Is "Casablanca" Film Noir?

Film Noir does not have to have a detective.
An d, it has the feel of Noir.
But the ending is too upbeat.
Is Casablanca film noir?

I vote no.

I can see where it is easy to categorize it as such, being that it is in black-and-white, stars Humphrey Bogart, and is in the right time frame. Had it starred Cary Grant instead, we would have compared it to a sophisticated Hitchcock caper.

But it doesn’t rely on a crime as a centerpiece, doesn’t rely on “low life” characters, it isn’t particularly “gritty”, Ilsa isn’t a “dame” by any means.

I’d say no. The main character is clearly influenced more by patriotism than cynicism, and to me, patriotism’s only place in noir is to get mocked and trampled.

Of course not. It’s a dash of patriotic propaganda overlaid on a buddy film overlaid on a romance.

I don’t claim to know ever film in the noir genre, but noir and romance just aren’t two terms that go together.

Yes. Bad guys and good guys. And bunch of gray area between them . Clearly, Noir. At its best.IMO

Casablanca is a noir dustjacket thrown over a romance novel.

To be a film noir, you need seedy characters (not evil, like Nazis). Ugarte is the only real seedy character in Casablanca, and he disappears quickly after the start of the movie.

In film noir, heroism usually turns out to be a mask for corruption, and a genuine hero usually has to compromise his integrity before the end of the film. At best, the good guys are slightly less evil than the bad guys.

In Casablanca, the corruption and cynicism is a mask, and the not-really-bad guys all turn out to have hearts of gold.

Well put. Bogie did a lot of noir-ish films, but that’s not one of them.

Well. there’s also Ferrari, the self-described crime lord of Casablanca, and the various kinds of corruption (until the last 3 minutes) of Captain Renault, that contribute to the overall feeling of darkness, cynicism and despair. You could also say that the Nazis in this film behave no worse than gangsters, with a polite but menacing façade like Kirk Douglas’ character in Out of the Past.

Even with all that, Casablanca is not noir, for all the reasons already cited.

Exactly. In* Casablanc*a, all the characters (except the Nazis and maybe Ugarte) turn out to be Nice People.

You can’t have a Film Noir without cynicism. Casablanca is basically the opposite of cynicism.

Casablanca, in fact, is Film Blanc.

Well said.

It’s not noir; about the only thing noirish is that it’s in black and white.

They key elements of pure noir involve a man being corrupted by a woman and a sense that there is no hope in the world. Casablanca has an uplifting ending, Ilsa is far too angelic, and only the nazis are clearly corrupt.

Not quite - it has Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. And it has something everyone wants - “the stuff dreams are made of”. Just like the very noir film The Maltese Falcon.


Casablanca is not noir.

Which actually conceals a long con game with Rick as the sucker who gives up everything so that Ilsa and Victor can ‘escape’ the Nazis using the fictiocious “letters of transit” stolen by Ugarte whose off-screen ‘death’ just coincidentally leaves them in Rick’s possession. Senor Ferrari gets the bar, Lazlo gets the girl, and that dupe Rick ends up on the long road to Brazzaville with a transparently pining Captain Renault hoping to get some quiet evenings alone together.


Film noir needs an evil woman. Ingrid ain’t.

Plus, in a film noir they wouldn’t “always have Paris” - she would have ruined the memory by betraying him in some way.


It’s not noir, but one other feature it has in common with film noir: It’s dark. I don’t mean that it’s emotionally distraught or angsty or anything like that: I mean that it literally has low levels of illumination. That can go a long way in setting a mood.

It’s a wartime romance. You may see noir or blanc or grise on the screen. That’s it for noir.