Final primary goal of this film, there are a

Final Exam Paper

            I thoroughly enjoyed watching the
classic World War II historical drama Casablanca.
I had never seen the movie until we watched it in class. Although I heard a
lot about it before we watched it, I still didn’t have much of an idea of what
it was really about. Upon watching it, I have to say that I really liked it and
can see why it is considered a classic. It has history, romance, and drama, and
gives the audience a lot to think about throughout the movie.

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            In terms of the categorization of
this movie, I would categorize it as a historical fiction drama. It has all of
the elements of a historical movie, but it is not based on a true story. Even
though it isn’t based on a true story, though, it does have a lot of historical
facts and elements in it. The movie is obviously centered around the problems
and realities of World War II, and can provide the audience with some sort of
idea of what that time was like for people in Casablanca, Morocco, and also
other countries that were involved in World War II. The drama part comes in
with Rick and Ilsa’s love story that carries the storyline of the movie.

            In terms of the primary goal of this
film, there are a few different themes at play. The love story could be
considered a distraction, but I think you could look at it as enhancing the
overall themes in some ways. Ultimately Rick is willing to give up everything
for Ilsa. Depending on how you look at it, that is for better or worse. The
willingness of his sacrifice lends to the ultimate theme of love. While this is
somewhat cheesy, Rick truly never stops loving Ilsa and is willing to give up
his life for her to get back to safety in America. Another theme I saw as
prominent was the idea of loyalty to country (or lack thereof). Rick is
hesitant to show support for any side of the war or anything that would show
his opinions on political matters. When different characters ask him about his
past involvement with different groups, he does not want to talk about it. I
think another one of the major themes is endurance. Rick has obviously never
stopped loving Ilsa, and vice versa. In the end, Rick gives up everything for
her, and she obviously doesn’t want to leave him. That is, to me, the
overarching theme of the movie. Rick and Ilsa will always love each other, but
both of them must sacrifice things in order to move on with life.

            I think this movie could have been
used as anti-war propaganda. It reveals the flaws of both sides. Rick was not
on the German’s side, and ultimately Louis begins to believe the same. He (Louis)
starts off pro-Germany and Nazi, but in the end we see that him and Rick are
starting a “beautiful friendship”. Also, Victor Laszlo is an important part of
the anti-war sentiment that this movie brings. He is against the Nazi’s, and
even spends some time in a concentration camp because of his political beliefs
and affiliations. He escapes to Casablanca with his wife, Ilsa, in search of an
escape to America.

            There were a few clues that led me
to figuring out when and where this movie was set. In the beginning of the
movie, a few different characters’ mention specifics. They talk about how
Casablanca is a French territory, which can immediately give away what side of
the war the people of Casablanca are most likely on. The fact that the movie is
entirely in black and white can also tell the audience about the time the movie
was generally made in. Although that could be misleading, as the movie as
produced in 1942 and set in 1941, when color was available for movies and
films. The black and white aspect contributed to the authenticity of the movie,
as it made everything feel “older” when I was watching it.

            I think the most essential part of
this paper lies within the question about how the love story affects the
history in the film. Without the love story, in my opinion, there is no movie.
When people think of Casablanca, that
is what they think of. Ilsa and Rick and their great love that lasted through
the years and the ultimate sacrifice he made for her and her safety. To me, if
you take that part out of it, you lose a lot of the impact that themes are trying
to deliver. The love of Rick and Ilsa lasts through the war, and can be seen as
a beacon of hope and something that can withstand the test of time. If you are
looking at the movie purely from a historical perspective, I definitely think the
love story element takes away from it. It often distracts from the significance
of the war and what it really meant to a lot of people. Victor and Ilsa
ultimately get away and escape because Rick, but that was obviously not the
reality for most people who were involved in and captured during World War II. I
do think the fact that this movie centers around a love story does provide a
glimpse into what the culture in the United States was like at the time this
movie was released. It was filmed and produced in the years during the War,
which I found to be fascinating. The other famous historical drama that reminds
me of Casablanca is Gone with the Wind, which was released
around the same time as Casablanca. Gone with the Wind, though, was about
the Civil War, which obviously took place many years before the movie was made.
It is interesting to me that Casablanca was
made in the thick of World War II. It brings a totally new and different
perspective to the film making process, and also lends some insight into how
people may have been feeling during the war based on some of the film’s
sentiments. The mere fact that there is a love story to follow in the movie
tells me that people needed some sort of escape. It definitely, at times,
distracts from the fact that there is a war going on at all. Watching a movie
about a war while it’s taking place must be a controversial thing in and of
itself, because of the different views that people held about it at the time. It
is entirely possible that the producers of the movie wanted a love story for
the very purpose of distracting the audience from some of the harsh realities
of the war, but also entirely possible that the producers used the love story
to enhance the realities of it that were extremely prevalent during this time
in the United States.

            In terms of American views on the
war, we get a few different perspectives. The United States, for a while during
the war, tried to remain out of it. They originally took an isolationist
approach because they did not want to get involved in other counties’ issues. I
think Rick, the main character in Casablanca,
represents both sides of the feelings about the war that were held in the
United States at the time. For a lot of the movie, we see Rick as a man who
doesn’t want to get involved in anything that could lead to issues for him,
mainly in terms of politics and the war. He tries to remain neutral and
independent because he doesn’t see any point in getting involved in politics,
and he just wants to run his club without conflicts. On the other hand, Rick
represents the eventual interventionist attitude that the United States is
forced to take. In the end, he helps Ilsa, and in turn, Victor, get out of
Casablanca. Just as the United States did not initially want to get involved in
World War II, they ended up having to because of the bombing at Pearl Harbor.
Rick was also forced to get involved, for different reasons though; matters of
the heart. I think people watching the movie at the time it was released could
relate to Rick. No one wants to go to war, but sometimes there are no other
options. There comes a point where you can’t help it, just as Rick felt there
were no other options other than to help Ilsa get to safety because he loved
her that much.

            I can see why Casablanca won three Oscars for its portrayal of the people in
Casablanca, Morocco at the time of the war. It has all the elements that make a
great film; drama, history, romance, and most of all, it is relatable. It shows
not only just the two opinions on what the United States should do in regards
to World War II, but also leaves room for grey area. It does a lot of this, all
through one character, Rick, who portrays the way a lot Americans felt;
conflicted. The decision of whether to get involved or stay out of the war was
huge, with implications that were not taken lightly. Although there are varying
opinions on how the love story affects the movie, I think it is absolutely
essential. It is a metaphor for the entire war that was done very well and gets
the point across extremely effectively. Had the movie only been done with Rick
and not included any of the love story, it would have delivered a very
different tone and overall message. The love story and Casablanca are one in the same. You can’t have one without the
other, and together they portray a beautiful story of love, loss, and sacrifice
that has transcended World War II and captured the hearts and minds for
generations.