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To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  1 February 1984 (France)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 7,459 users  
Reviews: 32 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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Title: To Be or Not to Be (1983)

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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)
...
...
...
...
Edit

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

Mel Brooks tells a character named Sondheim to "Send in the clowns!" Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim wrote the song "Send in the Clowns" for his musical "A Little Night Music." See more »

Goofs

Kinski displays a pink triangle on his lapels when going out, explaining this to be mandatory for gay men. Even though Jews were forced to wear the infamous yellow badge in public in occupied Poland after November 1939, gays were not subject to this practice of public discrimination. Pink badges were used exclusively inside concentration camps. See more »

Quotes

Anna Bronski: All these flowers on a Lieutenant's pay, you shouldn't have.
Lieutenant Andre Sobinski: That's OK. My father is a florist.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the credits at the end, Anne Bancroft's name first appears in parenthesis, until Mel Brooks "waves" them off. This is a reference to a poster in the movie that has Anna Bronski's name in parenthesis. See more »

Connections

References The 39 Steps (1935) 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

 
The most under rated Brooks film
6 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When I saw this I had no idea it was a remake. I didn't know the original had been rated the 49th best comedy of all time by the AFI or that Brooks neither wrote nor directed it.

What I knew was that from the moment it started to the moment the curtains came down I was laughing nonstop in awe of an incredible plot. The film managed to escalate with each passing scene. Just when you thought nothing more could be done to it, they managed to push it further and further. Brook's performance was dead on, as was the entire casts. It's the sort of movie that gives Christopher Loyd only seven or eight lines, and you love him for it and need to ask for anything more.

It continually makes fun itself, building on jokes you thought were over half a movie ago. I'd place this movie above Spaceballs and below Men in Tights, but would say that it is without a doubt the best plot of any movie I've seen in some time, comedy or otherwise.

This is a movie that you should waste no time seeking out and renting, buying, seeing in whatever way you can.

Still not sold? I'll retell one of the jokes. Don't read further if you want the first five minutes to be as fresh as they were for me - if you're debating whether to see it or not, I hope this is able to sway you.

They're in a theater, putting on a show. We hear the Polish songs - not quite sure what they're singing about. The curtain comes down on the two actors smiling and bowing together as the audience claps. The moment the audience can no longer see them the actors start bickering in Polish. We're not sure what they're discussing, but it's clearly a heated debate. The curtain then comes up, they immediately are smiling, bowing, curtain comes down once again and it's back to the Polish bickering. They continue bickering, stopping for an announcement over the loudspeakers in this vaudeville theater. "Attention, for the Sanity and Clarity of the Audience the rest of this movie will be English"

Then the movie switches into English, and the plot begins.


12 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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