The Sound of Music

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1965
  • Running Time: 174 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Outstanding family film features glorious music.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 1965
  • Running Time: 174 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

In addition to the strong role models and positive ideals presented, this film is an introduction to the tensions that led up to World War II. It shows an idyllic Austrian city (Salzburg) as the Germans took over and began to change the course of history.

Positive messages

Find your place in life and live it to the fullest. Gentleness and warmth, in combination with some discipline, bring out the best in people, particularly children. Courage and sometimes difficult choices, even leaving your home and friends behind, are necessary to fight against an oppressive government. It’s essential to find that courage and stand up for your beliefs.

Positive role models

Maria is virtuous, loving, brave, and honest. Her motives are pure and she’s an exemplary surrogate mother. Captain Von Trapp, a good man at heart, learns some valuable lessons about love and good parenting. The leading characters stand tall as they refuse to obey the orders of an occupying army and government that are evil.

Violence & scariness

Soldiers confront the Von Trapp family as they prepare to leave Austria for the safety of Switzerland. After the family makes a daring escape, there are tense moments as the soldiers, with shadowy flashlights in the darkness, search the local abbey where the family is hiding. One young Nazi sympathizer holds Captain Von Trapp at gunpoint.

Sexy stuff

A teen couple embraces and dances together. There’s a tender romantic scene as Maria and Captain Von Trapp kiss gently and reveal their love for one another.


“Heil Hitler” in several scenes.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Wine and champagne are served with restraint in a few social situations. The baroness smokes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic film 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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

This beloved musical 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?


THE SOUND OF MUSIC is filled with glorious songs ("Do-Re-Mi," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss, "So Long, Farewell") and has plenty for hopeless romantics to enjoy -- especially the sweet song, "Something Good," that the captain sings to Maria. It 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the movie 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?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 2, 1965
DVD release date:August 13, 2002
Cast:Charmian Carr, Christopher Plummer, Julie Andrews
Director:Robert Wise
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:History, Music and sing-along
Run time:174 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Sound of Music was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 2 year old Written byletticepalmer February 19, 2011

Musical Numbers Great For All Ages!

We have been showing our 2 year old the musical numbers and he loves them. Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, So Long, Farewell, and Lonely Goatherd all are fantastic out of context. We have tried to watch the movie with him from the beginning, but in the first 30 minutes so much of it was going over his head that he quickly lost interest and walked up to the TV to turn it off. We'll just stick to the musical parts until he is quite a bit older.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 4 year old Written bystarbuck65 October 17, 2009

Excellent for a musically inclined, thoughtful child

This was a huge hit with my 4 year old daughter. She's seen it dozens of times by now, though rarely all the way through because it's long. Parts of it took some explaining, of course, but most of the characters are readily understandable and the songs are instantly accessible and addictive. I'm not sure there's a better way for a child to first encounter the huge topic of the Nazis: they're introduced well into the film as obviously bad but in a very nondescript way, they're ominous but not explicitly violent.
Parent of a 3 year old Written byAmyWP September 8, 2010

First half perfect for preschoolers

Our 3.5 year old daughter adores this movie, but she only sees the 1st half of the show (we end it after "So Long, Farewell"). I think that the chase & gun scenes later in the movie would be very scary to her right now, but the 1st half of the movie is just right for a preschooler with lots of singing, dancing, etc. A bonus for our household: The scene with "My Favorite Things" features a thunderstorm, which has made our daughter less fearful about lightning and thunder in general.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models


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