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 »
When preparing the replacement orders to direct the train, Ryan reads the name "Obergruppenfuhrer Wilhelm von Kleist" from a printed form. Later in the movie, at von Kleist's HQ, the same title appears on his office door. However, a subsequent shot of the form shows only the rank (Obergruppenfuhrer [sic]) and the last name (von Kleist) of the signatory. There would be no way for Ryan to know the officer's first name. There are a number of errors here. Firstly, Obergruppenfuhrer was an SS rank. Von Kleist was a Wehrmacht (army) officer and would never be referred to using an SS rank. His correct rank in 1943 was Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal). Secondly, Field Marshal von Kleist's first name was Paul, not Wilhelm. Thirdly, in 1943 von Kleist was the commander of Army Group A in the Caucasus (on the Russian front), not the general staff. See more »
Maj. Eric Fincham:
It would take you too long to strangle a man Colonel. The average Nazi would get impatient while you were doing it.
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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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