Film Critic Roger Ebert has said “[Casablanca is] probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including Citizen Kane.” But why do critics and film enthusiasts alike so regularly place the film on their lists? Perhaps this collection of Casablanca reviews, both from when the film came out and from more recently, can help us understand why this film is such a critical darling. The names of the reviewers link to their full reviews.

“Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it.”

Roger Ebert 1996

“We will tell you that Michael Curtiz has directed for slow suspense and that his camera is always conveying grim tension and uncertainty… We will tell you also that the performances of the actors are all of the first order, but especially those of Mr. Bogart and Miss Bergman in the leading roles.”

Bosley Crowther 1942

“The intellectual nature of the film is part of its longstanding appeal, with its philosophical elements incorporated with deftness missing in much of modern screenwriting.”

Alec Dent 2017

“Film is splendid anti-Axis propaganda, particularly inasmuch as the propaganda is strictly a by-product of the principal action and contributes to it instead of getting in the way.”

Variety Staff 1942

“And this is the reason it works, in spite of aesthetic theories and theories of film making. for in it there unfolds with almost telluric force the power of Narrative in its natural state, without Art intervening to discipline it.”

Umberto Eco 1985