6.8/10
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To Be or Not to Be (1983)

PG | | Comedy | 16 December 1983 (USA)
At the onset of WW2, a Polish actor's family and the Polish Resistance help the troupe of a theatre escape Poland and the invading Nazis.

Director:

Alan Johnson

Writers:

Thomas Meehan (screenplay), Ronny Graham (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronny Graham Ronny Graham ... Sondheim
Estelle Reiner ... Gruba
Zale Kessler Zale Kessler ... Bieler
Jack Riley ... Dobish
Lewis J. Stadlen Lewis J. Stadlen ... Lupinsky
George Gaynes ... Ravitch
George Wyner ... Ratkowski
James 'Gypsy' Haake James 'Gypsy' Haake ... Sasha (as James Haake)
Scamp 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
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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

Taglines:

That is the movie!

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polish

Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Soy o no soy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,020,958, 18 December 1983, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,030,214

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,428,181
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This movie's title, as with the earlier version To Be or Not to Be (1942), is taken from a line in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", written around the year 1600. The "To be or not to be" line is one of the most famous quotations in literature, taken from Hamlet's soliloquy. As both versions of this film involve a Polish theatrical troupe, this is therefore explains the relevance of the line as a film title. The speech it appears in: "To be or not to be - that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune: Or to take arms against a sea of troubles. And by opposing end them. To die--to sleep, No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to: 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream--ay, there's the rub: For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause--there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life. For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th'oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of dispriz'd love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th'unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovere'd country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pitch and moment With this regard their currents turn awry And lose the name of action." See more »

Goofs

On his way back to Poland to find and kill Professor Siletski, the plane flies through a region with high mountain areas, and when Lt. Sobinski jumps, his parachute unfolds, while in the background the same scene is shown. There are high mountain ranges in Poland, but they are far from Warsaw, where the Lt. said he would go as quickly as possible in order to prevent the Professor from reaching the Gestapo with his list. See more »

Quotes

Sasha: Enter, Andre Sobinski.
Anna Bronski: Exit, Sasha Kinski.
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

Referenced in The Carer (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

A Little Peace
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks and Ronny Graham
Performed by Mel Brooks (uncredited), George Wyner (uncredited) and George Gaynes (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Overlooked
7 November 1999 | by CHARLIE-89See all my reviews

I've been a big fan of the Jack Benny movie since I was 10 years old. Then, just earlier this year, I sought out the Mel Brooks version. I had become a huge Mel Brooks fan and he is now my favorite entertainer. So I thought I'd see this version just because I sorta kinda had to as a Mel Brooks fanatic. My grandfather (also a big Mel Brooks fan) had seen the film on its release back in 1984 and thought it was a kind of pale copy of the Jack Benny version, which he loves too. But I personally thought that the film was a brilliant motion picture and contained more laffs and better music than the original. This quickly became one of my favorite Mel Brooks movies (even though he didn't direct or write it!) The supporting cast is great, in a different way than the original. Instead of trying to merely copy the original performances, they create their own, equally-funny ones, especially Charles Durning and Christopher Lloyd. Jose Ferrer was great. That underrated Jewish character comic George Wyner was also as funny as ever. Even Ronny Graham had a role as Sondheim("Sondheim, send in the Klowns!") James Haake as Sasha gave a brilliant performance. I wish he'd won an Oscar. Tim Matheson was good in his kind of bland role as the Polish Flier. But of course, the stars are Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. Their highlights together include a Polish version of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Brooks sings "A Little Peace," "Ladies," and (on the soundtrack album only) "The Hitler Rap."


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