40. The Sound of Music (1965)

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s this: I once watched The Sound of Music everyday for six months straight. Now, for clarification, this was years ago when I had first seen the film and did not own the motion picture soundtrack. This was long before I used any music streaming services and all I had at my disposal was a CD player. All I wanted to do was listen to the music from this film because I loved it so much. This film also began my love affair with Dame Julie Andrews and I’ve never been the same since. (Below please enjoy my absolute breakdown when seeing Julie Andrews at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles for a book talk about her second memoir)


That being said, I have tried my best to look at this film this time as an entry on this AFI list and not as one of my top five favorite films of all time.

From a movie musical standpoint, this film is held to a high standard. The Sound of Music is often pointed to as one of the greatest. And, as a fan of movie musicals and in a world where both a movie adaptation of Cats and The Last Five Years exists, I have to agree. In the film, they had the freedom to rearrange the music and place certain songs in different spots that better fit the film narrative, which was very smart. The songs “I Have Confidence” and “Something Good” were wonderful additions by Richard Rogers (Oscar Hammerstein having passed in 1960).

The tension between Julie Andrews as Maria and Christopher Plummer as Georg added a much needed dimension to an otherwise very sugary musical. Without that, the film would have been too much. There would have been little depth. Director Robert Wise took full advantage of on-location shooting to give the film as real a feel as possible, which ultimately added to the depth of the film. I cannot emphasize enough how important these little details were to making the film have a more serious tone at points and have it be less a frilly musical.

Without this below scene, the film would have given us all cavities from how sugary it was.


The Sound of Music is a film that has stood the test of time, much like another film on this list, The Wizard of OzThe Sound of Music is shown on television around Thanksgiving and Christmas time. And, it’s one that has continuously brought in television ratings when it’s aired. At the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California they have a Sound of Music sing-along every single year. And, every single year, it is nearly sold out with folks who want to be surrounded by others who love the film and the Hollywood Hills literally are alive with music.

Do I feel that this film should be on the AFI list, my personal love for the film set aside? Yes, I do. And I make that judgement solely on the fact that the film has withstood the test of time, and that it’s a film that is ingrained in our pop culture. And, honestly, I don’t think it’s leaving any time soon.

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