To Be or Not to Be (1983)

To Be or Not to Be



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In late 1930s Poland, a troupe of musical comedy actors are forced into hiding and soon find themselves involved in a farcical plot to foil a group of Nazis. Real-life spouses Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft star in this remake of the 1940s Ernest Lubitsch classic.

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Melchior Lengyel, Ernst Lubitsch, Edwin Justus Mayer, Thomas Meehan, RONNY GRAHAM
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 25, 2005
20th Century Fox Film Corporation



as Frederick Bronski

as Anna Bronski

as Lt. Andre Sobinski

as Col. Erhardt

as Prof. Siletski

as Ravitch

as Ratkowski

as Dobish

as Lupinski

as Sasha and Mutki

as Sondheim

as Bieler

as Dr. Boyarski

as Gen. Hobbs

as Maj. Cunningham

as British Intelligence...

as RAF Flight Sergeant

as Rifka's Husband

as Rifka's Son

as Nazi Officer

as Gestapo Soldier

as Gestapo Guard

as Desk Sergeant

as Hitler Adjutant

as Elite Guard Officer

as Frightened Jewish Wo...

as Husband of Jewish Wo...

as Airport Sentry

as Airport Officer

as Pub Bartender

as Pub Barmaid

as Pub Waitress

as Klotskis Klown

as Picadilly Usherette

as Startled British Off...

as Klotskis Klown

as Polish Flier

as Polish Flier

as Polish Flier

as Polish Flier

as Polish Flier

as Narrator

as Klotskis Klown
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for To Be or Not to Be

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top 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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Ssmashingly funny.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top 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.

Full Review… | February 1, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 23, 2011
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for To Be or Not to Be

Very funny remake of a zany original. One of my favorite Mel Brooks films.

Christian C

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 :)

Phil Hubbs

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.

Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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