It is the darkest days of the Second World War, and those victims of the Nazis' seemingly inexorable roll across Europe who are lucky to have the money, are fleeing to Vichy-controlled Casablanca in North Africa, where with sufficient palm-greasing, they can get letters of transit to neutral Lisbon and thence on to the US. One emigré who's staying put is the cynical, world-weary Rick, who arrived in the town from Paris after being jilted by his lover Ilsa, and who now owns a nightclub called, imaginatively, Rick's. One night, Ilsa turns up, along with her husband, Resistance leader Victor Laszlo whom she thought was dead at the time of her fling with Rick. It is vital that Victor get to America and Ilsa urgently needs two letters of transit which, it so happens, Rick has in his possession. Rick and Ilsa's hastily broken-off romance looks set to re-ignite and Rick is faced with a dilemma: should he use the passes for himself and Ilsa, whom he has never really ceased to love, or give them to Victor so he can leave with her?
Classic wartime love story that established Humphrey Bogart in the hitherto-thought-unlikely role of romantic lead; amazingly, the studio thought it little more than a 'potboiler' at the time and originally cast Ronald Reagan and Anne Sheridan in the main roles, meanwhile the script was still being worked on right up to the last minute.