10 Memorable Movie Quotes From 'Casablanca'


Set during World War II, the producers of "Casablanca" (1942) could not have known that the film would become a classic. But all these years later, the story of a man (Rick) and a woman (Ilsa) sacrificing their love to support a higher purpose (defeating the Nazis) is a timeless one. 

"Casablanca" won three Academy Awards for best picture, director, and screenplay. It is still one of the most popular films of all time, ranked at the top of many movie critic lists. The movie and its theme song As Time Goes By have become pop culture icons.

The film takes place in Casablanca, with most of the action at a tavern called "Rick's." It's named for the hero of the story, played by Humphrey Bogart. An old flame, Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) suddenly appears with her husband, Victor Laslow, who's wanted by the Nazis. Rick has to decide whether to put aside his feelings for Ilsa in order to help Victor escape to help the Resistance. 

Whether you are a "Casablanca" fan or seeing the movie for the first time, you will enjoy these memorable quotes from the film. And a caution: There are some spoilers ahead if you've never seen "Casablanca" (but what are you waiting for?).

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Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake.

When Ilsa first arrives, before Rick knows she's there, she approaches the piano player (Sam) and asks him to play As Time Goes By. This was Ilsa and Rick's song during their love affair. Sam resists at first, knowing it will anger Rick. It does, and the film's action begins as Rick sees the woman who left him behind in Paris for the first time in years.
This is actually one of the most misquoted lines from "Casablanca"; nowhere in the film does anyone ever say "Play it again, Sam" as is often repeated. Rick later says, "Play it, Sam," as he tries to drown his sorrows remembering his time with Ilsa. 

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Here's looking at you, kid.

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One of the most-quoted lines from "Casablanca," Humphrey Bogart ad-libbed, "Here's looking at you, kid" during the flashback scenes of Rick and Ilsa falling in love in Paris. He uses it later in the movie to bid Ilsa farewell, and the odd, unsentimental phrase has come to be one of the most romantic lines in movie history.

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Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

After the bar has closed and Rick is alone with Sam, he laments her reappearance and shows the audience how devastated he is to see Ilsa again, now married to another man. He hits the bottle hard as he remembers their time together. 

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What is your nationality?

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The Nazi Major Strasser is questioning Rick and demands to know his nationality. He's looking for some grounds to arrest him, not that a Nazi necessarily needed a reason. Rick's reply, and Capt. Renault's chaser are among the lighter moments of the film (and probably the lightest moment featuring Major Strasser).

Rick: I'm a drunkard.

Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.

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I came to Casablanca for the waters.

This exchange between Capt. Renault (played with a lively humor by Claude Rains) deepens the mystery about Rick and where his allegiances lie. It also gives a little bit of insight into Renault, whose own allegiances are unclear at this point in the film. And we never do find out why Rick came to "Casablanca" in the first place. 

Renault: What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert!
Rick: I was misinformed.
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I'm shocked to find out gambling is going on!

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Renault is once again the comic relief in "Casablanca." He follows Strasser's orders to shut down Rick's Place, and an angry Rick asks why (there's no real reason, they're just harassing him). 

Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
[a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
Croupier: Your winnings, sir.
Renault: Oh, thank you very much.
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The problems of three little people...

In his most heroic moment in the movie, Rick persuades a tearful Ilsa that she has to leave him behind and get on the plane with Victor, because the work Victor is doing to defeat the Nazis is too important. 

Rick: Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that.

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We'll always have Paris.

Humphrey Bogart And Ingrid Bergman In 'Casablanca'
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Rick lets Ilsa know he forgives her for leaving, and lets her know he still loves her and will remember her and their time in Paris fondly. There's not a dry eye in the house when he utters this classic line. 

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Round up the usual suspects.

Rick has just shot and killed Major Strasser as the Nazi tried to stop Victor and Ilsa's plane from taking off. Renault is the only witness. When the rest of the police arrive, Rick (and the audience) don't know what Renault is going to do. When he tells his staff "round up the usual suspects," and doesn't turn Rick in, we cheer for Renault finally coming over to the good guys' side.

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I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The Big Shot
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After Ilsa and Victor are safely away and Major Strasser is dead, Rick and Renault walk away together. This is the last line of "Casablanca" and is a bit tongue-in-cheek as Rick speaks of a beginning as the movie is ending.