Ryan, an American POW, leads his fellow prisoners on a dangerous escape from the Germans in Italy. Having seemingly made errors of judgment, Ryan has to win the support of the mainly British soldiers he is commanding. Written by
The most daring escape ever conceived. It begins at Pescara. It spreads into high adventure as they highjack their own prison train. It shoots past Rome... Florence... Bologna... It hightails into the Majola Pass with Messerschitts in hot pursuit... and makes a final frenzied lunge for Switzerland- and freedom! See more »
According to the memoirs of the producers the original choice to play Sgt Bostick was vetoed by the star. See more »
When the Germans first catch up with the escaped POW's at the ruins, several groups of prisoners try to escape by running. One German soldier shoots and kills some of the escaping prisoners; some of the POW's fall even though the German is not aiming at them. See more »
The film credits and all promotion publicity still say "A Cinemascope Picture", and Alfred Newman's "extended" 20th Century-Fox fanfare is still heard on the soundtrack as the picture begins, but most of the film was actually shot in Panavision, at Frank Sinatra's insistence. See more »
"Von Ryan's Express" is overall a satisfying WW II actioner. The movie is long but never boring, there's some excitement and suspense, and some action.
The only problems I found with the movie is that the above is at the expense of characters - not enough time is given to these characters, so we don't have as much of a personal stake - so whether the characters live or die doesn't matter as much as it could have. Also, some of the special effects, even for 1965, are somewhat embarrassing.
It's still a good movie, and it's worth watching - it's just not the classic it could have been.
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