The True Story That Inspired ‘The Sound Of Music’ Is More Dramatic Than The Movie

If you’ve seen The Sound of Music – and odds are good that you’ve watched it a few dozen times – you’re probably in love with its timeless romance and classic songs.

Since the movie’s release in 1965, it has become one of the most successful films of all time. And the endless copies my family bought on VHS and DVD probably helped a lot.

But when I watched the movie growing up I always wondered: what happened to the von Trapps after the movie ended?

The surprising answer is that the famous singing family moved to America.

See, The Sound of Music, along with the Broadway play and German film that inspired it, are based on the real life story of Maria von Trapp, her husband Georg, and their children.

Maria von Trapp (back row, far left) with her children.von Trapp family

Like in the movie, Maria was a nun who joined the von Trapp household as a tutor (not a governess) for the widower’s seven children.

Unlike the classic film, Maria and Georg did not exactly fall head over heels for each other, as Maria confessed in a book about her life.

“I really and truly was not in love,” she wrote. “I liked him but didn’t love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children.” But even their real love story had a Hollywood ending.

“[B]y and by, ” Maria remembered, “I learned to love him more than I have ever loved before or after.”

But their romance wasn’t the only detail about the von Trapps that Hollywood changed. Their dramatic escape from Austria went very differently in real life.