Study Guide

Casablanca Sacrifice


RICK: I stick my neck out for nobody.

Originally this seems like the opposite of a quote about sacrifice, but knowing what we know, it's clear that Rick is lying to himself. He sticks his neck out for people all the time—in his past for underdogs in military battles, for Annina and Jan in the gambling room, for his employees when he sells the club to Ferrari, and finally for Victor and Ilsa when he turns all Bonnie and Clyde on Renault.

STRASSER: You may be in Casablanca indefinitely…or you may leave for Lisbon tomorrow, on one condition.

Strasser proposes a deal to Laszlo. As much as he'd like to see him imprisoned (or preferably dead), he's willing to cut him a deal (or is he??) if he agrees to name names. He probably knows he has roughly a 0% chance of being taken up on the offer, as Laszlo is highly principled and would never sacrifice those principles for a silly little thing like his freedom. Not to mention that Strasser's probably lying, and he wouldn't get his freedom anyway.

LASZLO: No, Ilsa, I won't let you stay here. You must get to America. And believe me, somehow I will get out and join you.

Sorta like Strasser's suggestion, Laszlo likely knows that Ilsa would never leave Casablanca without him, just as he would never leave without her. But because he loves her, he at least has to give it a shot. And if by some chance she were to agree, he would absolutely be willing to make that sacrifice.

ANNINA: If someone loved you very much, so that your happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the whole world, but she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?

Annina's wondering if she sacrificed her body (to Renault…blech) so that she and her husband could escape, would it be worth it? It also comes pretty close to detailing exactly the dilemma Rick is faced with later on. Oh, foreshadowing, you saucy wench.

ILSA: I know how you feel about me, but I'm asking you to put your feelings aside for something more important.

This is where Ilsa flat out asks Rick to make a sacrifice of gigantic proportions. He's still hurt that she abandoned him and has seemingly no good reason to make her happy. In spite of that, she asks that he consider what good Victor could do if he had his freedom, and to overlook their own unfortunate history. Fortunately, he is able to make that sacrifice, or else the movie might have ended with Ilsa hurling leather-bound books and various knickknacks at Rick's head.