During Rick's flashback in Casablanca, he has a conversation with Ilsa.

ILSA - A franc for your thoughts.

RICK - I was wondering... Why I'm so lucky. Why I should find you waiting for me to come along.

ILSA - Why there is no other man in my life? That's easy. There was. He's dead.

RICK - I'm sorry for asking. I forgot we said "no questions."

ILSA - Well, only one answer can take care of all our questions.

They kiss passionately.

What is the meaning of this scene? Does she mean that their kiss, and thus their love, is the answer to all their questions, in the sense that the questions don't matter anymore? Or did I misinterpret this?

  • 3
    No...I think you nailed it... Love is the only answer they need...is my interpretation too.
    – Paulie_D
    Jun 10, 2017 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


The "answer" is physical passion as a way of forgetting both personal and global troubles. The sexual bond between Ilsa and Rick is alluded to several times in the movie, and is the primary obstacle that must be transcended for them to embrace the moral choice that ends the movie.

Compare this similar, but opposed exchange of dialog between Ilsa and Rick:

RICK: I'm settled now, above a saloon, it's true, but...walk up a flight. I'll be expecting you. All the same, someday you'll lie to Laszlo —you'll be there.
ILSA: No, Rick. No, you see, Victor Laszlo's my husband —and was, even when I knew you in Paris.

The movie was made at a time when sex was often alluded to in the cinema, but almost never explicitly. The sophisticated audience of the times was expected to be able to "read between the lines."


One interpretation is that a kiss is an easy way to end a conversation. Casablanca is notorious for the way it was quickly and haphazardly put together. The scene is necessary to understand this relationship, but the writers may have started it without having a clear way to end it. The last line can be seen as glib, as a counterweight to Rick's (typically laconic) line, as a way to underscore the nature of the relationship, as a throwaway to move to the next scene, or as all of these.

It's worth noting that Rick isn't asking about other men here. She brings up the topic. Laszlo is a presence throughout the movie, even when unseen. Ilsa needs "answers" to problems Rick doesn't even know about, such as cheating on Victor and lying to Rick.

The obvious interpretation, of course, is the OP's. Love does answer their questions temporarily, but it's up to Rick to solve Ilsa's dilemma permanently.

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