• To Be or Not to Be (1942)

To Be or Not to Be

Release Date: 1942

DVD Release Date: March 1st, 2005

Not Yet Rated |1 hr 39 min

Plot Summary

Acting couple Joseph (Jack Benny) and Maria Tura (Carole Lombard) are managing a theatrical troupe when the Nazis invade Poland. Maria is having an affair with Lieutenant Sobinski (Robert Stack), who suspects Professor Siletsky (Stanley Ridges) is a Nazi spy. With Siletsky in possession of a list of members of the Polish resistance, the Turas' company takes action. Using their skill for impersonation, Joseph and company must confuse the Nazis and stop Siletsky from handing over the list.

Cast: Carol Lombard, Jack Benny, Robert Stack, Felix Bressart, Lionel Atwill, Stanley Ridges, Sig Ruman, Tom Dugan

Director: Ernst Lubitsch

Genres: Comedy

Production Co: Ernst Lubitsch-Film

Keywords: Love triangle, Suspenseful, Madcap, Hilarious, 1930s, 1940s

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Ed GonzalezSlant Magazine

    Many of the film’s pleasures, then, derive from watching these characters successfully use the tools of the stage (improvisation, sense memory, prosthetics) to successfully subvert the Nazis. show more

  • 100
    Keith PhippsThe Dissolve

    To Be Or Not To Be works as both comedy and thriller, ratcheting up the tension and humor as the actors’ scheme threatens to fall apart, and the gags build on one another. show more

  • 100
    Time Out

    It's certainly one of the finest comedies ever to come out of Paramount, the allegations of dubious taste missing the point of Lubitsch's satire - not so much the general nastiness of the Nazis as their unforgiveable bad manners. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com


Nominated Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture)