Jerrie Kutz

Written by Jerrie Kutz

Modified & Updated: 31 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Von Ryan’s Express is a classic war film that has captivated audiences for decades. Released in 1965 and directed by Mark Robson, this thrilling movie takes viewers on a high-stakes adventure set during World War II. Starring Frank Sinatra as Lieutenant Joseph Ryan, the film follows the gripping escape story of a group of Allied prisoners of war as they plan and execute a daring escape from an Italian prison camp.

With its action-packed plot, stellar cast, and historical backdrop, Von Ryan’s Express has become a beloved film in the war genre. But how well do you really know this cinematic masterpiece? In this article, we will explore 36 fascinating facts about Von Ryan’s Express that will enhance your appreciation for this gripping tale of bravery, survival, and the indomitable human spirit.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Von Ryan’s Express” is a thrilling World War II movie with action, suspense, and memorable quotes. It showcases the resilience of the human spirit and the sacrifices made during war.
  • The film features exceptional performances, visually stunning cinematography, and a message of hope. It has gained a devoted fanbase and continues to be a beloved classic.
Table of Contents

The movie Von Ryan’s Express was released in 1965.

Von Ryan’s Express is a World War II film directed by Mark Robson and starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard.

It is based on the novel by David Westheimer.

The movie is an adaptation of the 1964 novel of the same name written by David Westheimer.

The film was a commercial success.

Von Ryan’s Express was well received at the box office, earning over $16 million worldwide.

Frank Sinatra was initially reluctant to take on the lead role.

Frank Sinatra was hesitant to accept the role of Colonel Joseph L. Ryan, but eventually agreed and delivered a standout performance.

The movie features impressive action sequences.

Von Ryan’s Express showcases thrilling and intense action scenes, including a dramatic train escape and aerial combat sequences.

The film’s score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith.

Jerry Goldsmith composed the music for Von Ryan’s Express, creating a captivating and immersive soundtrack that enhances the film’s tension and drama.

It was shot on location in Italy.

The movie was primarily filmed in Italy, utilizing stunning landscapes and authentic settings to bring the story to life.

Von Ryan’s Express was nominated for an Academy Award.

The film received a nomination for Best Effects, Sound Effects at the 38th Academy Awards.

The movie explores themes of courage and survival.

Von Ryan’s Express delves into the resilience and determination of the characters as they navigate the challenges of war.

It is known for its memorable quotes.

The film features several memorable quotes, including Colonel Ryan’s iconic line, “You can’t teach a rabbit to be a wolf.”

The movie depicts the escape of Allied prisoners of war.

Von Ryan’s Express tells the gripping story of Colonel Ryan and a group of prisoners as they plan and execute a daring escape from a German prison camp.

It showcases the heroism of individual characters.

Through the actions and sacrifices of its characters, the movie highlights the bravery and heroism that can emerge in the face of adversity.

The film is a blend of war drama and suspense.

Von Ryan’s Express combines intense war drama with a suspenseful narrative, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats throughout.

The movie’s script underwent multiple rewrites.

The script for Von Ryan’s Express underwent several revisions before reaching its final version, ensuring a compelling storyline and well-developed characters.

The movie features a multinational cast.

Von Ryan’s Express boasts a talented ensemble cast featuring actors from various countries, adding authenticity to the international nature of the story.

It received positive reviews from critics.

The film garnered generally favorable reviews from critics, who praised its performances, action sequences, and gripping narrative.

Von Ryan’s Express inspired other war films.

The success and impact of the movie influenced subsequent war films, contributing to the genre’s development and evolution.

It remains a beloved classic.

Von Ryan’s Express has stood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by audiences, cementing its status as a beloved classic.

The movie showcases the camaraderie among soldiers.

Through its portrayal of the interactions and bonds formed among the prisoners of war, Von Ryan’s Express highlights the importance of unity and teamwork.

It offers a unique perspective on World War II.

Von Ryan’s Express provides a fresh perspective on the war, focusing on the experiences and escapades of the prisoners rather than traditional battlefield scenarios.

The film’s cinematography is visually stunning.

The movie boasts visually striking cinematography, capturing the beauty of the Italian countryside and the brutality of war with equal impact.

Von Ryan’s Express features intense and gripping suspense sequences.

The film keeps viewers on the edge of their seats with its thrilling suspense sequences, heightening the tension throughout.

It is a testament to the human spirit.

