To Be or Not to Be

1983

To Be or Not to Be

Critics Consensus

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61%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 18

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,112
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Movie Info

Mel Brooks and his wife Anne Bancroft co-star in this funny remake of a 1942 comedy of the same title, based on a story by Ernst Lubitsch and Melchior Lengyel about a down-and-out Warsaw theater troupe who save the Polish resistance fighters from the SS in World War II. Frederick Bronski (Brooks) leads a struggling theatrical company that offers anything -- from excerpts of Hamlet to stock vaudeville -- if it will pull in an audience. Unknown to Frederick, his wife Anna Bronski (Anne Bancroft) starts up an extra-marital interest in a Polish pilot (Tim Matheson) that could lead to a large-scale disaster. The pilot unknowingly reveals the names of the Bronskis and several resistance fighters to an SS spy (José Ferrer), and by the time he finds out what he has done, he is in London, so he is forced to return surreptitiously to Warsaw as fast as he can to stop the list of names from landing in the hands of the SS chief (Charles Durning). Once the theater troupe is called in to help on this mission, the comedy begins in earnest with the actors donning the guise of Nazis, and Anna seguing into "seductions" of the SS spy and his chief as a part of their battle plan.

Cast

Mel Brooks
as Frederick Bronski
Anne Bancroft
as Anna Bronski
Tim Matheson
as Lt. Andre Sobinski
Charles Durning
as Col. Erhardt
José Ferrer
as Prof. Siletski
Christopher Lloyd
as Capt. Schultz
George Wyner
as Ratkowski
Jack Riley
as Dobish
James Haake and Scamp
as Sasha and Mutki
RONNY GRAHAM
as Sondheim
Earl Boen
as Dr. Boyarski
Ivor Barry
as Gen. Hobbs
William Glover
as Maj. Cunningham
John Francis
as British Intelligence Aide
Raymond Skipp
as RAF Flight Sergeant
Larry Rosenberg
as Rifka's Husband
Max Brooks
as Rifka's Son
Henry Kaiser
as Gestapo Officer
Henry Brandon
as Nazi Officer
Milt Jamin
as Gestapo Soldier
George Caldwell
as Gestapo Guard
Wolf Muser
as Desk Sergeant
Robert B. Goldberg
as Hitler Adjutant
John McKinney
as Elite Guard Officer
Eda Reiss Merin
as Frightened Jewish Woman
Manny Kleinmuntz
as Husband of Jewish Woman
Phil Adams
as Airport Sentry
Curt Lowens
as Airport Officer
Ron Diamond
as Pub Bartender
Gillian Eaton
as Pub Barmaid
Paddi Edwards
as Pub Waitress
Winnie McCarthy
as Picadilly Usherette
Ian Bruce
as Klotskis Klown
Terence Marsh
as Startled British Officer
Spencer Henderson
as Klotskis Klown
Tucker Smith
as Klotskis Klown
Robin Haynes
as Polish Flier
Ron Kuhlman
as Polish Flier
John Otrin
as Polish Flier
Blane Savage
as Polish Flier
Joey Sheck
as Polish Flier
Scott Beach
as Narrator
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Critic Reviews for To Be or Not to Be

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (7)

Audience Reviews for To Be or Not to Be

  • Jan 08, 2015
    Pretty funny. Normally I'm not a big fan of movies with Mel Brooks in them, although I am a fan of his writing. I feel like his comedic acting is too obvious most of the time, like he doesn't think the audience understands subtlety. Here however, he does a surprisingly good job. As long as you can stand the really dark humor in this film, you'll find it's pretty funny. Story-wise, it's pretty good too.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2014
    A farcical comedy, To Be or Not to Be is a fun and outlandish spoof of World War II. Set amidst the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of Poland, a small theater company attempts to stop the Nazi High Command from getting a list of the Polish underground. Starring Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, George Wyner, and Christopher Lloyd, the film has a hysterical cast that does well with this type of broad comedy. Brooks is especially good; stealing nearly every scene he's in. However, the storytelling's not that great and jumps around a little too much; not allowing enough time to establish the characters. So while To Be or Not to Be delivers a lot of laughs, it's a bit messy.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 08, 2013
    Because of Brooks' involvement, the humor is of a decidedly wackier nature than the original and while that isn't bad (there are a lot of great moments) it does mean that the serious elements of the story feel more out of place here.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • May 23, 2013
    Very funny remake of a zany original. One of my favorite Mel Brooks films.
    Christian C Super Reviewer

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