MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,050 this week

To Be or Not to Be (1942)

Passed  -  Comedy | War  -  6 March 1942 (USA)
8.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 15,261 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 61 critic

During the Nazi occupation of Poland, an acting troupe becomes embroiled in a Polish soldier's efforts to track down a German spy.

Director:

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 25 titles
created 18 Mar 2013
 
a list of 30 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 46 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 38 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 1 month ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: To Be or Not to Be (1942)

To Be or Not to Be (1942) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of To Be or Not to Be.

User Polls

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | War | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A bad Polish actor is just trying to make a living when what should intrude but World War II in the form of an invasion. His wife has the habit of entertaining young Polish officers while ... See full summary »

Director: Alan Johnson
Stars: Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ronny Graham
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Comedy-drama about life on a not particularly important ship of the US Navy during WW2.

Directors: John Ford, Mervyn LeRoy, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell
Underground (1995)
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The story follows an underground weapons manufacturer in Belgrade during WWII and evolves into fairly surreal situations. A black marketeer who smuggles the weapons to partisans doesn't ... See full summary »

Director: Emir Kusturica
Stars: Predrag Manojlovic, Lazar Ristovski, Mirjana Jokovic
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The career of Shakespeare's Sir John Falstaff as roistering companion to young Prince Hal, circa 1400-1413.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Margaret Rutherford
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An apprentice train dispatcher at a village station seeks his first sexual encounter and becomes despondent when he is unable to perform.

Director: Jirí Menzel
Stars: Václav Neckár, Josef Somr, Vlastimil Brodský
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An unorthodox and irreverent DJ begins to shake up things when he is assigned to the US Armed Services Radio station in Vietnam.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Tung Thanh Tran
No Man's Land I (2001)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Bosnia and Herzegovina during 1993 at the time of the heaviest fighting between the two warring sides. Two soldiers from opposing sides in the conflict, Nino and Ciki, become trapped in no man's land, whilst a third soldier becomes a living booby trap.

Director: Danis Tanovic
Stars: Branko Djuric, Rene Bitorajac, Filip Sovagovic
MASH (1970)
Comedy | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and hijinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An American naval officer's talent for living the good life in wartime is challenged when he falls in love and is sent on a dangerous mission.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: James Garner, Julie Andrews, Melvyn Douglas
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A account of underground resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied France.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Stars: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The location: Nazi occupied Rome. As Rome is classified an open city, most Romans can wander the streets without fear of the city being bombed or them being killed in the process. But life ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Felix Bressart ...
Greenberg
...
Stanley Ridges ...
Sig Ruman ...
Tom Dugan ...
Bronski
Charles Halton ...
George Lynn ...
Actor-Adjutant
Henry Victor ...
Maude Eburne ...
Anna
Halliwell Hobbes ...
Gen. Armstrong
Miles Mander ...
Edit

Storyline

In occupied Poland during WWII, a troupe of ham stage actors (led by Joseph Tura and his wife Maria) match wits with the Nazis. A spy has information which would be very damaging to the Polish resistance and they must prevent it's being delivered to the Germans. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

6 March 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To Be or Not to Be  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to the book 'The United Artists Story' by Ronald Bergan, " Unfortunately, at its release, Pearl Harbor had been attacked, Germany was sweeping across Europe, and the film's star, Carole Lombard, was killed in a plane crash while on a war-bond selling tour. Therefore, neither critics nor public were in the mood to laugh, finding the picture tasteless and callous. Over the years, however, it recovered its production costs and became a classic." See more »

Goofs

In the scene early in the movie when Carole Lombard is arguing with the play director about her dress, they begin onstage, in the Gestapo office set. At one point the director switches to a closer shot and they are suddenly backstage, facing in entirely different directions than they were onstage. See more »

Quotes

Josef Tura: [disguised as Colonel Ehrhardt] I can't tell you how delighted we are to have you here.
Professor Alexander Siletsky: May I say, my dear Colonel, that it's good to breathe the air of the Gestapo again. You know, you're quite famous in London, Colonel. They call you Concentration Camp Ehrhardt.
Josef Tura: Ha ha. Yes, yes... we do the concentrating and the Poles do the camping.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frasier: Ask Me No Questions (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

German National Anthem (Das Lied der Deutschen)
(1797) (uncredited)
(Also called "Deutschland über alles")
Music by Joseph Haydn (1797)
Lyrics by August Heinrich Hoffman von Fallersleben (1841)
Sung by German military men
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
One of the great romantic/satirical comedies of all time
20 November 2005 | by (Belfast, NI) – See all my reviews

There is a famous review of this film by the late Sunday Times critic, Dilys Powell which begins 'Is the joke funny?'... what Miss Powell was getting at was that, given the horror of the Holocaust, it is appropriate to laugh at the Nazis. The answer is, ultimately, irrelevant to the viewing of this modest masterpiece.

Lubitsch was, by this time, coming to the end of an exquisite career that defined the nature of sophistication in 'light' cinema. 'To Be or Not To Be' skips lightly over all of the minefield of a subject like this and it is difficult or impossible to think of any other filmmaker who might have managed it (if you look at Mel Brooks' limp remake, you can see why).

In 1996, I presented a massive season of 'the greatest' films in Belfast for the centenary of cinema - 250 titles in 9 months. Of all of them, this was the film which got the greatest ovation - about 5 minutes with a nearly full house standing and applauding! They may have applauded for many reasons, but here are certainly some of them...

The very complicated narrative is presented virtually flawlessly and the comedy is never allowed to hold up the narrative. The principle actors - Carole Lombard (breathtakingly beautiful) and Jack Benny in particular, but many of the supporting cast as well - throw themselves into the affair with a gusto that is completely infectious. Apart from the satirical aspect of the story and the way in which Hitler and the Nazis are mercilessly ridiculed for their authoritarianism and the fear which is their only motivator, the film pokes gentle fun at the vanity of actors in a warm and happy manner. Finally, and most important, is the notion of farce. Farce rarely works in the cinema, but here it does, and in the grand manner - just look at how many times the situation regarding Professor Siletsky changes profoundly during the film - it is dizzying - yet the characters manage to come up with (often self-defeating or inappropriate) schemes on every occasion.

This is a wonderful work that, I have no hesitation in saying, is absolutely vital for anyone who wants to really understand the glory of the cinema. But to answer Dilys Powell's question... yes, the joke is deliriously funny.


58 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Greatest quote... lordxur
Mel Brooks's remake gives this film a bad name tunatomatoe
Has anyone noticed the appointment list? jcabc3596
Carole Lombard is so wonderful in this film willowz_girl
Any sign of a region 2 DVD? Django44
It's Not Shemp Howard The Daz
Discuss To Be or Not to Be (1942) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?