For Whom The Bell Tolls


D: Sam Wood

Paramount (Sam Wood)

US 🇺🇸 1943

170 mins


W: Dudley Nichols [based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway]

DP: Ray Rennahan

Ed: Sherman Todd & John F. Link

Mus: Victor Young

PD: William Cameron Menzies

Gary Cooper (Robert Jordan), Ingrid Bergman (Maria), Akim Tamiroff (Pablo), Katina Paxinou (Pilar), Arturo de Cordova (Agustin), Joseph Calleia (El Sordo)

Not to be confused with the Metallica song, rather Ernest Hemingway's classic novel gets the big screen treatment in this sprawling romance from 1943.

Gary Cooper stars as Robert "Roberto" Jordan, an American in Spain during the civil war who allied himself with a group of Republican freedom fighters who set their attentions to blowing up a bridge, vital to their fight against a fascist regime sweeping across their country.

Politics are mostly put aside as the vast majority of the story focuses on the blossoming romance between Robert and Maria, a young woman aligned with the guerrilla fighters. 

There is also a power struggle between some senior members of the group that generates some interest outside of the principal romance, but the lion's share of the screentime revolves around Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman, who were perfect choices for their roles.

However, as good as Cooper and Bergman are, it really is the supporting performances that steal this movie away from them, especially Akim Tamiroff and Katina Paxinou as the two leaders of the group, the latter of whom deservedly winning the Best Supporting Actress of 1943.

Perhaps in another year, the film might have won the Best Picture Award, for which it was nominated but ultimately lost to Casablanca.

Not quite a classic, but a very worthy film for its time, with excellent production values, cinematography and special photographic effects.  It's a little too overlong at 170 mins, and could probably do with 30 minutes being trimmed, but not from the final act, which is as good as it gets considering the time of its release.


For Whom The Bell Tolls
For Whom The Bell Tolls