Casablanca’s Hilarious Alternative Final Scene Featuring Saturday Night Live’s Kate McKinnon: Pragmatism Carries the Day!

The clas­sic film Casablan­ca is peren­ni­al­ly ripe for par­o­dy, but for some rea­son, its spoofs usu­al­ly con­fine them­selves to Rick­’s Café Améri­cain. It’s rare that any­one gets fun­ny with the famous final scene, where (spoil­er!) Humphrey Bog­a­rt’s Rick sac­ri­fices his per­son­al hap­pi­ness, insist­ing that his beloved board a plane that will safe­ly car­ry her and her hus­band, a leader of the Czech Resis­tance, away from Vichy-con­tolled Casablan­ca.

There are excep­tions of course.

Bugs Bun­ny

The Simp­sons

Woody Allen

Sat­ur­day Night Live’s Kate McK­in­non bests them all with a dewy-eyed Ingrid Bergman impres­sion nail­ing the Swedish-born actress’ glo­ri­ous­ly cin­e­mat­ic mid­dle Atlantic accent, described by writer Trey Tay­lor in The Atlantic as a learned “hybrid of Britain’s Received Pro­nun­ci­a­tion and stan­dard Amer­i­can Eng­lish as it exists today.”

It’s a refresh­ing change to see the Ilsa char­ac­ter dri­ving the laughs.

McKinnon’s scene part­ner, J.K. Sim­mons, gives an equal­ly cred­i­ble per­for­mance as Bogart’s Rick. The award-win­ning actor has demon­stra­ble com­ic chops, but for this sketch, the writ­ers wise­ly had him play it dead seri­ous.

The play­ers are fur­ther abet­ted by the design team’s faith­ful exe­cu­tion of the orig­i­nal, includ­ing cos­tumes by Tom Broeck­er and Eric Jus­t­ian. Who wouldn’t want to wear that hat?

Much of Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch’s orig­i­nal dia­logue was left intact. It’s repro­duced below for your scruti­ny, along with Bog­a­rt and Bergman’s per­for­mance.

You’ll notice one sig­nif­i­cant line reas­sign­ment, neces­si­tat­ed by this Ilsa’s prag­mat­ic response to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of wind­ing up in a con­cen­tra­tion camp.

As in the orig­i­nal, love does not tri­umph, but they’ll always have Paris.


Rick takes the let­ters of tran­sit out of his pock­et and

hands them to Renault, who turns and walks toward the hangar.


If you don’t mind, you fill in the names. That will make it even more offi­cial.


You think of every­thing, don’t you?


(qui­et­ly And the names are Mr. and Mrs. Vic­tor Las­z­lo.

Renault stops dead in his tracks, and turns around.  Both Ilsa and Renault look at Rick with aston­ish­ment.


But why my name, Richard?


Because you’re get­ting on that plane.


(con­fused)  I don’t under­stand. What about you?


I’m stay­ing here with him ’til the plane gets safe­ly away.

Rick­’s inten­tion sud­den­ly dawns on Ilsa.


No, Richard, no. What has hap­pened to you? Last night we said —


Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the  think­ing for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then and it all adds up to one thing. You’re get­ting on that plane with Vic­tor where you belong.


 (protest­ing) But Richard, no, I, I —


You’ve got to lis­ten to me. Do you have any idea what you’d have to look for­ward to if you stayed here? Nine chances out of ten we’d both wind up in a con­cen­tra­tion camp. Isn’t that true, Louis?

 Renault coun­ter­signs the papers.


I’m afraid Major Strass­er would insist.


You’re say­ing this only to make me go.


I’m say­ing it because it’s true. Inside of us we both know you belong with Vic­tor. You’re part

of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with

him, you’ll regret it.




Maybe not today, maybe not tomor­row, but soon, and for the rest of your life.


But what about us?


We’ll always have Paris. We did­n’t have, we’d lost it, until you came to Casablan­ca. We got it back last night.


And I said I would nev­er leave you.


And you nev­er will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going you can’t fol­low. What I’ve got to do you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it does­n’t take much to see that the prob­lems of three lit­tle peo­ple don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Some­day you’ll under­stand that.  Now, now…

Ilsa’s eyes well up with tears.  Rick puts his hand to her chin and rais­es her face to meet his own.


Here’s look­ing at you, kid.

If McKinnon’s take on Ingrid Bergman leaves you scream­ing for more, here are Hillary Rod­ham Clin­ton, Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Twin Beaks, Sesame Street’s Par­o­dy of David Lynch’s Icon­ic TV Show (1990)

A Fun Par­o­dy of Down­ton Abbey Fea­tures George Clooney & the Cast of the Show

The Bea­t­les Per­form in a Spoof of Shakespeare’s A Mid­sum­mer Night’s Dream, 1964

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.Follow her @AyunHalliday

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