6.9/10
10,225
42 user 33 critic

To Be or Not to Be (1983)

Trailer
3:22 | Trailer
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 »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ronny Graham ... Sondheim
Estelle Reiner ... Gruba
Zale Kessler Zale Kessler ... Bieler
Jack Riley ... Dobish
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 | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During World War II, Mel Brooks served as a Corporal in the U.S. Army in France, where part of his duties included defusing land-mines before the infantry moved into the area. Brooks fought in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944. Charles Durning, who plays the Nazi S.S. commander, Colonel Erhardt, was also a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, and was present at the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Buchenwald. See more »

Goofs

The Piccadilly Theatre is spelled "Picadilly". See more »

Quotes

Colonel Erhardt: [referring to Capt. Schultz] I've always suspected zumzing wrong vit a man who does not drink or shmoke...
Frederick Bronski: You mean like our FUHRER?
Colonel Erhardt: Yes... NO!
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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 Musical Mel: Inventing 'The Inquisition' (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Ladies
Music & Lyrics by Mel Brooks and Ronny Graham
Performed by Mel Brooks (uncredited)
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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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polish

Release Date:

16 December 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

To Be or Not to Be See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,020,958, 18 December 1983

Gross USA:

$13,030,214

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,030,214
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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