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Von Ryan's Express (1965)

 -  Action | Adventure | War  -  23 June 1965 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 8,721 users  
Reviews: 64 user | 37 critic

An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans in WWII.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Von Ryan's Express (1965)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Col. Joseph L. Ryan
...
Major Eric Fincham
Raffaella Carrà ...
Gabriella (as Raffaella Carra)
...
Sgt. Bostick
...
Capt. Oriani
...
Orde
...
Costanzo
...
Major Von Klemment
...
Private Ames
John Van Dreelen ...
Col. Gortz (as John van Dreelen)
...
Battaglia
...
Italian Train Engineer
Richard Bakalyan ...
Corporal Giannini
...
Captain Stein
Michael St. Clair ...
Sgt. Dunbar
Edit

Storyline

Ryan, an American POW, leads his fellow prisoners on a dangerous escape from the Germans in Italy. Having seemingly made errors of judgement, Ryan has to win the support of the mainly British soldiers he is commanding. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

escape | italy | train | soldier | major | See more »

Taglines:

Why did 600 Allied prisoners hate the man they called Von Ryan more than they hated Hitler? See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | War

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

23 June 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El expreso de Von Ryan  »

Box Office

Gross:

ESP 29,721,662 (Spain)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (DVD release)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Average Shot Length = ~5.3 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~5.4 seconds. See more »

Goofs

At the very beginning of the movie when Col. Ryan's P-38 airplane is flying over the city trailing smoke, the smoke is coming from the center fuselage, not one of the engines. The sound of an engine sputtering is clearly heard, but the smoke is not coming from an engine. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Joseph L. Ryan: Major, you will order the men to strip.
[pause]
Colonel Joseph L. Ryan: Major, I said "strip." Get it? All clothes, off. Naked.
[Major turns around]
Maj. Eric Fincham: [Yelling] Parade... strip.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Bob Newhart Show: Dr. Ryan's Express (1974) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"You'll Get Your Iron Cross, Von Ryan!"
21 February 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Told by associates that he needed to branch away from the "Rat Pack home movies" he'd been doing since The Manchurian Candidate, Frank Sinatra signed on for this 1965 POW epic that ranks as among his best films.

Colonel Joseph Ryan is shot down in Italy in August 1943, around the time of the Allied invasion of Sicily. Hidden from the Germans by Italian soldiers, Ryan winds up in a prison camp run by the sadistic Battaglia (Adolfo Celi, best known as Emilio Largo in 1965's James Bond epic Thunderball). The primary residents of the camp are the members of the Royal Army's 9th Fusilleers, headed by Major Fincham (Trevor Howard) and a few American prisoners. Fincham and the 9th Fusilleers have been waging their own private war against Battaglia, and when their commander dies (one of several trying to escape), British resistance hardens. But with Sicily on the ropes, Italy is bound to quit the war, and with malaria breaking out, Ryan, now senior among the POWs, is convinced by the other American prisoners that the camp needs to cooperate with Battaglia and get medicines and so forth.

This is the moral dilemma that begins the rocky relationship between Ryan and Fincham and his men. Ryan shows Battaglia escape tunnels dug by the POWs in exchange for medicine, bath water, and clean clothes, but is betrayed by the camp commander. So Ryan gives an audacious order, one that embarasses Battaglia (and brings humor to Captain Oriani, his XO and a officer who sympathizes with the prisoners) and leads Ryan to a sweatbox to rot away, a punishment that earns him respect by the British prisoners.

But when Italy surrenders a few days later, Fincham puts Battaglia on trial, even though, as Ryan points out, with Italy out of the war, Battaglia is now a civilian. Ryan convinces the vengeance-minded British to stuff Battaglia in the sweatbox to rot, which angers the more vengful Fincham. But they all have to put their squabbles aside as the Germans are marching into Italy.

Ryan leads the prisoners on a march across the land, but they are captured by the Germans and placed in a train for a German Stalag; making it worse, injured prisoners are slaughtered (off camera but clearly heard) and the one who betrays Ryan and Fincham turns up long enough to quietly gloat - and earn seemingly permanent hatred by Fincham toward Ryan.

But Ryan isn't through yet, as he leads a daring second escape, seizing the train, only to have to keep going north to escape detection, with their one chance being a one-way trip to neutral Switzerland.


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Trevor Howard (Maj. Fincham) Great Part christopher_sargeant
Edward Mulhare jpmonette
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