Many critics and historians have commented on the timelessness of Casablanca, in spite of the time-specific story. It is ageless and relevant to eras other than its own because of the accessible romantic storyline in which anyone can identify with. In addition the characters are well developed, yet not foreign as to be isolated to one time period.
In Casablanca, the main character Rick (Humphrey Bogart) is introduced as a cold, selfish, bitter businessman. However, after Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) returns to his life it is revealed why he is bitter, Ilsa left Rick waiting at the train station in Paris, instead of joining him as planned. This cause and effect is easy to identify with and anyone, whether World War II survivors or members of generation X can find this relatable, because we have all been hurt and disappointed sometime in our lives.
The film focuses on the dynamic between Rick and Ilsa, and the conflict over will they give their romantic spark another shot, or will she be faithful to her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) a leader of the French resistance. Perhaps, what makes this film so ageless is that this circumstance could occur between anyone during anytime; this specific story was just set during the beginning of WWII. The romantic dynamic and conflict is universal and can be understood by all people. The same conflict could also be set in post apocalyptic earth after humans and robots have waged war, or even in a distant galaxy between alien species.
Even though, Casablanca is timeless and can be retold over and over again in a variety of times and places, this specific setting is unforgettable and classic, giving us the now famous line, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”