The Sound of Music
By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Outstanding family film features glorious music.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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. Characters demonstrate integrity, humility, and courage.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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"Heil Hitler" in several scenes.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine and champagne are served with restraint in a few social situations. The baroness smokes.
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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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The Sound of Music
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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?
How do the characters in The Sound of Music demonstrate integrity, humility, and courage? Why are these important character strengths?
- 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
- Last updated: May 20, 2023
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