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To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not to Be (1983)

tomatometer

60

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

77

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 2,969

My Rating

Movie Info

Mel Brooks and his real-life wife Anne Bancroft play Frederick and Anna Bronski, musical comedy stars in 1939 Poland. The highlight of the Bronskis' act is Frederick's imitation of Adolf Hitler, but he is forced to eliminate this turn for fear of offending the Nazis. Meanwhile, Anna enters into a harmless flirtation with Polish bomber pilot Andre Sobinski (Tim Matheson). The pilot's nightly signal to visit Anna in her dressing room is "To Be or Not to Be," spoken by Bronski during the

Jan 25, 2005

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All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (6) | DVD (6)

Bancroft's sustained delights are not matched by Brooks, who seems to be trying too hard.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Johnson may not quite have Lubitsch's lightness of touch, but he puts an excellent cast through their paces with great verve, and the charm is as potent as ever.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Brooks combines a backstage musical with a wartime romance and comes up with an eclectic comedy that races off into several directions, usually successfully.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ssmashingly funny.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I can't remember another film that took so little care with the details of ambience: the cruddy sets and flat, underworked sound track drain any sense of life from the project.

February 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The plot is much the same as in the Ernst Lubitsch original, with everything played for laughs and Brooks at his funniest in impersonations of Nazis. What's missing is the relevance of the 1942 film, released while Germany occupied Poland.

May 23, 2011 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A very well-executed farce, and Brooks' most underrated movie.

October 9, 2005 Full Review Source: FulvueDrive-in.com
FulvueDrive-in.com

Superfluous remake of the Lubitsch classic is OK on its own merits, but no more.

May 26, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Kind of a dud.

May 20, 2004 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

This movie has its moments; but it is not as funny as the Jack Benny original; Brooks for all his wit, is no Ernst Lubitsch.

May 1, 2004
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

Brooks and his comedic cohorts bring their brand of high-strung mockery to Alan Johnson's flavorable farce...relentlessly riotous!

May 30, 2003
TheWorldJournal.com

Audience Reviews for To Be or Not to Be

Very funny remake of a zany original. One of my favorite Mel Brooks films.
June 8, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

Excellent and long forgotten spoof from funny man Brooks, his version of a classic satire. Some excellent casting with his regular bunch of misfits and character actors...Chris Lloyd, Charles Durning, George Wyner, George Gaynes etc..Its quite a touching little plot too, but ultimately very funny and quite witty, especially loving Lloyd and Durning as nazi soldiers :)
October 11, 2011
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

The Nazis march into Poland and that spells big trouble for the greatest musical comedy star there (and his wife) --- the premise itself is a joke in this mostly-for-the-fun-of-it remake. Its not the original, true, but its fun watching the cast have fun funning the idea of a master race, all who are portrayed as anything but that. Sometimes the kraut accents sound as bad as your friends doing it and the sets look only a little better than that.
September 2, 2011
ApeneckFletcher

Super Reviewer

Lighthearted remake of the classic Benny/Lombard film. Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft seem to be having lots of fun while handling the serious moments well. The supporting cast couldn't be better. A winner.
November 14, 2009
jjnxn
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • To Be or Not to Be (1983) (DE)
  • To Be or Not to Be (1983) (UK)
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