The Sound of Music

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
The hills are alive.....

I go to the hills when my heart is lonely.
I know I will hear what I've heard before.
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music,
And I'll sing once more.


The famous musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, based on the story of the Trapp Family Singers. The musical was inspired by an earlier, now largely forgotten German movie adaption of the book and was made into a movie in 1965. In 1991 the book was again independently adapted in a 40 episode Anime as part of the World Masterpiece Theater series.

Features nuns, Those Wacky Nazis, and not the Austrian national anthem. 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".

Has enough pop culture references and pastiches to fill a small article on The Other Wiki, although there actually isn't one.

For those who have still managed to live under a rock (or in Austria) for the past half-century, the musical follows Maria Kutschera (Julie Andrews), 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 (Christopher Plummer). 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 Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Eleanor Parker), 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, of course, 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 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...

Tropes used in The Sound of Music include:
  • Ambiguously Gay: Some productions present Uncle Max as such.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Rolfe is obsessed with being important and that is what corrupted him. You can see it from the beginning and one wonders whether he cared about Liesl or cared that she was a "von".
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn:
    • Liesl- Beauty.
    • Brigitta- Brains.
    • Louisa- Brawn.
  • Beta Couple: Liesl and Rolf are a tragic version.
  • Blithe Spirit: Maria in the von Trapp household.
  • Bothering by the Book: Dettweiler says, "Heil Hitler" in a manner quite lacking in enthusiasm.
  • 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. And the subtitles don't show the lyrics to them.
    • Only on TV broadcasts. The Home Video releases (at least the VHS ones) 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 they were sneaking out of the house. In the film, Franz the butler (who 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.
  • 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.
      • Given how domineering Rolfe tries to be, "innocent" isn't quite the word. "Inexperienced" works better. However he certainly does not know much about the world and he would have been better off if he had indeed settled for being "innocent as a dove".
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: How the nuns perceive Maria.
  • Confessional: In the last lines of the film, two nuns turn to the Reverend Mother Superior and say, "Forgive me, Reverend Mother, for I have sinned." They then reveal that they stole the wires from the Nazis' cars, thus preventing them from pursuing the von Trapps. The abbess doesn't say anything, just smiles.
  • Cool Old Lady: Arguably, the Reverend Mother Superior of the convent. She instinctively knows that Maria's calling is outside the convent 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 said, "Frightened, were they unkind to you?" The tone which she said indicated she is very protective of the nuns. One could almost call her a Badass Preacher.
  • The Cutie: Maria.
  • Dance of Romance: The Laendler, aka The Scene Where Our Two Oblivious Protagonists Finally Figure It Out.
  • Death Glare: Captain von Trapp's Death Glare is so awesomely deadly that it should be outlawed by the Geneva Conventions.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: The Captain.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Captain von Trapp treats his children that way at the beginning.
  • Even Beggars Won't Choose It: Maria's dress...that even the poor didn't want.
  • Face Heel Turn: Liesl's boyfriend Rolfe does this at the end when he joins the Third Reich. 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)

  • First Kiss: Liesl gets hers in the gazebo. She then runs into the rain and squeals in delight. "Whee!"
  • Fridge Brilliance: Where did all those nuns come from? Oh wait they would most of them have taken their vows when Salzberg was short on available men.
  • Genre Blindness: Liesl's former boyfriend says to the Captain, "It's you we want, not them". Presumably he thinks the German Navy is going to trust a sub to an anti-Nazi without having his family close at hand. Also likely meant as a sign that Rolfe doesn't quite understand yet how evil the Nazis he's affiliated himself with really are.
  • 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 Cannot Comprehend Evil: Even Captain von Trapp can't. He tells Rolfe, "you'll never be one of them". Perhaps not. Perhaps he will indeed change his mind-or just be killed on a battlefield with a minimum degree of honor at least. But lots of people not much different from Rolfe were indeed "one of them".
  • Graceful Loser: The Baroness, eventually. One can scarcely blame her for putting up a fight, she's been working on Georg for a long time now.
  • Happy Ending: In all the versions.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: The Baroness gives "rather gay parties" in Vienna.
    • Also at one point, Uncle Max asks the children "What's the matter with you gloomy pussies?", and another, Kurt says "I wonder what grass tastes like..."
  • Held Gaze: Maria and the Captain have a rather intense one during their Dance of Romance where they look deeply into each others eyes, definitely upping the UST between them.
  • High Turnover Rate: The Captain tells Maria that he hopes she'll be more successful than the last governess, who stayed only two hours.
  • Hollywood Atlas: Switzerland is not "just over the mountains" from Salzburg.
    • To make it worse, Germany is. A bit of Germany that housed one of Hitler's holiday retreats, in fact.
      • Not just his holiday retreat -- across the Alps from Salzburg is Berchtesgaden, which was actually his home, or the closest thing an itinerant dictator had to one. It's called Obersalzberg, meaning Above-Salzburg, and by the Anschluss had multiple SS units stationed there at all times.
  • Honorary Uncle
  • Honor Before Reason: Captain von Trapp's defiant attitude toward Nazis which was almost Churchillian. He could be one scary dude at times.
  • Hot Dad: Charmian Carr (Liesl) admitted to having "a huge crush on Chris Plummer, while Heather Menzies (Louisa) is on record as saying:

Heather: At the time I was too young to have a crush on him, but now, oh my God!

