Taglines: That is the movie!
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.
To Be or Not to Be is a 1983 American war comedy film directed by Alan Johnson and produced by Mel Brooks. The screenplay was written by Ronny Graham and Thomas Meehan, based on the original story by Melchior Lengyel, Ernst Lubitsch and Edwin Justus Mayer. A remake of the 1942 film of the same name, the film starred Mel Brooks alongside his wife Anne Bancroft; Tim Matheson, Charles Durning, Christopher Lloyd, and José Ferrer also had starring roles.
This remake was mostly faithful to the 1942 film on which it was based and, in many cases, dialogue was taken verbatim from the earlier film. The characters of Bronski and Joseph Tura are, however, combined into a single character (played by Brooks). The character of the treacherous Professor Siletsky (here spelled Siletski) was made into a more comic, even somewhat buffoonish, figure; in the original he was the only completely serious character.
Instead of having the company preparing for Hamlet, Bronski performs his “world famous, in Poland” highlights from Hamlet, including the To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy, from which the film’s name is taken. His dresser, Anna, has been replaced with Sasha, allowing them to address the plight of gay people under the Nazis, as well as the Jews.
To Be or Not to Be (1983)
Directed by: Alan Johnson
Starring: Mel Brooks, Anne Bancroft, Ronny Graham, Estelle Reiner, Zale Kessler, Jack Riley, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Durning
Screenplay by: Thomas Meehan, Ronny Graham
Production Design by: Terence Marsh
Cinematography by: Gerald Hirschfeld
Film Editing by: Alan Balsam
Costume Design by: Albert Wolsky
Set Decoration by: John Franco Jr.
Art Direction by: J. Dennis Washington
Music by: John Morris
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: December 16, 1983