Greatest Film Scenes
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For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

In director Sam Wood's Technicolored romantic war drama set during the Spanish Civil War in 1937, based upon Ernest Hemingway's 1950 novel of the same name:

  • the opening segment of the detonation of a Nationalist troop train, prefaced by John Donne's meditational quote on a title screen: "Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde: and therefore never send to know For Whom The Bell Tolls It tolls for thee" - Spain 1937
  • the intense scene of blue-eyed, short-haired guerrilla fighter and peasant refugee Maria (Ingrid Bergman) with idealistic American mercenary Robert "Roberto" Jordan (Gary Cooper) fighting on the side of the Republicans in Spain against Franco's Fascists, telling him how the Nationalists had murdered her parents and then brutalized her before she was rescued by the guerrilla fighters: "My father and my mother, I saw them killed. My father was the mayor of our town and a Republican. When the Nationalists came to town, they lined up the Republicans against the wall. My father cried out very loud, 'Long live the Republic!' And then they shot him. But my mother was not a Republican. She had no politics. But she loved my father and she couldn't say that. So she just looked at my father who lay there on his face at her feet, and she said, 'Long live my husband who was the mayor of this town.' She said it very loud, like a shriek, and then they shot and she fell, and I wanted to go to her, but we were all tied - we were tied by the wrists in a long line of girls and women. And I wanted to be shot too and I was gonna say, 'Long live the Republic and my mother and my father.' But instead, there was no more shooting. They, they herded us up the hill and through the streets to the square..." - he interrupted her when she was about to describe her rape, and he embraced her
  • the famous scene of Robert and Maria with their subsequent kissing scene: ("I'd like - I don't know how to kiss, or I would kiss you. Where do the noses go?")
  • the conclusion with ill-fated, seriously-injured hero Jordan's final soliloquy to Maria when, with a broken leg, he chose to self-sacrifice and be left behind to meet his certain death: ("You go now, Maria...what I do now I do alone. I couldn't do it if you were here...There's no good-bye, Maria, because we're not apart"); he assured her that his spirit would live on within her
  • the final image - Jordan awaiting the approaching, horse-riding Fascists, and readied behind a Lewish machine; when they soldiers appeared, he fired the machine gun directly at the camera, causing smoke to rise from the gun-fire; a bell tolled his fate in the dissolve ending

The Opening: (With John Donne's Quote)

Maria's Past Brutalization

"Where do the noses go?"

Ending: Jordan Readied to Fire Lewis Machine Gun


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