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Theatre / The Sound of Music

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The hills are alive.....

"My heart will be blessed with the sound of music, and I'll sing once more."

The Sound of Music is the final— and most famous— musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein (the latter of whom died of stomach cancer just nine months after its Broadway premiere), based on the story of the Trapp Family Singers. The musical was inspired by an earlier, now largely forgotten German movie adaptation of the book and was made into a movie in 1965, with Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as the Captain. In 1991, the book was again independently adapted in a 40 episode anime as part of the World Masterpiece Theater series. A live broadcast of the original stage production starring Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer aired on NBC in 2013, the first live television presentation of a musical since Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein) in 1957. ITV followed suit in 2015 with its own live broadcast, starring Kara Tointon and West End stalwart Julian Ovenden.


Features nuns, Those Wacky Nazis, and not the Austrian national anthem; and has inspired a great many pop culture references and pastiches. The film is virtually unknown in Austria itself, which is odd considering the English-speaking world knows Austria as "that country from The Sound of Music" (that or "the country where Mozart is from"). The exception being the city of Salzburg (which is, ironically, also Mozart's hometown), and mostly because of the tourists constantly talking about The Sound of Music.

The musical follows Maria Rainer, a young postulant from Nonnberg Abbey, as she is sent to be a governess to the seven children of retired Navy Captain Georg von Trapp. She soon discovers that the captain not only runs a tight ship, but also cannot bear to be reminded of his wife, meaning that he spends a lot of time in Vienna with Elsa Schraeder (she is a Baroness in the film, but only "Frau Schraeder" in the stage show), with whom he has struck up a romance. As a result, the children are rather rebellious and disdainful of any governesses (who were, as befitting authority figures of the time, rather strict). Maria is, however, kind towards them, and easily befriends the lot, teaching them songs and letting them frolic around the Austrian countryside. Captain von Trapp is rather taken aback, but soon rediscovers his pent-up happiness and begins to fall in love with Maria, who still hasn't worked out her own emotions. A brief trip back to the Abbey — and a cluebat expertly wielded by the Reverend Mother — convinces her to go with the flow, and she returns and marries Georg.


Unfortunately the Anschluss happens while the two are on their honeymoon and when they return Georg is "asked" to accept a command in the new German navy. Being strongly opposed to Hitler, the family resolves to leave Austria for Switzerland using the pretext of attending a local folk music festival for cover. But the Nazis are not so easily bamboozled and the von Trapps will not get away quite that easily...

These are a few of my favorite tropes:

  • '60s Hair: In the 1965 film, Maria dons a bowl cut, which would be considered out of place in late 1930s Austria. Somewhat justified in that Maria would've had her hair cut short upon entering the convent as a postulant, but still....
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Captain Von Trapp's reaction to the children's lies about going to see Maria. He's clearly trying not to burst into laughter.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: When Maria arrives at the Von Trapp home, she mistakes Franz the butler for Captain Von Trapp. According to the real Maria, this actually happened in Real Life.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film takes advantage of the fact that it doesn't take place on a single stage in order to expand the story, with events such as Maria taking longer to gain the children's trust, an extended trip through Salzburg and up into the mountains, and the kids trying to go and see Maria when she returns to the abbey.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the show, Rolfe finds the family and calls for his Lieutenant, but decides not to turn them in after seeing Liesl. In the movie, Rolfe almost lets them get away after the Captain takes his gun but ends up calling for the Nazis anyway.
    • Zig-Zagged by the Baroness's character. She's cattier to Maria in the film adaptation, and even that is fairly downplayed, but once she realizes she's lost the Captain to her, she exits much more gracefully and amicably than in the original stage musical, where she hardly interacts with Maria at all, and she and the captain split messily after it becomes clear they can't agree on whether or not to collaborate with or oppose the Nazis.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Hearing that von Trapp was a naval captain confuses some modern viewers, considering that he lives in a country that, at present, has no coastline. The thing is, before the end of World War One and the Treaty of Versailles taking a lot of territory away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was connected to the sea (the Adriatic, specifically), and had a small but well-trained navy with cutting-edge equipment and ships.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Some productions present Uncle Max as such.
