87 user 43 critic

Von Ryan's Express (1965)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, War | 23 June 1965 (USA)
An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans in WWII.


Mark Robson


David Westheimer (novel), Wendell Mayes (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Sinatra ... Col. Joseph L. Ryan
Trevor Howard ... Maj. Eric Fincham
Raffaella Carrà ... Gabriella (as Raffaella Carra)
Brad Dexter ... Sgt. Bostick
Sergio Fantoni ... Capt. Oriani
John Leyton ... Orde
Edward Mulhare ... Costanzo
Wolfgang Preiss ... Maj. Von Klemment
James Brolin ... Pvt. Ames
John Van Dreelen ... Col. Gortz (as John van Dreelen)
Adolfo Celi ... Battaglia
Vito Scotti ... Italian Train Engineer
Richard Bakalyan ... Cpl. Giannini
Michael Goodliffe ... Capt. Stein
Michael St. Clair Michael St. Clair ... Sgt. Dunbar


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 Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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 »


Action | Adventure | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


According to the memoirs of the producer the original choice to play Sgt. Bostick was vetoed by the star in favor of his friend Brad Dexter. See more »


After the Gestapo officer visits the train, there is a wide shot of the train passing a town which includes 1960's-type tower blocks. See more »


Capt. Oriani: He says you are no gentleman, Colonel.
Colonel Joseph L. Ryan: Only by an act of Congress.
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 »

Alternate Versions

When originally released theatrically in the UK, the BBFC made cuts to secure a 'U' rating. All cuts were waived in 1988 when the film was granted a 'PG' certificate for home video. See more »


Edited into Galactica 1980: Galactica Discovers Earth: Part 2 (1980) See more »

User Reviews

A famous 'last' for Sinatra.
25 April 2020 | by brogmillerSee all my reviews

Sadly, none of Frank Sinatra's subsequent films achieved the same critical and commercial success as this one. In fact they all proved to be a mixed bag, to put it as politely as possible and have dated dreadfully. On a personal level this would mark a turning point for him as during filming he was introduced to Mia Farrow! Directed by Mark Robson and adapted from the novel by former POW David Westheimer this is a rattling good yarn with an excellent cast including Trevor Howard and Edward Mulhare. In fact it is Mulhare as Father Constanzo who provides some of its most entertaining moments masquerading as an officer of the Wehrmacht. In terms of acting technique Sinatra and Howard are as different as chalk and cheese but equally effective and both possessing that 'something extra'. Adolfo Celi's Italian officer is a clown of course whilst the German officer of Wolfgang Preiss is of course anything but! After mainly appearing in her native Italy in sword and sandal movies Raffaela Carra makes her international debut but somehow fails to ignite. The railway sequences are brilliantly handled and the ending really packs a punch. Great score by Jerry Goldsmith whilst behind the camera is veteran William H. Daniels, favoured cinematographer of Greta Garbo! Apparently Sinatra insisted on the ending being changed so as to preclude any chance of a sequel. In retrospect this might not have been one of his wiser decisions. As is well documented Sinatra was obliged to appear many times for questioning regarding his alleged Mafia connections. During one of these sessions he was asked: 'Was it you or a double running behind the train at the end of 'Von Ryan's Express?' You really couldn't make it up!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | German | Italian

Release Date:

23 June 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Von Ryan's Express See more »


Box Office


$5,760,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Stereo (DVD release)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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