For Whom the Bell Tolls

Watch For Whom the Bell Tolls

"Thunderous! Tender! Touching!"
  • Passed
  • 1943
  • 2 hr 50 min
  • 6.8  (10,183)
  • 68

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1943 American film, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. Directed by Sam Wood and starring Gary Cooper, Ingrid Bergman, and Akim Tamiroff, the movie tells the story of an American, Robert Jordan who is fighting on the side of the Republican government during the Spanish Civil War. Jordan, who is an experienced dynamiter, is tasked with blowing up a bridge so that the enemy's advance can be stopped. He meets Maria, a beautiful woman who has been tortured by the enemy, and the two fall in love. The story is set over three days and follows Jordan, Maria, and their comrades as they fight fiercely for a cause they believe in.

The film doesn't waste any time in getting to the action. After a brief prologue, Jordan meets his Spanish comrades, including Anselmo (played by Tamiroff), and they begin their journey to the bridge. Along the way, they encounter difficulties, including a failed attempt to steal a horse and a skirmish with enemy soldiers. The tension builds quickly as Jordan explains the intricacies of blowing up the bridge, and the audience is left to wonder whether they will be successful in their mission.

As Jordan and his comrades prepare for the attack, they are joined by Maria (played by Bergman), who is an expert in the local terrain. Jordan is initially hesitant to work with her, but the two begin to bond over their shared experiences of war and loss. As they start to fall in love, it becomes clear that their time together is limited and that they will have to make the most of their brief respite from the war.

The film's cinematography is particularly noteworthy, showcasing the stark beauty of the Spanish countryside. The shot of the sunrise over the mountains is particularly striking, and the use of shadows and darkness serves to heighten the tension in some of the film's more suspenseful scenes. Cooper's performance as Jordan is understated and subtle, giving a sense of the character's weariness and experience. Bergman, meanwhile, plays Maria with a delicate vulnerability that makes her impossible not to care for.

One of the most interesting aspects of the film is its treatment of the politics of the Spanish Civil War. Though the film is set firmly on the side of the Republican government, it doesn't shy away from portraying the complexities of the conflict. The fact that the enemy soldiers are depicted as human beings rather than faceless villains adds nuance to the story and reminds us that war is never black and white.

The film's climax is a masterful blend of action and emotion. As the bridge is blown up and the Republican soldiers launch their attack, the audience is left rooting for the heroes even as we know that not all of them will emerge unscathed. It's a testament to the film's power that even after seventy-five years, the finale still has the ability to shock and move viewers.

In conclusion, For Whom the Bell Tolls is a classic film that offers a potent mix of action, suspense, and romance. The performances by Cooper, Bergman, and Tamiroff are top-notch, the cinematography is stunning, and the story is both gripping and thoughtful. Though it may be a bit slow-paced for modern audiences, it's a film that rewards patience and attention, and one that is well worth revisiting.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is a 1943 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 50 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 68.

For Whom the Bell Tolls
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 50 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (10,183)
  • Metascore