6.8/10
9,503
36 user 28 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 »

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 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

The opening song-and-dance number "Sweet Georgia Brown" featuring Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft was a comic rehash in Polish of the old "Ginger and Fred" Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers song-and-dance number. The routine maintains the tradition of his movies featuring a wacky song-and-dance number, even though he is neither writer nor director of this film, but producer. See more »

Goofs

Kinski displays a pink triangle on his lapels when going out, explaining this to be mandatory for gay men. Even though Jews were forced to wear the infamous yellow badge in public in occupied Poland after November 1939, gays were not subject to this practice of public discrimination. Pink badges were used exclusively inside concentration camps. See more »

Quotes

Anna Bronski: Oh, but that's enough talk about me. Let's talk about you. How'd you like me in the first act?
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

Spoofs A Little Night Music (1977) 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

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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