shoot-out results in the capture of another Moroccan resident, who dies later off-camera. In the final suspense sequence, a despicable Nazi military officer is shot and killed.


Several romantic kisses are shared by a couple very much in love. Some dialogue implies that a high-ranking member of the police asks refugees for sexual favors in return for exit visas.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The central setting for this story is a nightclub. Alcoholic beverages are poured and consumed continuously, with some characters showing signs of intoxication. The hero is seen alone in his home, nursing his heartbreak by getting very drunk. Smoking is pervasive throughout as was usual and acceptable in the early 1940s when the action takes place.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the iconic love story of Casablanca, with its heroic characters, rousing message, and beautiful black-and-white production values, should appeal to teens, as well as adults. Younger viewers will get more out of the film with some historical context. There are two sequences during which characters are shot and killed. Police are seen rounding up frightened citizens and refugees. Characters drink (sometimes to excess) and smoke throughout.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrigidArmbrust May 7, 2021
Parent Written byjudy L. June 24, 2019

even 17 year old boy liked it

There's some light violence, infidelity, and it's implied that a policeman uses power to get sex. It's a kissing movie. But my picky 17 year ol... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTeddyBearR February 16, 2021

Good, But did not really get it.

I think it's good if you love old movies, That's personally the only reason I watched it. And I think the film itself is ok but I did not really pick... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLukeCon November 16, 2020

A little slow, but overall a rousing war-romance story

Casablanca doesn't instantly pick up, but when it does, it knows how to do it. Michael Curtiz crafts an at first slow but more enjoyable story as the film... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set in French-controlled Casablanca in the early part of WWII, CASABLANCA follows hardboiled American nightclub owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart), who agrees to hide some stolen (and highly coveted) transit letters, which are used to by refugees to leave the country and escape from the Nazis. Police Captain Renault (Claude Rains) and Nazi Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) are tipped off that Rick might have the letters, and they put the pressure on him. Strasser is also hunting escaped Czech resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), who arrives at Rick's with Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). Rick and Ilsa have a history, and Rick is still deeply angry at the stunning beauty. What ensues is a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, narrow escapes, and the most memorable airport tarmac scene in film history.

Is it any good?

This is probably the most famous Hollywood movie of all time, and for good reason. Certainly the most quoted, and the most frequently cited as an all-time favorite, Casablanca won Best Picture, Director, and Writer awards at the 1943 Oscar ceremony. The definitive rebuttal to notions of the "auteur" (one author) in film, the romantic drama was put together in pieces by many different sources, with script pages completed just moments before the cameras rolled. The performances by Bogart and Bergman are so subtle and complex because the actors themselves had no idea how it was going to end.

Almost every frame of the movie is an icon, and it has been endlessly copied and parodied. The Woody Allen movie Play It Again, Sam (rated PG, but not for kids as the entire plot is about seduction) is an affectionate tribute to Casablanca and other Bogart movies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a movie like Casablanca stand the test of time. Is it the characters? The themes of good and evil? The unforgettable dialogue? Which contemporary movies do you think will last?

  • How does the historical context affect the film? In what ways does the backdrop of WWII influence the characters and their actions?

  • How do the characters in Casablanca demonstrate integrity and courage? Why are these important character traits?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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