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For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

Unrated  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  28 April 1944 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 5,719 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 17 critic

During the Spanish Civil War, an American allied with the Republicans finds romance during a desperate mission to blow up a strategically important bridge.



(novel), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Arturo de Córdova ...
Vladimir Sokoloff ...
Mikhail Rasumny ...
Fortunio Bonanova ...
Eric Feldary ...
Victor Varconi ...
Katina Paxinou ...
Lilo Yarson ...
Alexander Granach ...
Adia Kuznetzoff ...
Leonid Snegoff ...


Spain in the 1930s is the place to be for a man of action like Robert Jordan. There is a civil war going on and Jordan who has joined up on the side that appeals most to idealists of that era -- like Ernest Hemingway and his friends -- has been given a high-risk assignment up in the mountains. He awaits the right time to blow up a bridge in a cave. Pilar, who is in charge there, has an ability to foretell the future. And so that night she encourages Maria, a young girl ravaged by enemy soldiers, to join Jordan who has decided to spend the night under the stars. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In spite of all the things that were done to me...I never kissed a man until you...and now there are only three days and three nights! See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

28 April 1944 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Por Quem os Sinos Dobram  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release) | (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Henry Fonda was considered for the role of Robert Jordan. See more »


Near the beginning of the film, when the bridge is viewed through binoculars, the angle of the view is often very inconsistent with Robert Jordan's position. See more »


Pablo: I doan prowoke.
See more »


Version of Playhouse 90: For Whom the Bell Tolls: Part 1 (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

One Of The Greats!!!!
10 June 2004 | by (Topeka, KS) – See all my reviews

Reading some of the comments here left me wondering, in some cases, whether the writers had this film confused with some B-movie potboiler. Some have written scathing contumelies with not a single positive remark to be found. It's amazing how differently two people from the same planet, same culture, can view the same thing. For me, this has always been one of my favorite movies, with very few flaws to be found. Gary Cooper could never be accused here (or anywhere else) of over acting. His style has always been one of understatement. He, in fact, was one of the actors who helped change the style of acting from the theatricality of the silents, to the more realistic method still in vogue today. Here, he is perfectly cast (Hemingway would accept no other)--the quiet, stoic, ruggedly handsome American.

Ingrid Bergman is my favorite actress, so it's probably hard for me to be objective, but I feel this is one of her greatest roles, playing the damaged, yet still innocent, Maria (it was, in fact, the role for which Bergman felt she would be most remembered). True, her accent could hardly be mistaken for Spanish, but this seems trivial when this is stacked up against her immense talent as an actress. The criticisms about her appearance have no justification at all, as has been pointed out by others. All Spaniards do not look alike. Ms. Bergman is absolutely radiant, luminous, stunningly beautiful. Her scenes with Coop are wonderful. You can see "Roberto's" interest in her immediately, first of a carnal nature, but increasingly with tenderness and concern. Their's is one of the best love stories on film.

The supporting characters are superlative; Akim Tamiroff is fine as the once courageous but now cowardly (and possibly treacherous) Pablo; Vladimir Sokoloff as the lovable aging guide--but where did they find Ms. Paxinou? Her Pilar is a fascinatingly vibrant character, full of grit and valor and indomitable courage, and yet capable of being deeply wounded by the thoughtless actions of a child. She apparently never did another film either before or after this one--just taking her well deserved Oscar and slipping away {Edit (Dec. 2005): I've since discovered that Ms. Paxinou DID appear in a few less prominent films after this one.}

It's true that war is not romantic, and the film shows some of the horrors of this enterprise. It is also true that it does to some extent romanticize this war in that it emphasizes the self-sacrifice and courage of these people. In any case, I feel most people will find themselves moved by the sacrifices and **SPOILERS** the doomed romance of the leads. The story has been altered a bit from the wonderful novel, but this is inevitable. Still, it follows it much more closely than most Hollywood filmizations. The scenery is spectacular--the color, the cinematography are top notch, and Victor Young has composed a lush and moving score that wonderfully underscores the action and emotions of the players--his creation being among the best in cinema history. The direction strikes an excellent balance between showing us the details of day to day survival by these hunted insurgents, the suspense of battle, and the growing romance. Some have criticized the dialogue, but I find it quite believable. That last speech of Jordan's and his thoughts right after, have in particular been singled out for scorn. But for me, it is extraordinarily real. He doesn't utter some plasticized ideal of what a parting speech should be--no it's something someone might actually say, filled with simple but heartfelt phrases.

Well, dear reader, you simply must see this film. Then judge for yourself whose comments are more accurate--those above, or those who have reviled the film. I know where I'd put my money.

58 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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