Skip to main content

The Sound of Music is a fantastic and iconic movie musical based on real life. Released in 1965, it starred Julie Andrews as the main lead. Her sweet personality, lovely acting, and beautiful singing voice have made the film a lasting hit for more than 50 years.

But the filming wasn’t all easy for Andrews. One famous scene actually knocked her down. Here’s a look at what happened to Andrews during the filming.

Julie Andrews sitting down for an interview with Diane Sawyer
Julie Andrews celebrating the 50th Anniversary of her film The Sound of Music | Ida Mae Astute/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

‘The Sound of Music’ and the real Maria von Trapp

In the film version of The Sound of Music, Maria von Trapp, played by Andrews, is a novice nun who takes a job as a governess in the von Trapp household, where she falls in love with the father of the family.

The family forms a singing group and escapes from the Nazis when leaving Austria. Andrews and Christopher Plummer starred in the film, which received five Academy Awards, including a Best Picture Oscar, according to

The Sound of Music was loosely based on Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. HuffPost does point out that some parts of the von Trapp love story, the children not being musical until Maria’s arrival, and much of the Nazi plotline were not from the autobiography.

Maria Augusta Kutschera had studied to become a nun before marrying Baron Georg von Trapp in 1927. Their family eventually had 10 children, with three born to Maria. The family did perform as a singing group. The real von Trapp family left Austria in the late ’30s and eventually settled in Vermont, where they opened a lodge and summer music camp.

Maria von Trapp’s autobiography became the basis for the 1959 stage musical and 1965 movie musical, according to The real Maria von Trapp does appear briefly as an extra in the movie.

The famous “hills are alive” scene


‘The Sound of Music’: Julie Andrews Reveals The Main Worry The Cast Had

One famous scene in The Sound of Music was shot from a jet-engine helicopter. It would get so close when filming on the mountaintop, that its downdraft kept knocking Andrews to the ground, according to The Sound of Music Story by Tom Santopietro as reported in HuffPost.

Andrews would walk up the mountain where she would spin around and lip-sync, but the downdraft would knock her down. With about 10 takes, she spent about half of those in the grass and mud.

Andrews told HuffPost that she tried signaling for the helicopter to take a wider path but was not successful. She said in the article,

“It approached me from one end of the field with a very brave cameraman hanging outside of it with his camera and no door. I came from the other end of the field and we approached each other. When we had achieved one take, the helicopter would go around me and go back to the beginning and I’d go back to the other end of the field and we’d do it again…'”

Where the movie was filmed and where it takes place

In addition to Hollywood studios, the movie was filmed in and around Salzburg, Austria, where the real von Trapp family had lived. According to, the mountain featured in the “hills are alive” scene is Mehlweg, which is in the Austrian Alps near the village of Markt Schellenberg and about six miles from Salzburg.

The birch trees and brook aren’t really there though and were brought in for filming. The season was very rainy in Salzburg, causing shooting delays and budget overruns.