IMDb > To Be or Not to Be (1983)
To Be or Not to Be
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To Be or Not to Be (1983) More at IMDbPro »

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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Thomas Meehan (screenplay) &
Ronny Graham (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for To Be or Not to Be on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 February 1984 (France) See more »
That is the movie!
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... See more » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for Oscar. Another 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
The Lubitsch Touch Or The Brooks Touch See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Ronny Graham ... Sondheim

Estelle Reiner ... Gruba
Zale Kessler ... Bieler

Jack Riley ... Dobish
Lewis J. Stadlen ... Lupinsky

George Gaynes ... Ravitch

George Wyner ... Ratkowski
James 'Gypsy' Haake ... Sasha (as James Haake)
Scamp ... Mutki

Christopher Lloyd ... Capt. Schultz

José Ferrer ... Prof. Siletski (as Jose Ferrer)

Charles Durning ... Col. Erhardt

Tim Matheson ... Lt. Andre Sobinski

Mel Brooks ... Dr. Frederick Bronski

Anne Bancroft ... Anna Bronski

Earl Boen ... Dr. Boyarski
Ivor Barry ... General Hobbs
William Glover ... Major Cunningham

John H. Francis ... British Intelligence Aide (as John Francis)
Raymond Skipp ... R.A.F. Flight Sergeant
Marley Sims ... Rifka
Larry Rosenberg ... Rifka's Husband

Max Brooks ... Rifka's Son
Henry Kaiser ... Gestapo Officer
Milt Jamin ... Gestapo Soldier
George Caldwell ... Gestapo Guard
Wolf Muser ... Desk Sergeant

Henry Brandon ... Nazi Officer
Lee E. Stevens ... 2nd Nazi Officer
Frank Lester ... Officer in Command Car
Roy Goldman ... Hitler
Robert Goldberg ... Hitler Adjutant
John McKinney ... Elite Guard Officer
Eda Reiss Merin ... Frightened Jewish Woman
Manny Kleinmuntz ... Frightened Jewish Woman's Husband
Phil Adams ... Airport Sentry
Curt Lowens ... Airport Officer
Robin Haynes ... Polish Flier
Ron Kuhlman ... Polish Flier

John Otrin ... Polish Flier
Blane Savage ... Polish Flier
Joey Sheck ... Polish Flier
Ron Diamond ... Pub Bartender
Gillian Eaton ... Pub Barmaid

Paddi Edwards ... Pub Waitress
Terence Marsh ... Startled British Officer
Winnie McCarthy ... Picadilly Usherette
Paul Ratliff ... Naval Officer
Scott Beach ... Narrator
Sandra Gray ... Lady
Clare Culhane ... Lady
Laurie Manning ... Lady (as Lainie Manning)
Leeyan Granger ... Lady
Antoinette Yuskis ... Lady (as Antonette Yuskis)
Stephanie Wingate ... Lady
Ian Bruce ... Klotski's Klown
John Frayer ... Klotski's Klown
Edward J. Heim ... Klotski's Klown
Spencer Henderson ... Klotski's Klown
George Jayne ... Klotski's Klown
Bill K. Richards ... Klotski's Klown
Neil J. Schwartz ... Klotski's Klown

Tucker Smith ... Klotski's Klown
Ted Sprague ... Klotski's Klown
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Patrice Cole ... Theater Patron (uncredited)

Richard Halpern ... Theater Patron (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Johnson 
Writing credits
Thomas Meehan (screenplay) &
Ronny Graham (screenplay)

Edwin Justus Mayer (1942 screenplay)

Melchior Lengyel (story)

Ernst Lubitsch  story (uncredited)

