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To Be or Not to Be (1983)

6.7
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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 »

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Title: To Be or Not to Be (1983)

To Be or Not to Be (1983) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronny Graham ...
Sondheim
...
Gruba
Zale Kessler ...
Bieler
...
Lewis J. Stadlen ...
Lupinsky
...
...
Ratkowski
James 'Gypsy' Haake ...
Sasha (as James Haake)
Scamp ...
Mutki
...
...
Prof. Siletski (as Jose Ferrer)
...
...
...
...
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Storyline

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 he's on stage which is also a source of depression to him. When one of her officers comes back on a Secret Mission, the actor takes charge and comes up with a plan for them to escape. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

That is the movie!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 February 1984 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Soy o no soy  »

Box Office

Gross:

$13,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Before this remake was made, Mel Brooks, a Jewish-American comedian, had been famous for, amongst other things, for making fun of Adolf Hitler, Nazis and Nazi Germany. His earlier film The Producers (1967) parodied them in a play called "Springtime for Hitler", which was that movie's working title as well. In this movie, Brooks' voice can be heard singing the line "Don't be stupid/Be a schmarty/Come and join the Nazi Party" during the "Springtime for Hitler" number. For the Broadway musical version, he repeats this task, with the live actor lip-synching to a recording of Brooks' voice. The Producers (1967) was also the inspiration for the title of U2's album, "Achtung Baby". See more »

Goofs

Bronski becomes agitated when Sobinski wishes him good luck, because wishing an actor "good luck" is bad luck. Yet earlier, Anna wishes him good luck and Bronski is not at all bothered. See more »

Quotes

[of Bronski's performance]
Colonel Erhardt: What he did to Hamlet, we are now doing to Poland.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the movie, each cast member comes and takes a bow, as they would for a stage play, while their names are on the screen. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rhinestone (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Ladies
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks and Ronny Graham
Performed by Mel Brooks (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Definitely meant "to Be"...
9 February 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I haven't seen the Ernst Lubitsch original of this gem but if I had, I might have been prejudiced in my decision of this being one of the finer films that Mel Brooks has been in.

Though not written by or directed by Mel, he and wife Anne Bancroft take center stage as Frederick and Anna Bronski, Poland's most famous acting family. When the Nazi war machine overtakes Warsaw, they and their acting troupe use every actor's trick in the book to escape and make their way to England.

All this, of course, while Anna becomes smitten with an American pilot (Matheson) who helps them both to freedom. In the meantime, there are threats from a devious doctor (Ferrer), a lecherous Nazi colonel (Durning) and a command for the troupe to perform for the Nazi Army with Hitler in the audience.

There are so many classic moments here that to list them would be a dis-service to the movie. Let me just say that I enjoyed this whole film from opening to closing and even the closing had some doozies.

The Nazis are seen as complete buffoons and the exchanges between Durning and his head officer (Lloyd) are classic. In fact, I can see why Durning was nominated for an Oscar for his role here; not just anyone could have pulled it off as well as he.

Everyone here has a good scene or two, including Mel's regulars (Graham, Wyner, Riley) and the dialogue even manages to get the proper sentiment and tension out of the proper scenes. A great effort by all involved.

Purists of the Jack Benny original may disagree, but this "To Be or Not to Be" is the "to Be" for me!

Ten stars. Mazeltov!


26 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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