  • An Aesop: Not a crucial one to the plot, but Maria learns that Taking the Veil is not the only way to serve God with your life, and that marriage can be just as sacred as taking holy orders.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When the nuns sing about Maria.
    "She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
    Her dress has got a tear
    She waltzes on her way to Mass
    And whistles on the stair
    And underneath her wimple
    She has curlers in her hair
    I even heard her singing in the abbey"
    • Note that the nuns sing this. In the abbey.
      • In the very next scene, Mother Superior explains that only postulants are prohibited from singing in the abbey. These are full nuns.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Heading over the beautiful Alps the way they show in the movie would lead them straight into Germany, not Switzerland. Worse, it takes them straight south from Salzberg to Hitler's Berghof residence, with his seasonal home of Obersalzburg and the Kelhsteinhaus located near Berchtesgaden in southeast Bavaria.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn
    • Liesl — Beauty
    • Brigitta — Brains
    • Louisa — Brawn
  • Berserk Button: Captain von Trapp manages to control his temper when confronting Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, but when the otherwise inoffensive Max expresses a blasé "what's going to happen is going to happen; just make sure it doesn't happen to you." attitude about the impending Anschluss, the Captain becomes furious.
  • Beta Couple: Liesl and Rolf are a tragic version.
  • Big Bad: While almost all the characters are extremely principled and mostly nice people, Zeller is an enemy of Von Trapps from the start and ends up being the Nazi they have to escape from.
  • Blatant Lies: When the children explain to their father where they've been after secretly trying to go see Maria. Made even funnier by the fact that he's clearly aware they're talking rubbish, and the excuses to patch up the holes in their story just get more and more absurd. For instance, strawberries that were so cold they turned blue...
  • Blithe Spirit: Maria in the von Trapp household.
  • Bookends:
    • The film opens with panoramic views of the mountains, then zooms onto Maria. The movie ends with Maria and her new family hiking through the same mountains towards the safety of the border. The camera pulls back to give us another panorama of those mountains.
    • The stage show opens and closes to the sound of the Reverend Mother's voice.
  • Bowdlerize: The French dub removed the renditions of "Maria" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" sung by the nuns as they thought it was sinful for nuns to be singing non-religious songs. As such, only the reprisals of them were heard. The subtitles don't show the lyrics to them, either. This is a downplayed instance of the trope, as only TV broadcasts were affected. The Home Video releases have these two songs dubbed.
  • Brawn Hilda: Such a woman wins third place at the concert, and won't get off the stage so she can keep soaking up applause.
  • The Butler Did It: Somebody must have told the local Nazis the family were sneaking out of the house. In the film, Franz the butler (whom the von Trapps never told about their impending escape) collaborates with Rolf, and later is shown watching the family's escape attempt and subsequent apprehension.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Maria had some difficulty trying to realize her feelings for Captain von Trapp and tell him that she loved him. The things that girl has to do to get a kiss!
  • Captain Obvious: In the stage version only, Friedrich's introduction of himself to Maria is "I'm Friedrich. I'm 14. I'm a boy."
  • The Cast Show Off: Subverted. Julie Andrews spends a good hour showing off her singing and dancing chops before presenting three tomatoes to the children as if she's about to display yet another talent. Instead, she fakes juggling them and still drops one.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Maria and Captain Von Trapp's knowledge of the mountains in the musical. It allows them to climb the mountains to navigate a route to Switzerland.
  • Children Are Innocent:
    • The song "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" demonstrates that while Liesl may be innocent Rolf is certainly more so. Unless you subscribe to an Alternate Character Interpretation.
    • The two youngest Von Trapp children don't understand the threat that is Nazi Germany, with Marta referring to the Nazi swastika as a "black spider" and Gretl suggesting singing "My Favorite Things" again to ease tensions while hiding in the Abbey.
  • Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: When the baroness realizes how much the Captain loves Maria, she suddenly realizes the Captain isn't the man for her, either.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: How the nuns perceive Maria.
  • Les Collaborateurs: All the Austrians who are accepting Nazi rule are collaborators, represented by Uncle Max and the Baroness. But the Captain refuses to budge, straining their relationship with him. In Real Life, the majority of Austrians viewed themselves at that time as Germans and not as their own nation (with prominent people in the minority being Austrian nobility like the Von Trapps, who were afraid to be dominated by the largely-Prussian German nobility, Prussia being Austria's rival).
  • Colorblind Casting: The 2013 live version casts a black woman (Audra McDonald) in the role of the Mother Abbess. Well okay, it's not impossible that a black woman could be in an Austrian nunnery in the 1930s, but it seems very unlikely. However, it ''is'' very difficult to find a singer-actress with the pipes to handle the role. Incidentally, McDonald is the same woman who was color-blindly cast in the 1999 version of Annie.
  • Confessional: In the last lines of the film, Sisters Margaretha and Berthe tell the Reverend Mother that they have sinned. When the Reverend Mother asks the sisters what sin they have committed, they reveal that they have swiped the distributors and coils from the Nazis' cars, preventing them from pursuing the Von Trapps.
  • Cool Old Lady: The Reverend Mother Superior of the convent. She instinctively knows that Maria's calling is outside the convent, sings "My Favorite Things" with her in the musical, and she realizes that Maria is in love with the captain. Not to mention when Maria, at first, told the Reverend Mother she left because she was "frightened". To which the Reverend Mother says, "Frightened, were they unkind to you?" The tone which she uses indicates she is very protective of the nuns.
  • Curtain Clothing: When Maria learns the Von Trapp children have no play clothes, she makes them some out of curtains.
  • Cute Bookworm: Brigitta is implied to be one, as she's late answering her father's whistle because she's absorbed in a book.
  • The Cutie: Maria
  • Dad the Veteran: The Captain served in WWI and was decorated for his actions.
  • Dance of Romance: The Ländler, a.k.a. The Scene Where Our Two Oblivious Protagonists Finally Figure It Out.
  • Death Glare: Captain von Trapp's is so awesomely deadly that it should be outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.
  • Defrosting Ice King: The Captain, when he hears his children singing "The Sound of Music" so beautifully in the presence of the Baroness, has a change of heart and asks Maria to stay.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Discussed in the musical, where Max and Baroness Schraeder point out that the Nazi movement is coming, but Captain Von Trapp refuses to bow his head to a German when he is an Austrian. Max and Schrader point out that he could at least pretend so that they'll leave him alone.
    • Maria leaves when Brigitta in the musical and Schraeder in the movie tell her that Captain Von Trapp loves her. She leaves because she's frightened at the thought of loving a man and forsaking her dream to be a nun. The Mother Abbess encourages her to pursue her love, to take risks and to find out what that new dream will be.
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Subverted. Von Trapp tells the children that they won't have supper after they tell him they ate strawberries when they tried to see Maria. He revokes it pretty quickly, though. You can tell he didn't buy the berry story for a second.
    Von Trapp: "Since you've obviously stuffed yourselves on thousands of delicious berries, you can't be hungry I'll have to tell Frau Schmidt to skip your dinner."
  • Dramatic Pause: when Maria returns to The Abbey and Marta asks who the children's new governess is going to be, Captain Von Trapp says "You're not going to have a governess...anymore."
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Captain von Trapp treats his children this way at the beginning.
  • Even Beggars Won't Choose It: Maria's dress... that even the poor didn't want.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Minor example. The first two-thirds of the movie takes place over several weeks or even months, but everything after the wedding scene is all set on a single day (and that night).
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Maria gets one in the wedding scene that is classically pre-Vatican II Catholic, complete with a multilayer cathedral veil.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Liesl's boyfriend Rolfe does this at the end when he joins the Third Reich. In the movie, he threatens to shoot the von Trapps when he catches them trying to escape, but the Captain confiscates the gun and then says:
    Captain von Trapp: You'll never be one of them.
    Rolfe: (beat, then yelling out) LIEUTENANT! LIEUTENANT, THEY'RE HERE! THEY'RE HERE, LIEUTENANT! (blows whistle)
  • Fake Shemp: For the final scene where the family are hiking over the mountain, it's not actually Kym Karath playing Gretel. She had gained a lot of weight while in Switzerland and was too heavy for Christopher Plummer to carry, so a double was used.
