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Von Ryan's Express (1965)

Frank Sinatra , Trevor Howard , Mark Robson  |  PG |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Raffaella Carrà, Brad Dexter, Sergio Fantoni
  • Directors: Mark Robson
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2001
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059HAG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,710 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Von Ryan's Express" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Remastered Stereo Soundtrack

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining WW2 movie June 17, 2002
Von Ryan's Express is a WW2 movie deserving of classic status. The action is not exactly battlefield stuff, but the movie weaves an interesting plot into a tension filled escape of POW's from the Nazi's. Frank Sinatra's sleepy style compliments the role he plays as someone who has just escaped from a POW camp. The supporting cast all perform admirably and it is very refreshing to have a film where the Germans actually speak German and the Italians speak Italian. Made in 1965, the period when war movies were made in droves, Von Ryan's Express stood out amoung them as being that little bit different. What a great time I had in the late 60's and early 70's watching these movies and when this movie came out I found it so exciting. I have lost none of that enthusiasm for the movie today. It is one I regularly pull out of my DVD collection and give an airing. Okay, it doesn't have the polish of recent war movies but it has qualities that just can't be emulated even with the latest movie making technology. Highly recommended.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Von Ryan's Express belongs to the dying days of WW2-as-Boys-Own-adventure movies, where, for all the cynical window-dressing, the good guys can always outwit overwhelming numbers of Nazis and death is still heroic. It's also much more entertaining than it has any right to be as Frank Sinatra's unpopular new senior officer leads several hundred prisoners of war to freedom by hijacking a Nazi train and conning his way through Italy to Switzerland while Trevor Howard's old school British officer snipes at his bad form all the way and Edward Mulhare's loveable padre impersonates a German officer to get them past the checkpoints. Yep, it's The Great Escape meets The Train, with Great Escaper John Leyton along for the ride just in case anyone misses the connection. As big, not quite as dumb as it could be entertainment it certainly does the trick, throwing in an enjoyable if sparse Jerry Goldsmith score and a particularly memorable finale.

Sadly the new 2-DVD release really is hard to recommend for any but hardcore Jerry Goldsmith fans, the only notable extras being an isolated score track and a brief featurette on the composer. Aside from trailers and TV spots, the rest is made up with talking heads background featurettes with none of the films surviving participants contributing. Even worse is the fact that brief clips are used from a vintage behind the scenes short made during production, but the short itself is not included. It's fine for a first-time buy, but not really worth an upgrade if you already have the previous edition.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Plotted World War II Action Film May 28, 2003
This movie has all the elements of a good action movie. The outcome is uncertain. The bad guys are really bad. The hero (Frank Sinatra) is idealistic and optimistic, and suffers from bad-decision angst more than once.
The movie starts in an Italian POW camp, commanded by a heartless Italian commander played by Adolfo Celi, who some may remember as Emilio Largo in the James Bond thriller "Thunderball". Colonel Joseph Ryan (Sinatra) is nicknamed "Von Ryan" as he initially appears to be collaborating with their captors. Ryan is very optimistic and continually sees opportunity in every situation. Major Eric Fincham, played by Trevor Howard, is a pessimist, and sees disaster at every turn. Further, these two men are in conflict because Major Fincham was the ranking POW until Frank Sinatra was captured.
As the Allies appear to be threatening the region, the Italians guarding the prison leave, and suddenly the POWs have a chance to escape. Their escape is short-lived as they are soon re-captured by Germans. The POWs are placed into boxcars for transport to Germany, with the exception of the wounded, who are executed by German soldiers prior to the train's departure.
As the train travels to Germany, Ryan decides that there may be an opportunity for escape. Ryan leads the creation of a plan to eliminate the guards and take over the train, with the goal of eventually leaving the train to head for the coast and potential reunion with Allied forces. After taking over the train, the POWs first attempt to escape is thwarted when they find themselves in the middle of an Allied bombing mission. The POWs then develop an even more creative plan to escape to Switzerland. In their bid to escape the POWs must fight off the Luftwaffe and a Nazi-led troop train following close behind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best WWII Movie November 24, 1999
By Suzanne
Format:VHS Tape
This film gets my vote for the best WWII movie ever! It's got Trevor Howard as the penultimate crazy British colonel, and our man Frank as the no nonsense American Flying ace. The characters bring out interesting facts about the Italian Cooperation with the Germans (very half-hearted) during wwII and the sense of frustration and uncertainty during the closing days of the war on the part of all the countries involved. This film represents the sense of honor and integrity that were common among soldiers, at that time, and how human beings can have odd interpratations of these noble character traits.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Escaping? Why Not Take the Train? October 4, 2001
A lot of effort went into this 1965 military war film classic. Now you do not have to wait for the movie on American Movie Classics to see it in wide-screen. This DVD version was released in Summer 2001. Frank Sinatra, playing the part of a downed American pilot, leads hundreds of POWs on a dash for the Swiss frontier in this action packed movie. Most of the action takes place on a hijacked Italian train, formerly commanded by the German military, as it winds its way ever deeper into enemy territory.

Trevor Howard and Edward Mulhare (Known best for his roles in American television shows such as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and Knight Rider)co-star. Also, look for Wolfgang Preis reprising the role of a German officer for the un-teenth time in his long career (The Longest Day, Anzio, Raid on Rommel, A Bridge Too Far, Battle of the Commandos, The Train, Is Paris Burning?, Ike the War Years, etc.).

The story, either incidentally or accidentally, mirrors several actual events that took place at abandoned Italian POW camps after the armistice. The Italian guards quit their posts and Allied prisoners awoke to find no one minding the camp. The Germans eventually moved in to establish authority, but in the few interim days there was a power vacuum. Though the real life stories never involved stealing trains, there are dozens of stories of weakened and malnourished British and Commonwealth former POWs fleeing the approaching Germans.

The film has nonstop action, train chases, aerial attacks and scenic Italian locations. According to an article by Wolfgang Preis, the interior train scenes were filmed in Hollywood. Actor James Brolin, who was under contract to 20th Century Fox, makes yet another appearance in a FOX movie.
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