If you've never seen The Sound of Music before and don't feel like watching the 3-hour film, never fear! This section endeavors to introduce the film in as succinct but complete a fashion as possible, with an overview, character outlines, and full summary with screenshots.
Maria, a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria, is an enthusiastic but somewhat overly energetic young woman, one who seems oddly ill-fitted for being a nun. So, when a request comes to the abbey from a retired Navy captain seeking a governess for his seven children, the Mother Abbess sees a way to help Maria and help someone in the community, too.
This is the fateful decision that brings Maria and Captain von Trapp together. Though their first meeting starts them out on the wrong foot (almost literally), they both grow to admire, respect, trust, and eventually love one another, and the children learn that their father is no longer distant and cold, nor is Maria like any of the other governesses they've had before. All of this takes place amid the rising social and political tensions of Austria in the late 1930s, as the Nazi regime in neighboring Germany reaches its height...which will impinge on the family's freedom before too long.