  • The Fatalist: Uncle Max. In the musical version, he and Elsa sing "No Way to Stop It", a cynically defeatist ode to Nazi appeasement.
  • Fear of Thunder: All the Von Trapp kids, prompting Maria to sing "My Favorite Things". (She sings The Lonely Goatherd in the stage play.)
  • Flat Character: Marta von Trapp has the least personality of the Von Trapp kids in the film adaptation. She's the second youngest, but since Gretel gets to be the baby, Marta has none of that focus. Her most defining characteristic is saying that pink is her favorite color, and that's it.
  • First Kiss: Liesl gets hers in the gazebo. She then runs into the rain and squeals in delight. "Whee!"
  • Flyaway Shot: How the movie ends.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: When the Germans march into Salzburg.
  • Friend to All Children: Baroness Schneider in the musical, Maria in both film and musical. The Mother Abbess makes it clear that Maria is good with children.
  • Gentleman Snarker: The Captain.
    Herr Zeller: Perhaps those who would warn you that the Anschluss is coming — and it is coming, Captain — perhaps they would get further with you by setting their words to music(!)
    Captain von Trapp: If the Nazis take over Austria, I have no doubt, Herr Zeller, that you will be the entire trumpet section.
    Herr Zeller: You flatter me, Captain.
    Captain von Trapp: Oh, how clumsy of me — I meant to accuse you.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The stern nun who was about the harshest on Maria? At the end, she's one of the two nuns who stole the Nazi's plugs, preventing them from giving chase to the Von Trapps.
  • Good Shepherd:
    • Maria almost became one of these but married instead. In any case, she's good at herding unruly children.
    • Mother Reverend takes her title seriously. The tone which she uses indicates she is very protective of the nuns.
    • The other nuns, while highly prim and proper, are all good hearted and clearly learned Christ's lesson about heart of the law instead of letter of the law.
  • Good Stepmother: Maria is set to become one, after falling in love with Baron von Trapp.
  • Graceful Loser: The Baroness, eventually. One can scarcely blame her for putting up a fight for her love, she's been working on Georg for a long time now. In the musical, however, she gives up the fight for a different reason, in that she and Georg disagree on how to handle the oncoming invasion of Nazis into their country. She is graceful, but the scene where she breaks their engagement is quite heartbreaking.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He never makes an actual appearance, but ultimately Adolf Hitler is responsible for all the bad things which happen in the story.
  • Happy Ending: In all the versions, though it also borders on Bittersweet Ending.
  • Harmony Versus Discipline: Maria is Harmony, von Trapp is Discipline.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • The baroness gives "rather gay parties" in Vienna.
    • At one point, Uncle Max asks the children "What's the matter with you gloomy pussies?"
    • Kurt says "I wonder what grass tastes like..." Though "grass" was a more common slang word for marijuana at the time the film was made than it is now.
  • Held Gaze: Maria and the Captain have a rather intense one during their Dance of Romance, where they quite simply can't look away from each other. It's practically indecent.
  • High Turnover Rate: Maria is the twelfth governess to serve the Von Trapp household since Captain Von Trapp's wife died. He tells her that he hopes she'll be more successful than the last governess, who stayed only two hours.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Prior to the Anschluss, Austria had been a fascist dictatorship for four years. While the musical technically doesn't say anything to contradict this, it does create the impression that Austria was a free country before it fell to the Third Reich. And the film refers to pre-Anschluss Austria as "the last Golden Days of the Thirties".
  • Hollywood Atlas: Switzerland is not "just over the mountains" from Salzburg. To make it worse, Germany is. A southeastern bit of Germany in Bavaria that was home to the Berghof, which was Hitler's seasonal home, or the closest thing an itinerant dictator had to one, serving as his main base of operations. The resort is called Obersalzberg, meaning "Mountain Above Salz(burg)", and the Anschluss had multiple SS units stationed there at all times, with the nearby Kehlsteinhaus ("Eagle's Nest") used as a meeting house for Nazi summit meetings. Ironically enough, that shot in the movie was actually filmed on the Obersalzberg.
  • Hollywood Nuns: Alongside The Song of Bernadette and The Nun's Story, this film was one of the major Trope Codifiers.