  • Intermission
  • Ironic Echo: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" is repeated over Maria's wedding to the Captain.
  • Intro Dump: The children, commanded by a whistle.
    • The whistle was real, by the way. RL 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.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: The Baroness, eventually.
    • Not exactly. 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...
      • Alternate Character Interpretation: Or that is the sort of thing she would say to save face for everyone. In any case, despite her worldliness and seeming cynicism she is not without a streak of kindness.
    • Maria does not even think of competing for the captain. That is partly because she expects to be a nun but still.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Captain von Trapp.
  • 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.
  • Love Triangle: The Captain, Maria and the Baroness.
  • Magical Nanny: One of the classic examples, played by the same actress as the other one, no less.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Maria to the Captain.
  • 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 elder nun 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".
  • Nazi Germany: "To refuse them would be fatal for all of us. And joining them would be...unthinkable."
  • Nazi Nobleman: Thankfully subverted. Captain von Trapp hates the Nazis, as did most Austrian and German/Prussian aristocrats in Real Life.
  • Nun-Too-Holy: Maria, of course, as sung by the sisters.
  • 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.
  • 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-Scene Wonder: The Brawn Hilda who wins second place at the concert, and won't get off the stage.
  • 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.
  • Panty Shot: Liesl during her dance with Rolf at the gazebo.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: One of the girls wants a pink one.
  • Parental Substitute: Maria is this towards the von Trapp children.
  • Playing Gertrude: Christopher Plummer was 35 at the time of filming (more than two decades younger than his character was in Real Life at the time the story is set), with his oldest daughter played by a 21-year-old actress (playing 16...going on 17).
  • The Quisling: All the Austrians who are accepting Nazi rule are this, represented by Uncle Max and the Baroness. But the Captain refuses to budge, straining their relationship with him.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • The Captain was in the Austrian Navy. But wait, isn't Austria landlocked? It was in 1939 but not in 1914, when Austria owned Croatia and had a potent 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 disobedience 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. RL 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 children assume this posture during their recital at the festival.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The von Trapps escape their Nazi "escorts" by... walking out the door while singing "So Long, Farewell..."
  • Revenge by Proxy: Sort of. In Real Life, one of the von Trapp children served as a soldier in the US Tenth Mountain Division, fighting Those Wacky Nazis. Actually, that's more like You Killed My Father except it's "you exiled my father."
  • Rule of Cool: In Real Life, they simply got on a train to Italy. The movie's method of escape gives prettier visuals. But fails logic since the way they are walking is toward Hitler's Mountain retreat, and a division of SS.
    • Also, 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 mountains, especially the long shots of the family going over to Switzerland at the end and the introduction.
  • Second Love: Maria, for the Captain - Truth in Television.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal
  • Team Mom: Oh, Maria.
  • Telegraph Gag STOP: Liesl sends the telegram "Dear Rolf. Stop. Don't stop!"
  • Those Two Guys: The Nuns at the end of the film.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The main antagonists.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Tomboy Maria and Girly Girl Elsa. Tomboy Louisa and Girly Girl Liesl. Tomboy Brigitta and Girly Girl Marta. And Gretel is somewhere in the middle.
  • 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, and she had borne two other kids by the time they left. Not only that, but they simply got on a train to Italy.
    • It's a fact of local legend that after the stage musical was written, anytime 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.
      • Even if he was such a martinet he would certainly not have raised them like enlisted men as that would have been undignified. He might have given them a harsh upbringing but it would have been one proper to aristocrats-because that was what they were.
    • 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 WW 1, plus he had spent 2 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.
    • 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!"
    • Austrians did not particularly dislike Nazis more than Germans. Of course there were Austrians who disliked Nazis as indeed there were Germans. And toward the end of the war a lot of people who had served Hitler's government claimed to be Austrian, for some reason. Nevertheless, Austria was not Poland.
  • The Von Trope Family: The Trope Namer, by way of an Incredibly Lame Pun.
  • Wants a Prize For Basic Decency: Lampshaded by Dettweiler when he congratulates Zeller on letting the music festival go on instead of shutting it down For the Evulz.
  • World War II: Austria's incorporation into the Third Reich is generally accepted by historians as the start of the countdown to the war in Europe.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: In a heated argument, Captain von Trapp angrily calls Maria "captain" before correcting himself.