Humphrey Bogart Improvised 1 of the Most Famous Lines From ‘Casablanca’

Casablanca is a movie that is more than a romance drama. The main character goes from being nihilistic to someone who sacrifices himself to free others. The protagonist’s arc helped the film win multiple Oscars, such as one for Best Writing.

Another reason why the movie has a strong staying power in popular culture is its cast. The audience got plenty of convincing performances from the actors. Humphrey Bogart even showed his skills by improvising a very quotable line.

One of the many quotable lines in ‘Casablanca’

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in 'Casablanca' directed by Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in ‘Casablanca’ | Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Despite coming out 80 years ago, people still consider Casablanca one of the greatest films in history. The legendary film won multiple awards, and the American Film Institute ranked it second place. Furthermore, it helped inspire future works and became heavily referenced in popular culture.

The movie’s setting is during World War II, and the main protagonist is a cynical man named Rick Blaine. Rick owns a nightclub in Casablanca and claims to be neutral about matters until Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) appears. While he and his former lover get reacquainted, the actors’ chemistry help make the film memorable. 

Humphrey Bogart portrayed the role of Rick, and the actor gave one of the most iconic lines from the movie. In the end, Bogart’s character helps Ilsa and her husband escape on a plane. Before she leaves, he tells her, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Even though it is only a sentence, many people would quote it years later. The filmmakers did not think people would remember the line or even the movie. The dialogue and casting helped make the project an “accidental classic.”

Humphrey Bogart improvised the line

During production, the script was incomplete even though multiple writers were working on it. The various versions moving around confused Humphrey Bogart and his cast mates. The unfinished script was likely the reason why he did some improvising during a scene.

According to the BBC, the “Here’s looking at you, kid” line was not in the script. Since the screenwriters were still rushing, Bogart decided to ad-lib a bit. He improvised the quote while filming the Paris flashback scene with Ingrid Bergman.

Not only did the director keep the line in the film, but screenwriters added it a couple more times. One of those times was at the end when Rick and Ilsa had to part ways. Like the filmmakers, viewers latched onto the simple piece of dialogue.

Even though Bogart thought of the line on the spot, it had been around for much longer. Usage of the phrase “Here’s looking at you” first appeared as early as the 1880s. The quote likely was well-known enough for Bogart to think of saying it in Casablanca.

Other behind-the-scene facts about ‘Casablanca’

Plenty of exciting things happened behind the scenes in Casablanca. For example, the studio wanted a different actor to portray Ilsa. When MGM did not agree to loan her, the filmmakers went with Ingrid Bergman instead.

Additionally, the war affected how the crew filmed the airport scene. They did not have access to an actual hangar and plane. As a result, they constructed a model plane to put in the background. Small figures of men stood by it since the model was not a full-scale one.

Another fun fact about the movie involves the inclusion of the iconic song “As Time Goes By.” As it turns out, the project’s composer did not like the addition to the soundtrack. However, replacing the song would have led to costly reshoots. Therefore, it remained the theme for Rick and Ilsa.

The making of Casablanca had multiple hiccups and challenges. However, the success of the final product surprised everyone.

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