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The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical drama film produced and directed by Robert Wise, and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, with Richard Haydn and Eleanor Parker. The film is an adaptation of the 1959 stage musical of the same name, composed by Richard Rodgers with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. The film's screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, adapted from the stage musical's book by Lindsay and Crouse. Based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, the film is about a young Austrian woman studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to be governess to his seven children. After bringing and teaching love and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience, she marries the officer and together with the children they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland through courage and faith.

Plot

The widowed, retired Austrian naval officer, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) has made his Austrian home one of overly restrictive and harshly enforced discipline, one that, most unintentionally, causes his seven children to be underfed when it comes to joy and love. Being a nun living in a convent is similarly restrictive and unfulfilling for Maria (Julie Andrews), who breaks rules to try to change it. The reverend mother (Peggy Wood) decides that Maria, who is not cutting it as a nun, should leave and take on a job as governess at the nearby Von Trapp household in Salzburg.

Through music and various outings, Maria gives the children a taste of a more fulfilling, joyous, life than they have ever known, and they come to love her very dearly. The Captain grows closer to his children, too, coming to understand the value and beauty of the freedoms that Maria has given them. Ironically, the freedom of all Austrians to live their lives to the fullest is in danger, for it is 1938, and Germany is marching into Austria. The Captain is a patriot, passionate about the fulfilling life that Austria has always offered its citizens.

In his personal life, the Captain is having a romance with a wealthy, cultivated, and lovely Baroness (Eleanor Parker), but he is becoming more and more captivated by Maria, and is falling in love with her, and she, too, feels growing affection for him. She is a nun, however, and unschooled in dealing with the situation. Frightened by the developments, Maria runs back to the convent, where the reverend mother convinces her that she must face, rather than run from, the situation, causing Maria to return to the Captain's home. It seems, though, that she is too late, learning that the Captain and the Baroness have become engaged.

The Captain, who had surely concluded that he could never have Maria for a wife, confides to the Baroness that he loves Maria, but the Baroness admits she had sensed it long ago, and the engagement is called off. The Captain and Maria marry, but an ugly situation befronts them upon return from their honeymoon -- the Captain has been summoned, in a telegram, by the Third Reich to serve in its navy.

Due to the Captain's unwillingness to serve the Third Reich, the Captain and Maria resolve to leave Austria, and, after escaping the pursuit of some Nazi officers, they set out, with the children, for the mountains of Switzerland on foot.

Release

The film was released on March 2, 1965 in the United States, initially as a limited roadshow theatrical release. Although critical response to the film was widely mixed, the film was a major commercial success, becoming the number one box office movie after four weeks, and the highest-grossing film of 1965. By November 1966, The Sound of Music had become the highest-grossing film of all-time—surpassing Gone with the Wind—and held that distinction for five years. The film was just as popular throughout the world, breaking previous box-office records in twenty-nine countries. Following an initial theatrical release that lasted four and a half years, and two successful re-releases, the film sold 283 million admissions worldwide and earned a total worldwide gross of $286,000,000.

Reception

The Sound of Music received five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film also received two Golden Globe Awards, for Best Motion Picture and Best Actress, the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement, and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical. In 1998, the American Film Institute (AFI) listed The Sound of Music as the fifty-fifth greatest American movie of all time, and the fourth greatest movie musical. In 2001, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Songs

Main article: The Sound of Music (soundtrack)
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