  • Hollywood Old: Christopher Plummer was 35 years old at the time the movie was made, whereas the real Captain Von Trapp was 47 when he married Maria. In addition, he was actually 57 in 1938, when the story is set.
  • Honorary Uncle: Max, naturally.
  • Honor Before Reason: Captain von Trapp's defiant attitude toward Nazis which was almost Churchillian. He could be one scary dude at times. In the musical this defiance costs him his engagement with Elsa, though she's more broken up about it than he is.
  • Hope Spot: In-universe; bolstered by the Reverend Mother's words, Maria returns to the von Trapp house, planning to tell the Captain how she feels about him - only to learn from the children that he's getting married. Ouch. Fortunately, he and the Baroness call off the engagement that very night, and Georg accepts that he's in love with Maria. Awwww....
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: The nuns are split on how they view Maria, given she's not suitable for convent life, but they protect her and her family when the Nazis come after them.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Rolf has a brief moment of taking the Captain up on his offer to run away with his family. Then he alerts the Nazis after rejecting it. Inverted in the stage musical, where Rolf calls the Lieutenant, but then says it's a false alarm after realizing that Liesl would be hurt or killed.
  • I'll Take That as a Compliment: Herr Zeller says he's flattered when the Captain says he would be the entire trumpet section if the Nazis took over Austria. Makes more sense when you realize that trumpeters are generally regarded as egotistical, because they like to "blow their own horns".
  • Intermission: The film has its intermission in a different place than the stage version. The play ended its first act on the Mother Abbess singing "Climb Every Mountain", while the movie relocates the break to follow Maria returning to the Abbey.
  • Introdump: The children, commanded by a whistle.
  • Ironic Echo: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" is repeated over Maria's wedding to the Captain.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The Baroness, eventually. She said the captain wasn’t for her anyway, and she needed someone with a very strong need for her, or at least for her money. That’s a bit of a Red Herring plot point, as it sounded like she was implying she was into Max....
  • "I Want" Song: The title song, "The Sound of Music", has shades of this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Captain Von Trapp is a very strict father, but knows what's best for them, and found a way for them to escape to Switzerland.
  • Job Mindset Inertia: In the movie, von Trapp summons his children via whistle as if he were still in the Navy and accidentally refers to Maria as "Captain".
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Captain Von Trapp was a member of Europe's noble caste and served by tradition, making him almost a literal as well as a figurative example of this. However, after the end of the Austrian Monarchy, the use of aristocratic titles was (and still is) forbidden in Austria (though not for informal use), so his name at that time would have been just Captain Trapp. Alternatively, this could be Warrior Prince.
  • Letterbox: From 1995-2000, NBC showed the musical numbers in widescreen during their telecasts of this movie. Everything else appeared in Pan and Scan, though.
  • Longing Look: Maria is undeniably giving one of these to the Captain as he sings "Edelweiss" with Liesl. After that scene, he starts giving them to her, too.
  • Love Cannot Overcome: For the Baroness in the musical, she ultimately breaks off her engagement to the Captain when he refuses to bend to the Nazi will, even by pretending. She's heartbroken, but she knows they won't be happy together when the Reich rolls in.
  • Love Triangle: The Captain, who is in love with both Maria and the Baroness, who in turn are both in love with him.
  • Magical Nanny: One of the classic examples, played by the same actress as the other one, no less. Maria comes to the household, improves the life of everyone and marries the father of the children she's taking care of.
  • Manic Pixie Dreamgirl: Maria to the Captain.
  • Marry the Nanny: The show has the lively nun Maria, who comes to the home of Captain Von Trapp to be governess to his seven children. She was kind to them and brought music back into the household. This caused him to begin to fall in love with Maria and they soon married.
  • Meaningful Echo: The first time someone sings "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" to Liesl is her crush Rolf, giving her advice about boys. The second time the song is sung to her, it is from Maria, now her mother, giving her advice about love.
  • Mentor:
    • The Reverend Mother for Maria.
    • Maria for Liesl.
  • Mood Whiplash: Transitioning immediately from the wedding, to Nazi troops marching into Salzburg with the Anschluss.
  • Movie Bonus Song: "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good".
