Consistently ranked near the top of lists of the greatest films in history, Warner Bros. is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Casablanca with a long awaited 4K UHD release. Casablanca has never looked better…more on that later…

Based on the unpublished play Everybody Comes to Rick’s by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, Casablanca was still being cobbled together by four screenwriters when shooting started. Despite that inauspicious beginning, this story about love in a time of war is considered one of the greatest films of all time. Casablanca—a part of French Morocco—at the end of 1941, is full of European refugees hoping to obtain the proper documents to travel safely to America. Of course, the Vichy French and Nazi officials are aware of what’s going on and do everything they can to keep people from fleeing Casablanca.  The focal point of the city for foreigners is “Rick’s Cafe Americain” owned by Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) an American ex-pat who doesn’t care about the people and their problems; his only concern is making a profit at the end of the day. He stays above the fray and has a comfortable relationship with the local prefect of police, Captain Renault (Claude Rains) which allows him to stay out of trouble.

However, Rick’s carefully constructed isolationism is thrown into disarray when he finds himself in possession of two letters of transit that were lifted from dead German couriers, letters which essentially grant whoever holds them free passage out of Casablanca. Obviously, these documents are priceless.  When his long-lost lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), a leader in the resistance and concentration camp fugitive, come into his bar the same night things become complicated.  Laszlo is looking for a way to flee Casablanca and live to fight another day. Still bitter that Ilsa left him, Rick refuses to sell the transit papers at any price. In the face of reignited feelings for his old flame, Rick must make a choice: will he allow his bitterness to keep him in Casablanca, thus crippling the movement Laszlo represents, or does he go against his iconoclastic personality and help Ilsa and Laszlo escape?

Presented in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the image has been restored and remastered from a 2022 4K 16bit film scan of the best surviving nitrate film elements. The results are impressive. Sharpness is impressive throughout. Any softness is likely the result of the soft lighting used on Ingrid Bergman’s face. The black and white images offer excellent depth, and delineation. Close-ups reveal pleasing detail of faces, clothing and textures within the frame. Blacks look deep and inky. Shadows offer clarity and contrast is spot on. Print flaws are nonexistent. HDR is subtle but nonetheless enhances the presentation. This eighty-year old film looks better than ever before and provides a wonderful viewing experience.

While not quite up to the standard of the video, the DTS-HD MA monaural audio is still impressive, considering the films age. Dialogue sounds clear and full. While the speech occasionally lacks the depth heard in modern tracks, its still impressive for its age. The music sounds a bit tinny on occasion, its mixed well and is surprisingly rich for its era. There are no audio issues such as hisses, pops and scratches to be heard.

English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish (Castilian), Netherlands, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish (Latin American), Czech, Hungarian, Polish, and Romanian subtitles are included.

The Casablanca: 80th Anniversary Edition includes the previously released 70th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray and a redeemable digital code. Aside from two audio commentaries and Lauren Bacall introduction, special features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc. All of the special features have been available on previous releases. See here for more details.

4K UHD Disc:

  • Audio Commentaries: Two commentaries are included, the first with film critic Roger Ebert and the second with historian Rudy Behlmer. Both are informed, and insightful. Well worth a listen.
  • Introduction by Lauren Bacall (HD, 2 min.)

Blu-ray Disc:

  • Audio Commentaries: Two commentaries are included, the first with film critic Roger Ebert and the second with historian Rudy Behlmer. Both are informed, and insightful. Well worth a listen.
  • Introduction by Lauren Bacall (HD, 2 min.)
  • Warner Night at the Movies (SD, 51 min.)
  • Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (SD, 83 min.)
  • Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of (HD, 37 min.)
  • Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic (SD, 35 min.)
  • You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca (SD, 35 min.)
  • As Time Goes By: The Children Remember (SD, 7 min.)
  • Deleted Scenes (SD, 2 min.)
  • Outtakes (SD, 5 min.)
  • Who Holds Tomorrow? (SD, 19 min.)
  • Scoring Stage Sessions (HD, 15 min.)
  • 4/26/43 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast (Audio)
  • 11/19/47 VOX POP Radio Broadcast (Audio)
  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 min.)
  • Re-Release Trailer (SD, 3 min.)

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