6.8/10
9,112
36 user 27 critic

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 »

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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:

$13,000,000
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

Twelve years after this movie was released Anne Bancroft & Charles Durning work together again in 1995s "Home For The Holidays" but in that film the play a married couple and parents to the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Holly Hunter, and Cynthia Stevenson. See more »

Goofs

Obvious stunt double for Mel Brooks during the first musical when he and Anne Bancroft are flipping one another over each other's backs. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Erhardt: Cigar? Cigarette? Chocolate-covered nugats?
Frederick Bronski: Chocolate-covered what?
Colonel Erhardt: Nugats!
[Squishing one in his fingers]
Frederick Bronski: No. Thank you.
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 Rhinestone (1984) 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

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User Reviews

a maligned minor classic
18 May 1999 | by Jamie MoffatSee 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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