Von Ryan's Express
- 1 hr 57 min
Frank Sinatra stars as Col. Joseph L. Ryan in this World War II action adventure movie. Ryan is an American pilot shot down over enemy territory and taken to an Italian prisoner of war camp. The camp is ruled over by a tyrannical commander named Major Battaglia, and is mainly populated by British troops. Battaglia is known for his inhumane treatment of the prisoners which has recently resulted in the death of the former ranking officer among the inmates, after he was locked in a small metal container known as the "sweat box" as punishment. Major Eric Finchman (Trevor Howard) is the next in command after the death of the previous commander but is outranked by the new American arrival. This coupled with Ryan's far too accommodating approach to dealing with Battaglia causes tension between him and the British prisoners, who refer to him contemptuously as "von Ryan" for his apparent cooperation with the enemy. When news of the Italian army's surrender to Allied forces reaches the camp, the prisoners are left unguarded and they set out in an attempt to reach safety in Switzerland. Ryan concocts a plan to take control of a German train to do so. Along the way they must deal with internal strife and outside threats. Directed by Mark Robson and based on the book of the same title, Von Ryan's Express was a box office hit and one of Sinatra's most successful films.