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To Be or Not to Be Details


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 Shakespearean portion of his act. When the Germans march into Warsaw, the Bronskis and the rest of their troupe are forced into hiding (notably the homosexual Lupinski, played by Lewis J. Stadlen, who is forced to endure the humiliation of wearing a pink star). Flying for the Polish resistance in England, Sobinski asks kindly Professor Seletzky (Jose Ferrer) to deliver his "To Be or Not to Be" message to Anna. When Seletzky doesn't seem to recognize the name of Anne Bronski, Warsaw's biggest star, Sobinski suspects that something is amiss. Sure enough, Seletzky is a Nazi spy, heading to Warsaw to help Col. "Concentration Camp" Ehrhardt (Oscar-nominated Charles Durning) destroy the underground movement. Parachuting into Poland, Sobinski enlists the aid of the Bronski troupe to foil the Nazis. What follows is an uproarious series of disguises and deceptions, capped by Bronski's impersonation of Der Fuhrer. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Amy Bancroft Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1983 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charles Durning Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture 1983 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles Durning Best Supporting Actor 1983 Nominee


Mel Brooks
as Frederick Bronski
Anne Bancroft
as Anna Bronski
Charles Durning
as Col. Erhardt
Tim Matheson
as Lt. Andre Sobinski
José Ferrer
as Prof. Siletski
Christopher Lloyd
as Capt. Schultz
George Gaynes
as Ravitch
George Wyner
as Ratkowski
Jack Riley
as Dobish
Lewis J. Stadlen
as Lupinski
Ronny Graham
as Sondheim
Ivor Barry
as Gen. Hobbs
Scott Beach
as Narrator
Ian Bruce
as Klotskis Klown
John Francis
as British Intelligence Aide
John McKinney
as Elite Guard Officer
Estelle Reiner
as Gruba
Robin Haynes
Paddi Edwards
as Pub Waitress
Wolf Muser
as Desk Sergeant
Curt Lowens
as Airport Officer
Earl Boen
as Dr. Boyarski
Zale Kessler
as Bieler
William Glover
as Maj. Cunningham
Terence Marsh
as Startled British Officer
Raymond Skipp
as RAF Flight Sergeant
John Otrin
as Polish Flier
Leeyan Granger
as Lady
Spencer Henderson
as Klotskis Klown
Eda Reiss Merin
as Frightened Jewish Woman
Henry Kaiser
as Gestapo Officer
Henry Brandon
as Nazi Officer
Blane Savage
as Polish Flier
Ron Kuhlman
as Polish Flier


Alan Johnson
Irene Walzer
Mel Brooks
Ronny Graham
Thomas Meehan
Alan Balsam
Dennis Washington
Production Designer
Terence Marsh
Production Designer
Dennis Washington
Art Director
Irene Walzer
Associate Producer
Howard Jeffrey
Executive Producer
Joe Hubbard
Set Designer
Albert Wolsky
Costume Designer
Charlene Painter