Finally, to me, Casablanca represents the ideal Hollywood classic. It is a movie that is wonderfully cast and stands the test of time. Is a romance? Yes -- but more importantly it is a story of truth. Each of the main characters discovers his/her own truth during the course of the film. Rick realizes he and Ilsa are not destined to live "happily ever after." Ilsa recognizes her genuine love for Rick but necessity to remain with Victor. Victor is not naive, I honestly believe he understands Rick's sacrifce and love for Ilsa. Last, but not least, Captain Renault discovers he can not be a stooge in the Vichy regime and goes off with Rick at the film's end. For me, the casting was outstanding, everyone fit his/her role to a tee. In addition, I still get a little teary eyed when La Marseillaise is sung by the patrons in Rick's Cafe. Rick allows Victor Laslo to lead the band and Laslo's courage inspires his fellow patrons to sing along and drown out the German officers who are singing their anthem. They don't make movies like that anymore.
I loved all your responses Tracy. The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were yearly favorites as my house too growing up. You're the second guest of mine to have chosen Bette Davis as their favorite actor/actresses. And I loved your reasoning behind Casablanca. Good stuff Tracy.