40 must-watch movies to consider yourself a film buff

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Casablanca (1942)

If we’re using the terms “must-see” and “de facto film” in this list you can’t do better than Casablanca. This Michael Curtiz-directed romantic drama is the perfect encapsulation of the Old Hollywood aesthetic. Rough-and-tumble Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, a man who doesn’t “stick his neck out” for anyone as he hides out in the small Moroccan town of Casablanca. The problem is trouble walks into his life in the former of ex-lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), who is trying to escape the country with her freedom fighter husband.

The film’s Hollywood love triangle might seem a touch one-sided — I don’t know many people who would believe Ilsa would dump Bogie for Paul Henreid — but everything about this movie is beautifully shot and impeccably acted. Bogart and Bergman are fantastic, but even side characters played by Claude Rains and Conrad Veidt are colorful. Don’t forget the wonderful pairing of comic actors Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. And the script has some of the best lines ever written for screen (or at least the most memorable), from “We’ll always have Paris” to “here’s looking at you, kid.”

Just don’t expect to hear “play it again, Sam.” That’s actually not a line spoken in this film despite the constant quoting.

Where to Watch It: Stream it now on FilmStruck or rent it via Amazon, Google, Apple, Vudu, YouTube, and PlayStation.