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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Sound of Music is rich in character, music, and story, as well as filled with positive messages. In the final 10 minutes there are a number of suspenseful scenes that may be frightening for some children, including the main character being held at gunpoint. Kids might be curious to learn more about Nazis and World War II after watching this movie. There’s some moderate alcohol consumption and one character smokes. The romantic scenes are limited to gentle embraces and brief chaste kisses.
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What's the story?
The beloved musical THE SOUND OF MUSIC tells the fictionalized love story of Maria von Trapp (Julie Andrews), who does not fit into the abbey where she lives. While she means well, she's constantly in trouble. The wise abbess sends her away to be the governess for the seven children of stern widower Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). The children are uncooperative until Maria wins them over, sharing her love of music and teaching them to sing. The captain's friend Max wants the kids to sing at the local festival, but the stern captain refuses -- at first. But when the captain hosts a ball, he begins to notice a certain singing governess more than he should (he's been wooing an uppity baroness and had intended to propose). At the same time, Nazi sympathizers are moving into his beloved Austria and preparing to take over -- and he'll be expected to join them. In the end, he chooses Maria, and entering the singing contest turns into an escape from the Nazis.
Is it any good?
This classic film is filled with glorious songs ("Do-Re-Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss, "So Long, Farewell") and has plenty for hopeless romantics to enjoy. Especially sweet is the song "Something Good," which the captain and Maria sing to each other. The Sound of Music also effectively works in the tension and foreboding of the time period. Everyone in Austria has to make a choice when the Nazis arrive. The beau of Liesl, the captain's oldest daughter, becomes so committed to the Nazis that he's willing to betray the young woman he cared for. Even the nuns in the abbey must make a choice. It's worth discussing with older kids why this was such a tense time and why the Von Trapps made the painful decision to flee the country they loved.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how The Sound of Music compares to more recent musical films. How is this one different or similar? What makes this movie a classic?
Talk about the songs in the movie. What does the song, "Climb Every Mountain" mean? What about "My Favorite Things"? If you were going to write the song, what would be on your list of favorite things?
How do the filmmakers create tension in the last few minutes of the movie? What effects do they use? How do you feel when watching the ending?
- In theaters: March 2, 1965
- On DVD or streaming: August 13, 2002
- Cast: Charmian Carr, Christopher Plummer, Julie Andrews
- Director: Robert Wise
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: History, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Courage, Humility, Integrity
- Run time: 174 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
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