Casablanca Glossary

"As Time Goes By"

A song by Frances Williams that Murray Burnett was very fond of. Therefore, he made it a crucial element in Everybody Comes to Rick's. Composer Max Steiner did not think the song was appropriate for the film version of Casablanca, and planned to compose his own theme. However, Jack Warner wanted to use the song and so Steiner made it a major component of his score, and a lasting element of the film. "It invokes magic and nostalgia," says Danish film reviewer Ole Michelsen of the song's resonance.

A-List Picture

In the Studio System, studios would classify their films as either "A-List" or "B-List". A-list films had bigger budgets, longer shoots, bigger stars, and ran for over 85 minutes, while B-List films were cheaper and smaller. Often, A-List and B-List films were screened together as double features. Casablanca, with the star power of Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and director Michael Curtiz, was an A-List picture.

Allied Powers

The countries that came together to fight the Axis powers during World War II. At the beginning of the war, the allied countries were France, Poland and the UK and would later be joined by the British Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and South Africa). After 1941, the Allies were led by the UK, the USSR, and the United States. China, Belgium, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, and Yugoslavia were also part of the Allied Forces.


or Der Angriff, A Nazi newspaper started by Joseph Goebbels in 1927 that specialized in anti-Semitic propaganda.

Axis Powers

The opponents of the Allied Forces during World War II, the major Axis powers were Germany, Italy, and Japan. Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria were involved in a smaller degree, while Thailand, Finland, San Marino, and Iraq were unofficial Axis supporters.


A disparaging term for a German person (especially a solider) that originated during World War I.


Could also be indicated as "Close-on" in a written screenplay. It is a shot where the camera is close to a character or object. Generally, this would mean that the shot shows only the character's head and neck.

Concentration Camp

Nazi Germany originally created these camps to hold and torture their political opponents. After 1935, the camps were where Hitler's "undesirable elements", including Jews and homosexuals, were exterminated in large groups.


A Croupier assists in the conduct of a gambling table or, in the case of Emil the Croupier, spins the roulette wheel. In Casablanca, Emil the Croupier is also responsible for rigging the roulette games when Rick tells him to, and making the payouts.

Depth of Field

"The amount of space in front of and in back of the focus plane that appears acceptably sharp through a lens" (Katz 359).


A type of transition between shots where one scene fades out while another scene fades in, and the last image of the preceding scene is temporarily superimposed over the first image of the following scene. A dissolve is much more noticeable than other kinds of transitions, and can often connote the passage of time.

Exit Visa

Between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany required that any person who wanted to leave an Occupied country had to obtain an exit visa, or exit would be denied.


Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism. Fascists believe that a totalitarian government is necessary to unify a nation. Prominent Fascist leaders, like Mussolini and Hitler, claimed unquestioned power and engaged in tyrannical practices like ethnic cleansing and warmongering, under the guise of building up national identity.

Free French

Also known as the Free French Forces. French Partisans in World War II who continued to fight against Axis forces after France was occupied in June 1940.


Nazi Germany's secret police.


The House of Representatives created the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1938 to investigate Americans suspected of having Communist ties. In 1947, HUAC went looking for "communist subversion in the motion-picture industry". Howard Koch was exiled, even though he was not a communist. Other writers and filmmakers suffered much more extreme fates, some never regaining employment in the film business.


"La Marseillaise" has been France's national anthem since 1795.

Medium Shot

A shot where the subject is shown from the waist up.


The Office of War Information was an agency created by the US Government during World War II to oversee the information output relating to the war. It used all kinds of media to share information about the war, promote patriotism, and warn Americans about the threat of foreign spies.


A casino game whose name comes from the French word for "little wheel". Players place bets on numbers and the croupier spins the wheel, sending a small ball into motion. The ball falls into a certain numbered compartment, thus resulting in a payout for anyone who had chosen that particular number.

The Black Market

An underground economy where illegal goods are traded. Black Markets are not recognized by any kind of state.

The Third Reich

Also known as Nazi Germany, a totalitarian state led by Adolf Hitler. The Third Reich was in power from 1933 to 1945, when the Nazis were defeated by Allied Forces.


The verb describing camera movement along a vertical plane.

Tracking Shot

The kind of shot that occurs when the camera is mounted on a dolly (a wheeled platform) to move and follow a character. Not to be mistaken with a pan or tilt, where the camera remains on a fixed axis.

Vichy France

The new French State that emerged after the French Republic surrendered to Germany. The Vichy Regime (represented in the film by Captain Renault) supported the Third Reich until August 1944.