Von Ryan’s Express showcases the resilience and indomitable spirit of its characters, highlighting the strength of the human will in the face of adversity.

The movie’s action scenes were meticulously choreographed.

The action sequences in Von Ryan’s Express were carefully planned and executed to ensure maximum impact and realism.

It offers a balance between action and character development.

Von Ryan’s Express strikes a delicate balance between thrilling action sequences and meaningful character development, creating a well-rounded cinematic experience.

The movie’s runtime is approximately 117 minutes.

Von Ryan’s Express has a runtime of approximately 117 minutes, allowing for a concise yet impactful storytelling experience.

The performances in the film are exceptional.

The cast delivers outstanding performances, with Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard leading the way with their memorable portrayals of Colonel Ryan and Major Fincham, respectively.

Von Ryan’s Express explores the complexities of war.

The movie delves into the moral dilemmas and complexities of wartime situations, examining the shades of gray that exist even in times of conflict.

The film’s realistic depiction of war garnered praise.

The realistic portrayal of war in Von Ryan’s Express was lauded by both critics and audiences, adding to its authenticity and impact.

Von Ryan’s Express is a thrilling and compelling war film.

The movie’s gripping storyline, superb performances, and breathtaking action sequences make it a must-watch for fans of the war genre.

It showcases the resilience of the human spirit.

Von Ryan’s Express demonstrates the strength and resilience of the human spirit, as the characters defy the odds and overcome incredible challenges.

The film’s message of hope resonates with audiences.

Von Ryan’s Express delivers a powerful message of hope and perseverance, reminding viewers of the indomitable nature of the human spirit even in the darkest of times.

Von Ryan’s Express features breathtaking aerial sequences.

The movie includes stunning aerial sequences that add to the overall spectacle and intensity of the story.

It highlights the sacrifices made during war.

Von Ryan’s Express pays homage to the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives during wartime, reminding us of the real cost of conflict.

The film’s screenplay received recognition.

The screenplay for Von Ryan’s Express was acknowledged for its quality and received nominations for various awards.

Von Ryan’s Express has gained a devoted fanbase.

The movie has amassed a dedicated following over the years, with fans appreciating its compelling story and memorable performances.


In conclusion, Von Ryan’s Express is a classic war film that has captured the hearts and minds of audiences for decades. It combines thrilling action sequences, powerful performances, and a gripping storyline to create an unforgettable cinematic experience. The film showcases the bravery and resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, while also shedding light on the harsh realities of war.

With its engaging plot, well-developed characters, and expert direction, Von Ryan’s Express remains a timeless masterpiece that continues to resonate with viewers of all generations. Whether you’re a fan of war movies or simply appreciate great storytelling, this film is definitely worth adding to your must-watch list.


1. When was Von Ryan’s Express released?

Von Ryan’s Express was released in 1965.

2. Who are the main actors in Von Ryan’s Express?

The film stars Frank Sinatra as Colonel Joseph Ryan and Trevor Howard as Major Eric Fincham.

3. Is Von Ryan’s Express based on a true story?

No, Von Ryan’s Express is a fictional story based on the novel written by David Westheimer.

4. What is the premise of Von Ryan’s Express?

The film follows the story of Colonel Joseph Ryan, an American officer who becomes a prisoner of war during World War II. He leads a group of Allied prisoners in a daring escape aboard a hijacked train.

5. Who directed Von Ryan’s Express?

Mark Robson directed the film.

6. What are some notable scenes in Von Ryan’s Express?

Some memorable scenes include the thrilling train chase sequence and the intense final confrontation between Colonel Ryan and the German commandant.

7. Did Von Ryan’s Express receive any awards or nominations?

Yes, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Effects, Sound Effects.

8. Is Von Ryan’s Express available on streaming platforms?

Yes, the film can be found on various streaming platforms and is also available for purchase or rental.

9. What is the running time of Von Ryan’s Express?

The film has a running time of approximately 117 minutes.

10. Is Von Ryan’s Express suitable for all audiences?

The film is rated PG-13 and contains intense war violence and some language, so viewer discretion is advised for younger audiences.

If you're fascinated by the gripping tales of World War II, heroic stories of prisoners of war like Louis Zamperini, or intriguing facts about legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra, explore our captivating articles that delve deeper into these subjects. Uncover more about the world's most significant conflict, learn about incredible individuals who faced unimaginable challenges, and discover lesser-known details about one of America's most beloved crooners. Embark on a journey through history, resilience, and stardom as you read on.

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