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AFI's Number One Romance Film - Casablanca

In 1942, a groundbreaking new film was released. Starring two of the most popular stars of the era, it had an enormous budget, an intense plot, and a bold script. AFI recently voted it the best romantic film of all time. The film long ago became a classic and it's stars are legends.

Casablanca was a movie directed by Michael Curtiz, a Hungarian director who directed nearly two hundred films! The lead stars, the exquisite Ingrid Bergman and the incomparable Humphrey Bogart were two of the biggest actors of the decade, with more than 50 movies under their belts collectively. The script was an involved one with controversial topics and witty lines.

Under AFI's criteria, Casablanca was easily the best choice for the number one slot. It was an American made film, with an English speaking cast, and the correct length and format. The love story between the two main characters was the heart of the movie and the movie continues to touch modern day audiences while it stands as legendary film making.

Many famous lines from the film are still used today:
"Here's lookin' at you, kid."
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
"Play it Sam, play 'As Time Goes By'"
"Round up the usual suspects."
...and of course, the popular "We'll always have Paris."

Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a stoic character. Voted one of the top 50 heroes of cinema, this character is easy to like and respect. A former freedom defender during World War II, he is now the owner of the hottest bar in the city. When involved with the war, he loved a beautiful woman who abruptly left him, which has left him a bit jaded and bitter. Unexpectedly, Blaine ends up in the middle of an international fiasco, when a friend gives him some important documents to hold temporarily. The documents are transit papers to allow someone to safely enter the United States from Europe, which was difficult to do during the war. Before the documents can be sold to the appropriate party, Blaine's friend is arrested and detained, leaving Blaine with the papers.

The man who the papers were intended for is a European Resistance leader and must now hope that Blaine will sell him the documents to permit his escape. There is danger in that hope, because the leader is married to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), Rick Blaine's long-lost love. Because of his broken heart and danger of his own arrest, Blaine must decide if he still loves Ilsa, and if he loves her enough to send her and her new love to freedom.

AFI chose well when selecting Casablanca as one of it's top 100 romance films. This is a love story from the heart, a story of choosing what's best for the one you love, even if it isn't what you want.

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