Top 8 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Casablanca’

CASABLANCA, from left: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman on 1947 Belgain poster art, 1947.
Everett Collection

“Here’s looking at you, kid.” Even if you haven’t seen the classic 1942 romantic drama Casablanca, you probably know that line, which Rick (Humphrey Bogart) says to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) twice during the film, once during a flashback recounting the beginning of their relationship and again, more famously, at the end when he bids her farewell. But did you know that Bogart improvised the line and also said it in an earlier film of his, 1934’s Midnight?

Here are seven other things you (probably) didn’t know about Casablanca.

There was almost a spin-off

HUSBANDS, John Cassavetes, writer and director, 1970

Everett Collection

Warner Bros. purchased the rights to a never-produced play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s, which was adapted into the film, for a then-record $20,000. Over the years, Murray Burnett, one of the play’s cowriters, was allegedly approached by many filmmakers who wanted to buy the rights to a sequel (including director John Cassavetes). He turned them all down.

Came out early to tie in with world events

Public domain Casablanca ad


Real-world events influenced the release date, twice. It was originally supposed to hit theaters in early 1943, but the film premiered at the Hollywood Theatre in New York City on Nov. 26, 1942. The change was made in order to capitalize on the Allied invasion of North Africa and the capture of Casablanca. The film then went into wide release on Jan. 23, 1943, again to coincide with reality, this time the Casablanca Conference, a meeting between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The director changed his name

Director Michael Curtiz (right) receives Oscar for directing CASABLANCA, 1943

Everett Collection

Director Michael Curtiz was born Manó Kertész Kaminer. He was a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant who came to the United States in 1926, and he had family members who were refugees from Nazi Europe. Curtiz changed his name after arriving in the U.S.

Hell was a naughty word

The screenplay was heavily censored, particularly the use of the word “hell.” This was partly due to the uproar caused by Clark Gable saying “damn” in Gone With the Wind a few years earlier. Cowriter Julius Epstein said they wrote about 50 “hells,” expecting to get away with 25, but in the end very few made it into the final cut.

Ingrid was taller

CASABLANCA, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, 1942

Everett Collection

Height was a serious issue during filming. Specifically, the fact that Bergman was about 2 inches taller than Bogart. Curtiz had the actor stand on blocks or sit on cushions to make it look like he was taller than his costar.

Not filmed in Casablanca

CASABLANCA, Michael Curtiz directs Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman filming on set, 1942

Everett Collection

Casablanca is actually played by Burbank, California. Other than the opening scene, which was shot at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys, California, the entire movie was filmed at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, including the final farewell tarmac scene.

Still very popular

Audiences apparently never tire of looking at Casablanca. There have been more revival screenings of the film than any other movie in history.

Casablanca is streaming on MAX

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February 2022

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