[[caption-width-right:300:Run, Von Ryan!]]

''Von Ryan's Express'' is a 1965 UsefulNotes/WorldWarII adventure film based on a novel by David Westheimer, directed by Mark Robson, starring Music/FrankSinatra and Creator/TrevorHoward.

Colonel Joseph L. Ryan (Sinatra), an American pilot, is shot down in UsefulNotes/FascistItaly and put in a Fascist prisoner of war camp there, where he becomes the new ranking officer among the Allied prisoners. He's nicknamed "Von Ryan" by the mainly British prisoners for his initial concessions to the jailers, spoiling previous escape preparations in order to improve current conditions for the prisoners.

Despite proving that he's willing to both push their jailers and suffer for his beliefs, the name catches on when Ryan sparing the life of the camp commander in the wake of the Italian surrender leads to the [=POWs=] being recaptured by the Germans, who load the survivors on a train headed for a German camp. In the shadow of the Italian Alps, Ryan and the British [=POWs=] take control of the train; trapped behind enemy lines, their only option is to pretend to still be under German control and avoid suspicion [[RunForTheBorder while heading for neutral Switzerland]]. But it's not long until the Germans are in hot pursuit.

While making the film Sinatra met his future wife Mia Farrow (29 years his junior), who was shooting the TV show ''Literature/PeytonPlace'' on the same lot.

!! ''Von Ryan's Express'' contains examples of the following tropes:

* AdaptationalHeroism: Oriani. [[spoiler:In the novel, ''he'' is the pro-Nazi officer who abuses the prisoners and ultimately betrays them to the Germans, not Battaglia.]]
* AdaptationalVillainy: Battaglia.
* AppropriatedAppellation: "Von Ryan", which changes from an insult to a nickname through the film.
* TheBigBoard: A German diagram showing the status of their railroad system.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The train makes it into neutral Switzerland, but Ryan and half the speaking cast die fighting the waves of Nazis approaching the final bridge.]]
-->'''Fincham''': (final lines) I once told you Ryan, if only one gets out, it's a victory...
* CanonForeigner: Gabriella, and to a lesser extent, Gortz.
* CaptainSmoothAndSergeantRough: Ryan and Fincham. Ryan is a self-declared "90 Day Wonder" who was drafted in to serve as an Army pilot, earning his rank of colonel due to age and education. Fincham is a major but has lived his whole life as a battlefield soldier, and obsesses over discipline and [[HonorBeforeReason adhering to a code of behavior]] that Ryan can't fathom. They clash early and often over every step Ryan implements, with Ryan proved right some times and Fincham proved right (painfully so) at other times.
* DeathByAdaptation: Numerous characters but most famously [[spoiler:Ryan himself]].
* DirtyBusiness: What war is for people like Fincham. He's able - [[BloodKnight and more than willing]] - to do a lot of the nasty stuff Ryan can't even think of.
* EyePatchOfPower: Captain Oriani.
* {{Fainting}}: Costanzo does a very good job of impersonating von Klement, but upon returning to the train it is revealed the effort of maintaining the disguise was too much for him and he promptly faints.
* GoodIsNotNice: Fincham, and Ryan on occasion.
%%* GreatEscape
* HeelFaceTurn: The prison camp's second-in-command Oriani. His eyepatch suggests he was an Italian who's actually faced battle, and is openly courteous to the Allied prisoners. When Mussolini falls and the prisoners seize control of the camp, he switches sides and offers to help the [=POW=]s escape despite Fincham's concerns. [[spoiler:He does.]]
* TheHeroDies: [[spoiler:Ryan himself at the end.]]
%%* HoldTheLine
* HonorBeforeReason: Ryan shows up with a camp divided between American and British [=POW=]s. It's because Fincham insists on constant attempts to tunnel out of the camp (and is hoarding much-needed medical supplies for those attempts). Ryan, knowing that the Allies are landing in Italy as they speak and that real freedom is weeks if not days away, uses his rank to overrule Fincham.
* KarmaHoudini: The corrupt Major Battaglia. He suffers some public humiliation and a few hours in the hot box for maltreating the prisoners, but he's fat and happy after being rescued by the Germans (who are all too happy to imprison his second in command, Captain Oriani).
** Gortz, who [[spoiler:famously shoots Ryan in the back]].
* TheLancer: Fincham. He doesn't like it. [[spoiler:Until Ryan dies at the end.]]
* MookLieutenant: Gortz has a retinue of them with him at all times.
* NakedPeopleAreFunny: When Ryan orders the entire camp of men to strip and burn their clothes to force the corrupt commandant Battaglia to issue fresh clothes he'd been hoarding for the black market. Borders on FanDisservice considering how many guys just don't work on their tan lines...
--> "Parade....strip!"
* NeverTrustATrailer: All the advertisements played up the whole angle of the prisoners despising Ryan ("Who was the man they hated worse than Hitler?"), but aside from two scenes, it never really plays into the plot, and Ryan gets along with most of them decently enough.
* PrisonShip: Actually a train.
* PunchClockVillain: Captain Oriani. As Battalia's executive officer, he's duty bound to follow orders, but at the same time is clearly opposed to and disgusted by Battaglia, is far more humane than his superior, and joins the prisoners after Italy surrenders.
** Colonel Gortz is this as well. He's just a German officer tasked with recapturing the prisoners.
* PunishmentBox: The "hot box," an old truck.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Fincham wants to kill von Klement for the massacre of the British wounded, even though that was done by the SS and von Klement is regular German Army. He's called out on this by Costanzo.
** There's a bit of RevengeByProxy in Fincham's reasoning. Although he never actually admits it, it seems that since he can't actually get the ones responsible for the massacre, he's rather [[GoodIsNotNice coldly]] willing to take ''any'' German he can get.
* ShootTheDog: Ryan killing Gabriella to keep her from alerting the Germans.
** The SS recapturing the escaping [=POW=]s [[spoiler:shoot the sick prisoners rather than treat them.]]
* SmugSnake: Major Battaglia.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Battaglia. [[spoiler:He committed suicide in the book.]]
* TrainJob: A variant where the [=POWs=] hijack the train they are being transported on.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Not so wacky in this movie. They're ''brutal'' in this film.
* TitleDrop: The novel had one at the end -- [[spoiler:Ryan makes it across the border, and laughs to discover someone painted "Von Ryan's Express" on the side of the train]].
* WeaponsUnderstudies: the three German planes that attack the Von Ryan Express at the end are Messerschmitts Bf 108, a sport and touring aircraft commonly used in war films of the period as a stand-in for its military cousin, the Messerschmitt ME-109. Their camouflage pattern however is fictional and [[JustPlaneWrong has no resemblance to the one actually used by the Luftwaffe in the European theatre]].
* WouldHitAGirl: Ryan. [[spoiler:This was part of the reason Sinatra insisted on Ryan dying at the end.]]