ABC Will Again Fill the Air(waves) With ‘The Sound of Music’ During the 2023 Holiday Season

image from the 1965 movie
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Don't you just want to start singing "Layee odl, layee odl layee oo"?

There aren’t too many big, communal, “gather the family around the TV” movie-watching events on broadcast networks anymore, but ABC has two of them that it has been airing each year for a long time now. Around Easter and Passover, the network traditionally airs the 1956 biblical epic The Ten Commandments, and around Christmastime, it has shown the classic 1965 musical The Sound of Music.

ABC continued its Ten Commandments tradition earlier in 2023, and it will also once again broadcast The Sound of Music as the year nears its end.

The Julie Andrews/Christopher Plummer-led favorite will air on ABC Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, at 7pm ET, in a four-hour programming block.

I remember seeing and enjoying The Sound of Music for the first time as a kid about 40 years ago or so, when NBC was actually the network airing it, while gathering to watch it with my family (my mother was a big fan of Broadway musical tunes). I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall watching it around Easter at various points around that time.

I had also thought that in some years during its run on ABC the movie had aired on New Year’s Day, or in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. But since it began broadcasting the film in 2002, ABC has mostly shown it just ahead of Christmas, as it is in 2023.

No matter when it is on, though, The Sound of Music is absolutely worth tuning in for, to watch the fantastic performances, hear the wonderful songs, take in the beautiful Alpine scenery and enjoy the sight of Nazis being thwarted.

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Based on the great 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical of the same name, this big-screen adaptation is a stand-alone classic in its own right. One of the finest movie musical dramas ever produced, the hugely entertaining and practically flawless film won five of the 10 Oscars for which it was nominated, including Best Picture and Best Director (Robert Wise).

It’s filled with a nonstop string of iconic and hummable tunes like “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “The Lonely Goatherd” and “The Sound of Music,” and these songs are all big parts of why audiences made the movie a blockbuster that was, for a few years, the highest-grossing film of all time.

The other big reasons The Sound of Music succeeds so effectively are the engaging performances from its terrific cast members, led by Best Actress Oscar nominee Andrews, who plays Maria von Trapp in a story based on von Trapp’s memoir.

image from the 1965 movie "The Sound of Music." Standing a bit away in the distance, in a garden shelter with glass windows, Julie Andrews as Maria (on the left) and Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp are seen almost in silhouette as the sun sets. They are standing very close and looking into each other's eyes.

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In the late 1930s, Maria, a young novitiate, is sent by her convent to Austria to become a governess to the seven children of widowed naval officer Captain von Trapp (Plummer in the role that made him a film star). Maria brings love and music into the lives of the von Trapp family, even as the rise of Nazism in neighboring Germany begins to cast an ominous shadow.

ABC airs The Sound of Music in a four-hour programing block on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023, beginning at 7pm ET.