6.8/10
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To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG | | Comedy | 16 December 1983 (USA)
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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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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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 ...
...
...
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

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That is the movie!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Soy o no soy  »

Box Office

Gross:

$13,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The novelty rap song "To Be or Not to Be (The Hitler Rap)" is not actually heard in the movie, but it does feature on this movie's soundtrack. The song was a music video tie-in for the movie, and was also release as a 45 rpm single on vinyl. The song peaked at the number twelve spot on the UK Singles Chart during February 1984, and in the same year at number three on the Australian Singles Chart (Kent Music Report). The song was banned from being broadcast on television and radio in Germany, making it a highly controversial and politically sensitive single in that country. This was due to is treatment of Nazi involvement in World War II. 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

Frederick Bronski: When this is allover, I'm gonna get you everything you need. You need a coat... you need a dress... you need shoes.
[Rubbing Andre's face, thinking he's Anna]
Frederick Bronski: and you need a shave...
[he thinks]
Frederick Bronski: ... a shave?
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 The Producers (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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