14 things you probably didn't know about 'The Sound of Music'

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Jessica Focht
·8 min read
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sound of music bikes
Julie Andrews starred in "The Sound of Music." 20th Century Fox

It's been 56 years since "The Sound of Music" (1965) - based on the Broadway musical of the same name - premiered.

Even over half a century later, the iconic film is still beloved by viewers around the world.

Read on for some fun facts you probably didn't know about "The Sound of Music."

The story is largely historically inaccurate.

sound of music julie andrews
The original plot was based on a memoir by Maria von Trapp (née Kutschera). 20th Century Fox

"The Sound of Music" centers on the von Trapps, a real Austrian family.

The Broadway musical — which later inspired the 1965 film — was based on the memoir "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" by Maria von Trapp (née Kutschera). However, the plot didn't always stay true to the source material.

For example, there were 10 von Trapp children not seven, Maria came as a tutor for one of the children not as a governess for all of them, and Maria and Captain von Trapp were married 11 years before the family left Austria.

Perhaps the largest historical inaccuracy was the climactic ending of the film, where the family escapes to Switzerland over the Alps as the Nazis invade Austria.

According to History.com, the real family pretended they were going on vacation in Italy (by train) the day before the Austrian borders were closed. Once they arrived, they set up a plan to travel to the US.

The Villa Trapp is a historical landmark in Austria, but they couldn't film the movie there.

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Christopher Plummer played Captain von Trapp in the film. 20th Century Fox

Fans from across the globe travel to Salzburg, Austria, to tour the sets and real-life historical landmarks from the film, including the Villa Trapp, the von Trapp family's home.

But the villa couldn't actually be used as a filming site for the movie because it was occupied by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood at the time.

Today, the home has been converted into a hotel, where fans can visit and learn the story of the real-life von Trapp family.

Filming the opening scene was not as blissful as it appeared on the screen.

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Julie Andrews as Maria in "The Sound of Music." 20th Century Fox

Tom Santopietro, the author of "The Sound of Music Story," told Inside Edition in 2015 that filming the iconic opening scene, where Julie Andrews is joyfully singing in the mountains, wasn't easy.

"When the helicopter zoomed in on Julie Andrews, the downdraft from the helicopter was so strong that Julie Andrews kept getting knocked down into the mud," he said.

Charmian Carr also had a behind-the-scenes mishap during a musical number.

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Charmian Carr and Daniel Truhitte in "The Sound of Music." 20th Century Fox

According to the Independent Ireland, Charmian Carr, who played Leisl, injured herself while filming "16 Going on 17."

During the dance break, the character leaps across the benches lining the inside of a gazebo, but the costume department forgot to put rubber soles on the bottom of her shoes, so on her first jump, she slipped, broke one of the gazebo's glass panes, and sprained her ankle.

Despite the injury, Carr finished filming the dance number — which garnered a standing ovation from the crew.

Andrews had to rescue the youngest von Trapp actor from drowning.

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Anthea "Kym" Karath played Gretl von Trapp in "The Sound of Music." 20th Century Fox

Anthea "Kym" Karath, who played young Gretl von Trapp, also found herself in a precarious situation on set.

Andrews recalled the filming of the scene where Maria and the kids fall out of the boat during a 2019 appearance on "The Graham Norton Show."

"... Just before we rolled, this assistant director waded into the water and said, 'Can I ask you something Julie? The little one doesn't swim,'" she said.

He then asked her to fall forward and try to get to Karath as quickly as possible once they landed in the water.

"... I went over the back rather than over the front. Never swum the breaststroke so fast in my life to get to her, "Andrews continued. "And that poor, lovely kid went under a couple of times, but she came up and threw up and then was fine."

The real Maria von Trapp made a cameo in the film.

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The real Maria von Trapp is in the background during "I Have Confidence." 20th Century Fox

According to Express, the real Maria von Trapp made a brief cameo in the film.

She can be seen walking past an archway while Andrews is singing "I Have Confidence."

Christopher Plummer said Captain von Trapp was his most difficult role - largely because he didn't like the film.

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Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in "The Sound of Music." Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

As a trained Shakespearean actor, the late Christopher Plummer had plenty of starring roles under his belt before he joined the cast of "The Sound of Music."

But during a Hollywood Reporter roundtable in 2011, the actor said it was the toughest role he ever played.

"Because it was so awful and sentimental and gooey," he said. "You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some miniscule bit of humor into it."

Plummer later told The Daily Beast in 2017 that he wasn't particularly fond of the movie.

"It's not my cup of tea, that's all, and somebody had to be cynical," he said. "Of course I don't loathe it. It's a really good movie of its kind. I think it's Julie's best picture."

Plummer reportedly said he was drunk during his second "Edelweiss" performance

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Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp. 20th Century Fox

Per the Irish Times, Plummer shared on the DVD commentary for the 35th anniversary edition of the film that he was drunk while filming the music festival scene — where he sings "Edelweiss" for the second time.

"Edelweiss" has been mistaken for the Austrian national anthem by fans of the film.

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Fans and public figures alike thought the song was important to the country. 20th Century Fox

After "The Sound of Music" premiered, many fans seemed to assume that "Edelweiss" was Austria's national anthem.

According to The Washington Post, in 1984, Ronald Reagan reportedly even quoted "Edelweiss" in his toast to Austrian President Rudolf Kirchschläger during a state dinner at the White House.

The song was written specifically for the Broadway musical and later used in the film.

The real von Trapp family inadvertently sold their rights to the film.

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The real Maria had already sold the rights to the story before "The Sound of Music." 20th Century Fox

The real Maria originally sold the rights to her memoir to German producers.

The two films they made, "The Trapp Family" (1956) and its sequel "The Trapp Family in America" (1958), were fairly successful in post-World War II West Germany.

The American playwrights then purchased the rights to the story from the German producers, so the real von Trapp family didn't have much of a say in "The Sound of Music."

But the family does make some money from royalties, according to Vanity Fair.

Once the real von Trapps landed in America, they opened a family lodge.

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The Trapp Family Lodge is located in Vermont. Twentieth Century-Fox

After the von Trapp family fled to America, they traveled around the country in a van for years performing concerts.

They eventually landed in Stowe, Vermont, where they purchased a lodge on a farm.

The Trapp Family Lodge is still operated by members of the von Trapp family today, and guests can stay at the resort and learn about their story.

The film was on a list of broadcast programs to be aired in the event of a nuclear strike during the Cold War.

The Sound of Music Julie Andrews 1965 best picture
The film's uplifting story can have a calming effect. 20th Century Fox

According to BBC, during the height of the Cold War, "The Sound of Music" was part of a series of recorded programs the network had on hand to play on a loop in the instance of a nuclear strike.

The film received 10 Oscar nominations.

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"The Sound of Music" won the award for best picture. 20th Century Fox

At the 1966 Academy Awards, "The Sound of Music" was nominated in 10 categories, including best picture.

Andrews didn't take home the prize for best actress, but the film won the grand prize along with four other Oscars.

Two original songs were written for the movie.

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Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote and composed the music. 20th Century Fox

Famous duo Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote and composed the music for the Broadway musical, most of which was included in the movie.

Like many movie adaptations of musicals, original songs were also added to "The Sound of Music." But Hammerstein died in 1960, five years before its premiere, so Rodgers wrote "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good" on his own.

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