Von Ryan's Express

Synopsis: Ryan, an American POW, leads his fellow prisoners on a dangerous escape from the Germans in Italy. Having seemingly made errors of judgment, Ryan has to win the support of the mainly British soldiers he is commanding.
Genre: Action, Adventure, War
Director(s): Mark Robson
Production: Fox
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
117 min

(plane overhead)

(speaks German)

- Americano.

- S, americano.

(speaks German)

- (Italian)

- (German)

- (makes plane noise)

- Ah! Pilota!



(blow raspberries)

(drum roll)


Party, inward... turn!

Party... flag!

For as much as it hath pleased

Almighty God to take unto himself...

...the soul of our dear

brother here departed...

...we therefore commit his

body to the ground.

Uno, due, tre!



(# bugler plays "Taps")

Detail, outward... turn!

Detail... quick march!

Major Fincham, will you now

please dismiss your men? Please.

- Where is your commandant?

- As I told you, Major Battaglia is indisposed.

His orders are to disperse

immediately after the funeral.

(blows whistle)

- Major Fincham, please.

- Get that Fascist bastard out here!


- You'd better follow me, please, Colonel.

- Thanks, pal.

What are they celebrating out there?

Signor maggiore.

Ryan, Joseph L.

United States Army Air Corps. 0718359.

Don't you salute senior officers

in your army, Major?

- Are you the official interpreter?

- Yes, sir.

- Then interpret exactly. Clear?

- Yes, sir.

(repeats Ryan's question in Italian)

And add this:
No wonder Italy's

losing the war, with officers like him.



(men shouting) Battaglia! Battaglia!

Battaglia! Battaglia!

Battaglia! Battaglia! Battaglia!

Battaglia! Battaglia!

We have today buried

our commanding officer...

...Colonel Brian David Lockart!

The purpose of this parade

is to bear witness to his death...

...and charge the man responsible for it!

Major Battaglia!

The Ninth Fusiliers now formally charge you

with the murder of Colonel Lockart!

Come forward and meet your accusers!


S, signor maggiore.

(men shout) Battaglia! Battaglia!

Follow me, please.

(men chant) Battaglia! Battaglia! Battaglia!

(shouts command in Italian)

(men continue chanting)

Major Fincham, unless you dismiss

your men now, it will be out of my hands.

- That swine hasn't the guts.

- You have left him no choice.

(men murmur)

You've shot one of my men!

He's fainted, sir. It's Ransom.

One of those from hospital.


Parade... dismiss!

Captain Stein! One moment.

This is Colonel Ryan.

He needs your attention too.

- American.

- Army Air Corps.

Begging your pardon, sir.

Are we still beating them in Sicily?

- We took Messina three days ago.

- (men cheer)

- Are you reporting for sick parade, Sergeant?

- No, sir.

I'm still trying to get

what my boys have needed all along.

I'm afraid I still have the same answer

for you:
There isn't any.

Easy, fellas. Easy.

Over here, Colonel.

The stool will do.

- Looks like you got a full house.

- And getting fuller, I'm afraid.

- What's the matter with these men?

- Malaria, scurvy.

Made worse by malnutrition.

- I've only alcohol for a disinfectant.

- Go right ahead, Doc.

How come you can't control

the malaria with drugs?

The Eyeties make no mepacrine.

The Eyeties grow food.

Get extra rations for your sick.

And clean up some of this filth.

And perhaps get 'em some clean uniforms.

Our diet and filth are Battaglia's

punishment for escape attempts.

He's taken our soap and razors,

turned off our shower baths...

...issued us with no uniforms or Red Cross

parcels, and kept us on half rations.

But he can't break us,

and he can't stop us trying to escape.

Even with the way

the war is going for us now?

Are you suggesting

we should knuckle under?

If that's what it takes, yes.

Liberation can only be a few weeks away.

Did you hear the colonel's

suggestion, fellas?

What do you think?

Well... meanin' no disrespect to him, sir...

...I'd say the colonel ought to muck off, sir.

- (murmurs of agreement)

I can't expect you to understand this,

but these men belong to the Ninth Fusiliers.

This regiment fought

with Marlborough in 1704...

...with Wellington against Napoleon,

and in the Crimea.

These men are all volunteers, professionals,

and they've come to fight a war.

It may come as news to you, Major,

but that's why we're all here.

Yes, but each in his different way. You

ought to know that. You're a professional.

Negative. I'm what they call at home

a 90-day wonder.

- I'm an airplane driver. My business is flying.

- Ours is soldiering.

OK, clue me. Suppose you do rig an escape.

How many men do you figure to get clear?

- Colonel Ryan, if one gets out, it's a victory.

- Sure it is.

Can somebody show me where I bunk?

- Sergeant Major.

- Sir?

- Escort Colonel Ryan to his quarters.

- Yes, sir.

We dine at six, sir.

- Major.

- This way, Colonel.

Sergeant Bostick, sir. 113th Tank Division.

This is Corporal Giannini, and Private Ames.

The reason we didn't say anything to you

in the sickbay, we wanted to get you alone.

They've all gone to mess.

- Are you cold, son?

- It's that damn malaria.

Don't knock it, Bostick. You ever have it,

Colonel? The fever makes you dream.

And, man, what dreams!

You know what I mean, sir?

- No. What?

- Well, they...

Hey. He's pretty sharp, huh?

You're a welcome sight, sir.

We need an American officer real bad.

- How many of us are there?

- Eight. We've lost two.

And if we don't get some decent grub and

medicine, that's gonna double and triple.

That's tough. From what I've seen,

everybody's in the same boat.

Sure, because the guys running it

are section eight.

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Wendell Mayes

Wendell Curran Mayes (July 21, 1919 – March 28, 1992) was a Hollywood screenwriter. more…

All Wendell Mayes scripts | Wendell Mayes Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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