To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  1 February 1984 (France)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 7,775 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 25 critic

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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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronny Graham ...
Zale Kessler ...
Lewis J. Stadlen ...
James 'Gypsy' Haake ...
Sasha (as James Haake)
Scamp ...
Prof. Siletski (as Jose Ferrer)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


That is the movie!




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1 February 1984 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Soy o no soy  »

Box Office


$13,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


In the Naughty Nazis song, "A Little Piece...", they mention Pakistan as one of the countries. Pakistan was not created until 1947. See more »


Anna Bronski: [Anna has just turned down Erhardt's invitation for supper] I never sup after I've dined.
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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 »


References The 39 Steps (1935) See more »


Sweet Georgia Brown
Written by Ben Bernie (uncredited), Maceo Pinkard (uncredited) and Kenneth Casey (uncredited)
Polish translation by Tad Danielewski
Performed by Mel Brooks (uncredited) and Anne Bancroft (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Homage to Jack Benny
24 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

Actually, when interviewed about this movie, Mel Brooks said it was an homage to Jack Benny. And if you look, the Bronskis live on Kubelsky Street, Benny Kubelsky is Jack Benny's real name. There are many other touches that also show Brooks' love for the original. Anne Bancroft is a true treat. Her comedic talents shine, she was truly a rare actress, and will be missed.

It was well done, with Mel Brooksian flair, and respectful of the original. I won't add comments about the acting, there are so many pros and cons at this point, one more won't make a difference. But if you have some free time, see BOTH of the movies. It's not sacrilege to like them both.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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