  • Musicalis Interruptus:
    • "Maria" comes to a pause when Maria herself rushes in after returning from the hills.
    • The musical number "My Favorite Things" ends abruptly when Maria bumps into the Captain (after the line "When the dog bites" no less.)
    • The Captain does this to himself while singing "Edelweiss" because he is so overcome with emotion.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Thankfully subverted. Captain Von Trapp hates the Nazis, as did most Austrian and German/Prussian aristocrats in Real Life.
  • Neutral Austrians with No Navy: Captain Von Trapp served with the Imperial Austrian Navy; the Empire of Austria-Hungary's territory extended to the Adriatic Sea, until the post-war reparations reduced Austria to the point where it no longer had a seashore, and even though he is tempted by the offer to join the Navy, he ultimately turns it down because he can't stand the Nazis and instead helps Maria and his children to cross the border and escape for Switzerland.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The original trailer for the movie used a lot of alternate takes for scenes, utilizing different line deliveries and/or camera angles than the final film.
    • Some posters and DVD covers color Maria's picnic dress pink or blue, instead of brown.
  • Noodle Incident: When she first meets them, the Von Trapp children sneak a frog into Maria's pocket, which shocks her. According to Frau Schmidt, they pulled the same prank against Fraulein Helga using a snake.
  • Not So Different:
    • In the stage musical, the Mother Abbess and Maria sing "My Favorite Things" and it was a song that Maria heard when she was watching the Mother Abbess work in the garden and sing.
    • Part of the reason that Captain Von Trapp loves Maria is that she shares his Honor Before Reason love for Austria and the mountains.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Maria's inability to fit into both the overly strict convent and Von Trapp household; the nuns themselves also run on high doses of The Comically Serious.
  • Nun Too Holy: Maria is a mild example; her carefree spirit is a poor fit for the abbey, but she is clearly devoted to her faith.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Captain von Trapp, who was formerly a sea captain.
  • Off to Boarding School: "Darling, haven't you ever heard of a delightful little thing called boarding school?"
  • Oh, Crap!: A hilarious example happens in the middle of "I Have Confidence". Maria has been building herself up to a fantastic crescendo, "They will look up to ME! AND MIND ME!" But as she approaches the gate, the tempo slows and she gets much, much softer — and when she reaches the gate, she looks inward and says, "Oh, help." Then as she passes through the gate, she gets her confidence back.
  • One Steve Limit: In Real Life, one of Captain von Trapp's daughters was also named Maria; in the musical, she becomes a Louisa instead.
  • Overprotective Dad: The Captain in regards to Liesl; subverted when her boyfriend ends up as a Nazi.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: In a meta sense with the stage-based musical and the film; while the former is always popular, the latter is SO much more famous and well-known that, when watching the play for the first time, people can often get confused and put off by the original locations of some of the songs e.g. My Favorite Things being sung by Maria and the Reverend Mother.
  • Panty Shot: Liesl during her dance with Rolf at the gazebo.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Marta wants a pink one for her birthday.
  • Parental Substitute: Maria Kutschera became one of these towards the von Trapp children and officially became their mother once she married their father.
  • The Runt at the End: Invoked by the Captain who lets his kids march about in the order of their age.
  • Real Person Cameo: The real Baroness Maria von Trapp and her granddaughter walk past during the "I Have Confidence" number.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • The Captain was in the Austrian Navy. But wait, isn't Austria landlocked? It was in 1938 but not in 1914, when Austria owned Croatia and had a small but well-trained and well-equipped navy dominating the Adriatic Sea. The Captain was one of Austria-Hungary's most illustrious World War I heroes at sea. He commanded two submarines, the U-5 and U-14, and conducted 19 war patrols during which he sank 11 enemy merchantmen, captured a French armored cruiser and an Italian submarine, and was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Military Order of Maria Theresa.
    • The Maria Theresa order, by the way, is a partial example of this trope. According to legend you get that medal by succeeding in defiance of orders. That is amusing but only partly true. The medal is for "initiative" not disobedience - said initiative can (but is not required to) include initiative in disobediance of orders, extraordinary success being the justification. And it is true that such disobedience would probably lead to a court martial if the maneuver were less successful.
