6.8/10
9,199
36 user 27 critic

To Be or Not to Be (1983)

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:

$13,030,214

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

Familiar Line: the phrase "Heil myself" was also a song lyric in the stage and film versions of "The Producers" also written by Mel Brooks. See more »

Goofs

When Mel Brooks character's car is being pulled by the horse you can see a line of some sort that is being used either to pull the horse forward or to help the horse pull the car. See more »

Quotes

Anna Bronski: They say its going to be a really cold winter.
Capt. Schultz, of Erhardt's Staff: I don't know anyzing about zat!
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

Featured in An Audience with Mel Brooks (1983) 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-58See 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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