To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  1 February 1984 (France)
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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?


A street sign reads "Kubelski Avenue". To Be or Not to Be (1942) starred Jack Benny, whose real name is Benny Kubelski. See more »


Anne Bancroft's character's name is Anna Bronski. However, it should be Anna Bronska because it is an adjectival surname and all adjectives in Polish have masculine and feminine forms. The endings -i and -y are masculine, the feminine equivalents of adjectival surnames end in -a. See more »


Lieutenant Andre Sobinski: I loved that picture of you on the farm. You behind the plow. By the way, where was that?
Anna Bronski: In the "Chronicle".
Lieutenant Andre Sobinski: No, I mean where's the farm?
Anna Bronski: Oh, the farm. The farm. Well, that's out of town somewhere... You know, that's where they keep them.
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 »


References Naughty Marietta (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

a maligned minor classic
18 May 1999 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

This remake of Ernst Lubitsch's wartime comedy has often been dismissed as a ham-fisted and unnecessary vanity exercise. This is grossly unfair, as the Brooks' version is in fact a deft and funny comedy that stands up well in comparison to its forebear. Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft make their own the roles of the Bronskis, a Warsaw theatrical duo ("world famous in Poland")who star in revues at the Bronski theatre. When war breaks out the Bronskis become brood-hens to an ever-growing community of Jewish refugees while staying one step ahead of the Nazis. Brooks and Bancroft are fine in the roles of the battling Bronskis, particularly Mel Brooks who finds a touching level of vulnerability beneath the bombast and bluster of Frederick Bronski. Despite the farcical and improbable plot twists, the narrative is sound and genuine pathos registers throughout the film. Those with fond memories of Jack Benny and Carole Lombard in the lead roles may have boycotted this on first release, but they have denied themselves a rare treat - a sure-footed and genuinely entertaining film.

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