The True Story of The Sound of Music

Fifty years ago the film aired and it has been a classic ever since: the Sound of Music. We know it for its tiresome cheerfulness, Julie Andrew’s angelic singing, the adorable children and a gloriously handsome Captain Von Trapp.


But all this wouldn’t have been, if it were not for some drastic alterations in the original story. The real Maria Von Trapp did not lead the life that is portrayed in the musical and film. Many things were altered, from the escape to Switzerland to the amount of Von Trapp children. Here are the five most remarkable differences.

1. Age difference.

In the film adaptation Captain Von Trapp is a handsome man, not much older than Maria herself. The real Captain Von Trapp, however, is 25 years older than Maria. Quite a big age difference.

2. A warm father.

Captain Von Trapp was hardly the cold man he appeared to be in the film. He never disapproved of singing and was a very warm father to his children. Maria on the other hand was not as warm as she appeared to be in the form of Julie Andrews. She was an orphan at seven and thus, had no experience with living in a loving household. The only parts that were kept in the film were the whistle, which Georg did truly own and the sailor costumes the Von Trapp children wore.

3. Escaping by train. 

One of the biggest differences between the real story and the film is the escape from Austria. Whereas the film suggests the family went over the Alps to escape, they really escaped by train. It seems Hollywood did not believe this to be sensational enough. In fact, if the Von Trapps would have crossed the Alps it would have led them straight to Germany. Good thing they took the train.


4. The governess of one. 

Although Maria did indeed work as a governess in the Von Trapp household, she only started by tutoring one child: Georg’s daughter, who was also named Maria.

5. A family of 10.

In the film we only encounter seven children: Georg Von Trapp’s children of his first marriage. Georg and Maria, however, had two children already before they fled Austria. Their third child was born in the United States in 1939.

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