The above quote was made by Sydney Greenstreet's character--you know, the fat man with the red fez who owned the Blue Parrot bar.
Casablanca, as portrayed in the movie, was a way station for people to sort out their lives and try to escape to other parts of the world, most popularly America, during World War II.
According to the movie, people would gather in Casablanca on their way to Portugal. Once there, they would leave for America. BUT, to leave Casablanca, one needed permission from the government in the form of an exit visa. And, of course, exit visas were hard to come by! (Historically, there is no such thing as a Casablanca exit visa. Complete movie-making hogwash.)
So, while these desperate people waited, a perfect environment for crime sprang up. You can imagine--everyone was on the take, including the government, symbolized by Captain Renault, who would take either money or sex in exchange for an exit visa. So shocking!
Rick Blaine's bar was teeming with booze, cigarettes, and crime deals, but Rick made a point of not getting involved with any of it (except the booze and the cigarettes). Germans could come to the bar, but Rick showed favoritism to nobody.
And then Ilsa came into his "gin joint" and ruined everything. Oh man. Things really got cooking when she walked in.
Roger Ebert says that this movie is so good because it is the perfect blend of character and plot. I AGREE! A great movie!
Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari,
and Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine.
(Public domain photo)
CLICK HERE for the famous clip of Ilsa talking Sam into playing As Time Goes By and Rick getting his first look at her in umpteen years! Oh man...
Go to Casablanca's Wiki Page, or its IMDb quote page. Buy it here, or watch it instantly from Amazon. You may also enjoy this article Filmsite Movie Review: Casablanca
Source Articles: Spark Notes: Casablanca; IMDb: Casablanca; the Roger Ebert info is from the DVD commentary.