Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

“Lieutenant, if he wiggles, put a hole in him. ” – Ryan

Number of Times Seen – 2 (Cable in the 90’s and 29 Mar 2018)

Brief Synopsis – During World War II, an American POW in an Italian camp helps his fellow prisoners try and find a way to escape.

My Take on it – I have always been a HUGE fan of The Great Escape (1963) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and this film feels like a cross of the two of them.

It isn’t as engaging as the other two, but they still manage to give us a really enjoyable POW film despite not feeling very unique in its premise and characters.

The storyline is quite enjoyable because they give us a nice internal conflict between the views of the characters based largely on their nationalities and attitudes about what the duty of a prisoner of war truly is.

The cast is great and I loved the bickering between the two leads throughout the film.

Both Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard do wonderful jobs portraying the stereotypical American (laid back) and British officer (hard-nosed) and the chemistry between them is great whether they are agreeing or arguing with one another.

I think that this film might have been even better had they taken some more time to develop the two leads a bit more but also make some of the other characters more recognizable instead of just feeling like cannon fodder along the way.

Bottom Line – Enjoyable Prisoner of War film that isn’t as unique as the more famous of the lot, but still does a great job with the storyline.  The story itself feels like a cross between The Great Escape (1963) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and is all the better for it. Great cast with Sinatra and Howard both working together and against each other largely due to the difference of attitude and personality between British and American soldiers.  Might have been even better had they taken the time to develop more of the characters. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The leather jacket that Frank Sinatra wore in Von Ryan’s Express, was later worn by Bob Crane in Hogan’s Heroes. It was later worn by Greg Kinnear in Auto Focus. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)


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2 thoughts on “Von Ryan’s Express (1965)

  1. This was the 1st movie I EVER saw on pay cable TV way back when – when a friend of mine’s parents got it at their house. It’s had a warm spot for me ever since. Still devastated by the ending.


  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1965 |

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