15 Facts About 'Casablanca' Fans Didn't Know

Sarah Kester
Rick and Isla in Casablanca
CSOS | Warner Bros.

Ever wondered why Casablanca is so often chosen as a person's desert island film? (This is a list of the movies you'd want to watch if you were ever stranded on a deserted island.)

It's because the 1942 American war drama is considered one of the greatest movies of all time. The Academy-winning film featured incredible performances and led to famous quotable lines.

Here, we take a look at 15 facts about Casablanca that fans didn't know.

1. It was originally intended for Broadway

Casablanca cast at restaurant
CBC | Warner Bros.

The script never hit the stage because the producers were hesitant that Rick and the woman he loved slept together when she came to Casablanca. Warner Brothers then purchased the rights to the film.

2. Warner Brothers purchased the film for a record-breaking number.

Lovers wearing hats and looking at each other
CBC | Warner Bros.

The studio believed in the film so much, that they purchased the script and all rights for $20,000. To give you an idea of how much that number was back then, the studio paid $8,000 for The Maltese Falcon.

3. A short-lived TV adaption led to a lawsuit

Casablanca couple drinking
Giphy | EditingAndLayout

Even though playwright Murray Burnett had sold the rights to the script to Warner Brothers, he still believed that he owned the characters. ''These characters are part of me, and I have a great regard for them — even Ugarte,'' he said in a 1985 New York Times interview.

''I want them back," he continued.

Couple looking out window in Casablanca
Cine Vue | Cine Vue

As a result, he and his co-writer, Joan Alison, filed a lawsuit against Warner Brothers after they created a short-lived TV show based on the film. The New York Court of Appeals ruled against Burnett and Alison in 1986.

4. Burnett was approached many times over the years for rights to a sequel

Casablanca actor saying "we'll always have Paris"
Giphy |

He turned them all down out of fear of Warner Bros. suing him. This was also after Warner Bros. gave him and Alison $100,000 each and the right to produce the original play, Everybody Comes to Rick’s, that Casablanca was based on.

5. The closest the film got to a remake was with the director, François Truffaut

Man playing piano in Casablanca
CAPA | Warner Bros.

Sadly, he turned down the opportunity. He said, "Casablanca “[isn’t] my favorite Humphrey Bogart film, and I rate it much lower than The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not."

6. The song, "As Time Goes By" almost didn't make the film

Two men walking away together in Casablanca
Giphy | Turner Classic Movies

The song, written by Herman Hupfeld in 1931, was widely disliked by the film's soundtrack composer Max Steiner at first. He “hated the idea of using someone else’s schmucky song."

7. The story was originally set in Lisbon

Building in Casablanca
Unsplash | Hamza Bouchikhi

The film would've been called "Lisbon," which is the capital of Portugal. Despite the success of the film, Burnett has never been to Casablanca. ''I never had any desire to go there,'' Burnett said in an interview. ''I've been told they have a place there named Rick's, and it's a dump. Maybe I don't want to destroy the image of Casablanca which I created.'' 

Most of the film, however, was shot in Burbank, California

We'll always have Paris" line being said in Casablanca
Giphy |

Since filming on location can get extremely expensive, most of the film was shot at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California. The one exception was the opening scene, which was shot at Van Nuys Airport in Van Nuys, Los Angeles.

8. Ingrid Bergman was two inches taller than Humphrey Bogart

Rick and Isla in Casablanca
CSO | Warner Bros.

The actors played lovers, Ilsa and Rick. But since Bogart was two inches shorter than his female counterpart, the director Michael Curtiz had him stand on blocks and sit on cushions.

9. Humphrey Bogart hated Ingrid Bergman

Couple in Casablanca being affectionate
Giphy |

Don't let their on-camera chemistry fool you! According to the book, We’ll Always Have Casablanca, Bogart's trouble with his wife led to lots of friction on set. "There were a lot of gin-fuelled rages," film historian Noah Isenberg wrote.

This meant that all of Bergman's attempts to bond were turned down.

Chess board
Unsplash | GR Stocks

After one particular dinner date invitation, Bogart reportedly stormed off drunkenly to go play chess by himself instead. He was often alone, in fact. "He kept to himself, playing chess in his trailer."

10. The script was heavily edited due to censorship

Man smoking cigar in Casablanca
Giphy | Coolidge Corner Theatre

One of the screenplay writers, Julius Epstein, dealt with this firsthand. "The main thing that affected our work in those days was that we were so handcuffed by censorship — remember, the nation shook when Clark Gable said 'damn' in Gone With the Wind."

11. The line "play it again, Sam" isn't in the film

Woman saying, "play it, Sam"
Giphy |

The Mandela Effect strikes again! This refers to false memories shared by people, such as believing that Darth Vadar said, "Luke, I am your father" in Star Wars. He didn't say that and neither did anyone say, "play it again, Sam" in Casablanca.

Ilsa did say, "play it, once" during the piano scene. But never, "play it, again."

Man saying, "round up the usual suspects"
Giphy |

It's believed that people got it confused when Woody Allen released a play and then a movie under the same name.

12. The famous line, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" was added in post-filming

Man watching two people walking away
Go into the Story | Warner Bros.

It was producer Hal B. Wallis who reportedly wrote the final line. He even had Bogart come back in after filming was complete to dub it in.

13. The movie had a rough start

Unsplash | Florian Klauer

Since the script wasn't finished, both the leads didn't know how to play their parts.

“I’m not up on this love stuff and don’t know just what to do,” Bogart said. Meanwhile, Bergman didn't know whether her character was supposed to be in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo.

14. Edward Gorey's stepmother is in the film

Edward Gorey
Messy Nessy Chic | Messy Nessy Chic

Corinna Mura was the stepmother of the American writer and artist. She has an uncredited role where the singer plays the guitar at the Café Américain’s nightclub during the famous "La Marseillaise" scene.

15. It's the most quotable movie of all time

Modern Family couple saying, "Casablanca"
Giphy |

With lines such as, “Here’s looking at you, kid," “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," and "Play it, Sam" how could it not be? There's also “we’ll always have Paris” and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."