Produced by
Mel Brooks .... producer
Howard Jeffrey .... executive producer
Irene Walzer .... associate producer
Original Music by
John Morris 
Cinematography by
Gerald Hirschfeld (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Alan Balsam 
Casting by
Terry Liebling 
Production Design by
Terence Marsh 
Art Direction by
J. Dennis Washington 
Set Decoration by
John Franco Jr. 
Costume Design by
Albert Wolsky 
Makeup Department
John M. Elliott Jr. .... makeup artist (as John M. Elliot Jr.)
Cheri Ruff .... hair stylist
Production Management
Jack Frost Sanders .... production manager
Jack Frost Sanders .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ross G. Brown .... assistant director
Pamela M. Eilerson .... second assistant director (as Pamela Eilerson)
Dennis Maguire .... dga trainee (as Dennis P. Maguire)
Art Department
Craig Edgar .... set designer
Joseph E. Hubbard .... set designer
Guy A. MacLaury .... construction foreman (as Guy Allan MacLaury)
Mary Mathews .... assistant property master
William S. Maxwell III .... leadman (as William Maxwell III)
Dennis J. Parrish .... property master
Hope M. Parrish .... assistant property master (as Hope Parrish)
John A. Scott III .... swing gang (as John Scott III)
S. Bruce Wineinger .... construction coordinator
Steven Kerlagon .... stand-by painter (uncredited)
Robert Van Dyke .... propmaker gangboss (uncredited)
Peter Van Zyl .... greensman (uncredited)
Sound Department
Raul A. Bruce .... boom operator
Gene S. Cantamessa .... production sound mixer
Louis L. Edemann .... supervising sound editor
Richard C. Franklin .... sound editor (as Rick Franklin)
Gregg Landaker .... sound re-recording mixer
Steve Maslow .... sound re-recording mixer
Bill Varney .... sound re-recording mixer
Greg Orloff .... foley recordist (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Phil Abramson .... visual effects designer (uncredited)
Roy Arbogast .... visual effects designer (uncredited)
Robert Blalack .... optical effects (uncredited)
Chuck Comisky .... visual effects producer (uncredited)
Christopher Dusendschon .... optical compositor (uncredited)
David Emerson .... optical lineup (uncredited)
Alan G. Markowitz .... visual effects (uncredited)
Austin McKinney .... visual effects (uncredited)
Rexford L. Metz .... visual effects director of photography (uncredited)
Christopher Nibley .... visual effects director of photography (uncredited)
Mark M. Pompian .... visual effects camera operator (uncredited)
Chris Regan .... optical supervisor (uncredited)
Jay Riddle .... visual effects coordinator (uncredited)
Robert Skotak .... visual effects (uncredited)
Bernie Godlove .... stunt pilot
Buddy Joe Hooker .... stunts
Harvey Parry .... stunts
Art Scholl .... stunt pilot
Dick Ziker .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Billy Beaird .... dolly grip (as Bill Beaird)
Mike Benson .... camera operator (as Michael A. Benson)
Michael W. Blymyer .... best boy (as Michael Blymyer)
Alfred Budniak .... best boy (as Al Budniak)
Joe Collins .... best boy
Lindsay P. Hill .... video playback operator
Marc Hirschfeld .... assistant camera (as Marc D. Hirschfeld)
Ronald W. McLeish .... gaffer
Charles L. Sereci .... best boy (as Chuck Sereci)
Stephen Vaughan .... still photographer
Robert West Sr. .... key grip
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Bruce Ericksen .... costume supervisor: men
Ann Somers Major .... costume supervisor: women
Editorial Department
Nancy Forner .... assistant editor
Jack Hooper .... negative cutter
Patrick Magee .... apprentice editor (as Patrick W. Magee)
Music Department
Ralph Burns .... orchestrator
Jack Hayes .... orchestrator
Eugene Marks .... music editor
Dan Wallin .... music scoring mixer (as Danny Wallin)
Greg Fulginiti .... music engineer (uncredited)
Tommy Tedesco .... musician: guitar (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Michael Connolly .... transportation coordinator
Steve Bonner .... picture car coordinator (uncredited)
Other crew
William Allyn .... production suggested by
Bruce Bahrenburg .... unit publicist
Penny Brocato .... craft service
Bart Doe .... title illustrator
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer
Stanley Gibbs .... production assistant
Tom Gillman .... assistant: Mr. Johnson
Iwona Izdebska .... dialogue coach: Polish
K. Lenna Katich .... production controller (as K. Lenna Woodward)
David Lunney .... production suggested by
Michele Markus .... assistant: Mr. Brooks
Princess O'Mahoney .... production assistant (as Princess McLean)
Charlene Painter .... assistant choreographer: Mr. Johnson
Pattie Pica .... assistant: Mr. Jeffrey
Cynnie Troup .... script supervisor
John R. Woodward .... location manager
Anna Zappia .... production coordinator
Leah Zappy .... assistant: Mr. Brooks (as Leah S. Zappy)
Art Scholl .... pilot (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
107 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Though this is the first time that Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft actively star-teamed together, they had actually appeared in a number of the same productions prior to this as they had been married for several years.See more »
Anachronisms: In the Naughty Nazis song, "A Little Piece...", they mention Pakistan as one of the countries. Pakistan was not created until 1947.See more »
Frederick Bronski:Sondheim! Send in the clowns!See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Producers (2005)See more »
Sweet Georgia BrownSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
3 out of 3 people found the following review useful.
The Lubitsch Touch Or The Brooks Touch, 5 June 2009
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

Rather than a satire of a film classic like Frankenstein or a genre of films like the western was done in Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks chose for the one and only time to do a remake of an already very funny film with the classic To Be Or Not To Be. 40 years later the Brooks remake has lost none of the laughs from the original, in fact Brooks could now talk about things unmentionable when Hollywood was under the Code.

The 1942 original film that starred Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, and Robert Stack in the roles that Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, and Tim Matheson play here, was a sophisticated comedy that was not well received when first out, many thought the Nazis were no subject to joke about during wartime. Over time it gained acceptance as yet another of the masterpieces that Ernest Lubitsch did over his career. It may have been Jack Benny's best big screen performance. It was also Carole Lombard's farewell performance.

Benny's comedy was droll, Brooks's humor hits you with a sledgehammer. Still the different approach works out in this remake. Anne Bancroft is more than a good substitute for Carole Lombard, in fact she's as funny in this as Lombard ever was on the screen.

Many years ago one of my supervisors knew Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft and he told us at work that her image as a great dramatic actress, whose two career roles are in The Graduate and The Miracle Worker was a total fabrication. Mel Brooks he said was as zany a man in private as he was in film. But he also said that Bancroft was even zanier than he was and had few times to display that in public. In that sense the two were a perfectly matched couple. My supervisor said he lived in the same building as they did in Greenwich Village and got to know both of them.

Mel Brooks got to show the effect of the Holocaust to come on gays in one of the first films to acknowledge that publicly. One of the touching performances in the supporting cast is by James Haake as Sascha the dresser for Bancroft who gets a one way ticket to a concentration camp, but the trip gets put on hold permanently by his friends in the theater. Charles Durning also does well as Gestapo head in Warsaw who gets constantly bamboozled almost like World War II era film Nazis by Brooks's ingenuity and his theater troupe who give the best performances of their lives. And we can't forget Jose Ferrer adding yet another ethnic group to his repertoire as the Polish traitor Siletsky.

If you're not a fan of Mel Brooks you will become one after you see any of his films. And this review is dedicated to the late Robert Peregoff, one of my supervisors at work who provided me the insights I got into the Brooks-Bancroft screen and life partnership.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (31 total) »

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This movie proves that Carlin was right! Jaymez82
Mel & Anne AgnesGooch
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