6.8/10
9,201
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 »

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

Mel Brooks plays no less than five characters in this movie. These include his main role as actor-theatre manager, Dr. Frederick Bronski; he plays Adolf Hitler on stage in the routine "Nasty Nazis" and in the ruse to evacuate the Polish resistance; Hamlet on the stage where he he says the film's title; and he pretends to be Colonel Erhardt and impersonates Professor Siletski. 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

[Frederick, disguised as Professor Siletski, has to go to Gestapo Headquarters]
Frederick Bronski: Listen, sweetheart, if I don't come back, then I forgive you for anything that happened between you and Lt. Sobinski.
[He opens the door to leave, but turns back]
Frederick Bronski: But if I do come back, you're in a lot of trouble!
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

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

 
Homage to Jack Benny
24 December 2006 | by kb2uoeSee all my reviews

Actually, when interviewed about this movie, Mel Brooks said it was an homage to Jack Benny. And if you look, the Bronskis live on Kubelsky Street, Benny Kubelsky is Jack Benny's real name. There are many other touches that also show Brooks' love for the original. Anne Bancroft is a true treat. Her comedic talents shine, she was truly a rare actress, and will be missed.

It was well done, with Mel Brooksian flair, and respectful of the original. I won't add comments about the acting, there are so many pros and cons at this point, one more won't make a difference. But if you have some free time, see BOTH of the movies. It's not sacrilege to like them both.


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