Australian Council on Children and the Media

Sound of Music, The

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Parental guidance recommended under 8 (Scary scenes, Length of film)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Sound of Music, The
  • a review of Sound of Music, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 January 2012.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes. The film is also very long for this age group
Children over 8 OK for this group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Sound of Music, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 167 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Set in Austria at the outbreak of WW11, The Sound of Music is based on the true story of the von Trapp family and Maria (Julie Andrews), a nun who is finding the discipline of life in a convent difficult. Maria is sent to be the governess for the seven von Trapp children and finds that their father, a Captain (Christopher Plummer), who is a widower, runs his family like a military operation.

Maria disagrees with Captain von Trapp’s methods and as he is absent a lot of the time, she is free to change the way the children are being raised. When the Captain discovers this, he is at first angry but comes to admire, respect and fall in love with, Maria. This proves to be a dilemma for Maria who has to choose whether to marry the Captain or remain a nun, but knows that she, too, has fallen in love.

They marry but their life is severely disrupted when the German Third Reich moves into Austria and order Von Trapp to take up a command. He is adamant that he won’t join the Nazis and so devises a way to take his large family out of Austria and escape the Germans.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Religious vocation; the German occupation of Austria

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • In the process of escaping, the von Trapps hide from the Nazis in the convent. The soldiers shine light beams directly next to where they are hiding. One soldier stays behind, catches them and points a gun at the Captain.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the above-mentioned violent scene.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the above-mentioned violent scene.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may be scared by the above-mentioned violent scene.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

OK for this age group

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some mild sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Liesel and Rolfe kiss
  • The Captain and Maria kiss

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • some drinking with meals and at a party
  • the Baroness smokes

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Sound of Music is an uplifting classic family movie that will appeal to all ages, although the tense moments at the end of the film will require parental guidance for young children. At 167 minutes, the film is also very long for young children. The music is wonderful and the film is full of positive messages.

The main messages from this movie are to have the courage to follow one’s convictions and to be true to one’s self.
Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • honesty
  • loyalty
  • respect
  • kindness
  • remaining true to one’s beliefs
  • compassion

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of opposing what you believe to be wrong and unjust. Children are also likely to be interested in hearing more about the von Trapp Family Singers and seeing pictures of the real children.

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