    • The whistles were real. In real life, Captain von Trapp had a weak voice. He did not however drill them as if they were in the navy. The family used the whistles to locate each other and communicate across their vast property. The whistles could be heard from one corner to the other, instead of spending hours hunting down a child. They used them as an effective method of communication up until their departure from the country.
  • Recitation Handclasp: The girl assume this posture during the recital at the festival. Friedrich and Kurt keep their hands by their sides instead.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The title song had its intro re-written for the movie version. Part of the melody of the original intro (the part accompanying the lyrics, "But deep in the dark green shadows/Are voices that urge me to stay/So I stop and I wait and I listen...") found use in "I Have Confidence" ("It could be so exciting/To be out in the world, to be free/My heart should be wildly rejoicing...").
  • Refuge in Audacity: The von Trapps escape their Nazi "escorts" by... walking out the door while singing "So Long, Farewell..."
  • Remaster: The 45th Anniversary Blu-Ray looks so detailed that you can clearly see each individual blade of grass.
  • Repeated Cue, Tardy Response: After the family escapes after singing in the concert, the announcer introduces them several times before someone else yells that they're gone.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor
    • Discussed by Elsa and Max in "How Can Love Survive."
    Max: In all the famous love affairs the lovers have to struggle... while lovers who are very rich, you very seldom hear of
    Elsa: How can love survive?
    • Elsa is the rich suitor whose politics are not compatible with the Captain's, and Maria is the poor suitor who brings music back into his life. Guess which one the Captain picks.
  • Rule of Cool
    • In Real Life, they simply got on a train to Italy. The musical/movie's method of escape gives a better climax - tying in with the "Climb Every Mountain" reprise - and the film provides prettier visuals. But it also fails logic, since they're walking in the direction of Hitler's mountain retreat, and a division of the SS.
    • In the play, Rolf calls a false alarm without any actual prompting, once he realizes that he'd bear the burden of Liesl's possible death. In the movie, Georg has to go out and put Rolf in his place.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: When Maria goes off to be alone and the song number "Climb Every Mountain" happens.
  • Scenery Porn: The film takes full advantage of its location, showing us Salzburg in all its wonderful sunny glory. And then there are the mountains, especially the long shots during the introduction and the family crossing over the border to Switzerland at the end.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Done by the two nuns at the end of the movie who remove key components from the Nazis' cars to keep them from working; technically, sabotaging a vehicle is against both legal codes and their holy orders. They even admit to it by saying "Reverend Mother, I have sinned."
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: In the stage version, the Mother Abbess gleefully sings "My Favorite Things" with Maria, and gives her permission to sing as she pleases on her way out; although it's forbidden in the Abbey, she's the head, and no one can really say anything to her about it.
  • Second Love: Maria, for the Captain.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Liesl after she's caught out in the rain while with Rolfe.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Christopher Plummer interestingly has a smaller presence in the marketing materials than the leading men of Fox's other Rodgers and Hammerstein movies, as none of the DVD covers show him on the front. When he does appear on theatrical posters and covers for other home video formats, he gets pushed to the side in favor of Maria and/or the kids.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 4. The only changes worth mentioning are that some of the songs occur in different parts of the film and Rolfe being stripped of his redeeming scene where he decided not to rat the Von Trappes out and does the exact opposite.
  • Smash the Symbol: When Captain Von Trapp returns from the honeymoon, he discovers a Nazi flag flying in front of his home, and he immediately rips it to shreds.
  • So Much for Stealth: They almost fooled the search party inside the abbey, but then Liesl spotted Rolfe...
  • Stepford Smiler: In the film, the Captain is a depressed Smiler when Maria leaves. He cheerfully explains Maria's departure to the children, then immediately asks the Baroness for a drink of "lemonade".
  • Tagline: Trailers and ads for the movie called it, "The happiest sound in all the world!"
  • Taking the Veil: Maria tries to pull this, and is sent firmly back.
  • Telegraph Gag STOP: Liesl sends the telegram "Dear Rolfe. Stop. Don't stop!"
  • Think Happy Thoughts: "My Favorite Things".
  • Those Two Guys: The Nuns at the end of the film.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The main antagonists.
