Story

Set in Austria at the outbreak of the Second World War, The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the von Trapp family. Maria (Julie Andrews) is a nun who’s finding the discipline of convent life difficult. She’s sent to be a governess to the seven von Trapp children. The children’s father, Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), is a widower and runs his family like a military operation.

Maria disagrees with Captain von Trapp’s methods. Because he’s away a lot, she’s free to change the way the children are being raised. When Captain von Trapp discovers this, he’s angry at first. Then he starts to admire, respect and fall in love with Maria. Maria also loves him, but she must choose between marrying him or staying a nun.

They marry, but their life is severely disrupted when the Nazis move into Austria and order von Trapp to take up a position in their military. He refuses and must find a way to escape the Germans and get his large family out of Austria.

Themes

Religious vocation; the German occupation of Austria

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example, during their escape from the Nazis, the von Trapps hide in Maria’s old convent. The soldiers shine light beams directly next to where they are hiding. One soldier stays behind, catches them and points a gun at Captain von Trapp.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the violent scene mentioned above.

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might be scared by the violent scene mentioned above. 

Over 13

This movie should be OK for this age group. 

Sexual references

None of concern 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Characters drink alcohol with meals and at a party.
  • The Baroness smokes. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie shows some mild sexual activity. For example:

  • Liesel and Rolfe kiss.
  • Captain von Trapp and Maria kiss. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Sound of Music is an uplifting classic family movie that will appeal to all ages, although you’ll need to consider how younger children will respond to the tense moments at the end of the movie. The music is wonderful, and the movie is full of positive messages. At 167 minutes, however, the movie is very long for young children.

The main messages from this movie are to have the courage to do what you believe is right and to be true to yourself.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include honesty, loyalty, respect, kindness, compassion and courage to stay true to what you believe in.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about saying no to what you believe is wrong and unjust. Children are also likely to be interested in hearing more about the von Trapp Family Singers and seeing pictures of the real children.