Casablanca

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

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 39 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language
Consumerism
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

Adult Written byjesusfreek April 9, 2008
Adult Written byAlphaZK93 January 10, 2011

One of the best movies ever created.

No concerns. Content wise, I think it'd be fine for most 8 year olds, but they probably wouldn't get the whole premise and backdrop of the film. Plus... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAceJournalist May 21, 2011

Best Movie Ever!

This is my favorite movie! smoking, drinking, and violence (as mentioned above) are present, but not an issue for older kids (CSI is a lot worse).
Kid, 11 years old June 15, 2010

Great

Great movie, it's one of the classics!!!! i think anybody could see it, and if you see it in black and white, you can't really see the smoking!=.

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

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

For kids who love romance

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