  • Title Drop: In the first line of the movie.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Max, after spending the entire musical/film being pleasant and accommodating to the German occupation, takes a serious risk by helping the von Trapps escape. The 2013 live version makes it darker. After it's announced the Von Trapps have escaped, Max is shown being seized and dragged offstage by Nazi officials, presumably to face Redemption Equals Death.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Climb Every Mountain" is sung by an unseen choir as the Von Trappes literally climb their way out of Austria.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Two nuns reveal to their Mother that they have removed the distributor and coil (respectively) from the Nazis' automobile, the better to keep them from catching the Von Trapp family.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story:
    • In reality, Georg and Maria were married in 1927, Maria only really grew to love Georg romantically after they had married (while she did like him well enough as her employer, she was pressured by the Church into accepting his proposal and giving up her dream of being a nun) and she had borne two more kids by the time they left. And rather than fleeing from the Nazis in the dead of night and hiking over the mountains, they simply got on a train to Italy and never came back — although Hitler did order the Austrian borders to be closed literally the day after they got out.
    • The 'Von Trapp Family Singers' started because the family was badly in need of money after most of their fortune was lost due to an Austrian banking collapse in 1935; they were encouraged to take part in the 1936 Salzburg Festival, and after winning a prize they went on to perform and tour throughout Europe. They had actually just gotten back from a tour in America when they had to leave Austria permanently.
    • It's a fact of local legend that after the stage musical was written, any time it was performed within a couple hours' drive of Stowe, Vermont, Maria von Trapp would attend opening night.
    • The depiction of Georg von Trapp as a stern disciplinarian annoyed his wife, as he was the exact opposite in real life—it was Maria who was the strict one. (She did, however, adore Christopher Plummer.)
    • In the movie, Georg quickly decides to reject the offer of a Captaincy in the Kriegsmarine and leave Austria as soon as possible. He actually anguished over the decision for a while. Technology had made such big strides since World War I, plus he had spent two decades as a sea-captain without a sea but was still a U-boat warrior at heart, that the offer to command a modern submarine was very, very tempting to him. This is in addition to the fact that as an Italian citizen, he was not subject to German conscription.
    • Of all the exaggerations of their lives, Maria commented in her memoirs that the only thing they didn't go far enough on was her behavior at the convent. She always laughingly commented when asked if she was that bad, "I was worse!"
  • Villain Song: Since the Nazis deliberately never sing, the closest thing to this is "No Way to Stop It", in which Max and the Baroness try to get Captain von Trapp to subscribe to the ideology that since the Nazis' invasion will be unstoppable, it's better to simply abide and tolerate their evils, to preserve one's own comfort and health. It is, as described, a song about "amoral political compromising", and is fittingly the only song with sections that have notably dissonant chords. On a smaller scale, the Baroness is also trying to get the Captain to let go of his defiant conviction, so they can marry.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: The Baroness is shown to genuinely love Von Trapp and her jealousy is mostly justified. Nevertheless, the children in the film aren’t very enthusiastic of her after Maria leaves despite her efforts to be motherly towards them. Sure, she inspired Maria to leave, and planned to send the children to a boarding school,note  but the alternative was to live with a woman that her husband and his seven children loved more than her.
  • The Von Trope Family: The Trope Namer, by way of an Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Max spends most of the stage musical and film acting as a leech and an opportunist to Captain Von Trapp and the Nazis, claiming that it's better to bend to the Reich's will than to fight an inevitable defeat. Come the film's climax, he warns them via a Batman Gambit during a Music Festival that the Nazis are going to force Captain Von Trapp to work for them, and stalls during the awards to give them enough time to escape.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: In a heated argument, Captain von Trapp angrily calls Maria "Captain" before correcting himself.
  • You Are Not Alone: When at the final concert, Captain von Trapp's voice breaks when singing "Edelweiss" as he is surrounded by Nazi propaganda. Maria and the children join with him and give him the strength to carry on. Made stronger in the movie when the audience joins in with them, including several Nazi soldiers.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Sound Of Music


You'll never be one of them

Captain von Trapp disarms Rolfe.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouWouldntShootMe

Media sources:

Main / YouWouldntShootMe