What does For Whom The Bell Tolls mean?

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Metallica: For Whom The Bell Tolls Meaning


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Song Released: 1985

For Whom The Bell Tolls Lyrics

Make his fight on the hill in the early day
Constant chill deep inside
Shouting gun, on they run through the endless grey
On they fight, for the right, yes, but who's to say?

For a hill, men would kill, why? They do not know


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 1st 2006 report

    This song describes a scene in the book "for whom the bell tolls" by ernest hemmingway.

    Warning: spoiler below. Don't read this if you don't want any plot details.

    In this part of the book, a man known as el sordo is a guerilla leader fighting in the mountains of spain during the spanish civil war (which occured in the 1930s, when the second spanish republic came to power and spanish facists declared war on said republic). He ends up under attack and, massively outnumbered, he makes his last stand on a hilltop. He and his four remaining men hold off the attackers until planes come and bomb the hilltop, killing them all. The worst part of all this is that they were just trying to steal horses in order to retreat after aiding robert jordan, the novel's protagonist, in a highly improbable attack on a bridge required for the republic's forces to possibly take a city. As a result, sordo's men sort of have died for nothing, as their last stand will have little significance in the war or in history.
    This song comments on that, and on the futility of war.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 8th 2007 report

    Whether this song is about the Hemingway novel or an actual battle that took place is irrelevant. It is written in such a manner that it can relate to just about any war. Your grandfather who served in WWII or your dad who served in Vietnam could both say it relates to them. I think the point of the song is to pay tribute to the fighting men and women throughout history, and try to portray the strong emotions that they must have felt in the heat of battle and overwhelming odds.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 18th 2018 report

    I think on surface it is about the Hemingway book but deeper I believe it means that who is to say who are the "good" guys and the "bad" guys in war/ humanity. Who has the right to say one side or group of people whether based on religion or race or politics are deserved of death and who is to say they will be punished in wherever we think one goes when they die. We are all on that list and it could be any of us at any time and so don't assume you know who will meet their maker or where they'll go because it could be you any second who's number is up. When they say we are all one I think yes it means that in the corny sense but deeper meaning is we all know nothing of what awaits us or when our time is up, we are all on the same playing field so to speak and so have humility and empathy for all and we should respect each other while we all experience this thing called life together.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 15th 2018 report

    This is by John donne

  5. anonymous
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    Apr 8th 2017 report

    That death is inevitable for everyone

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  6. anonymous
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    Oct 11th 2013 report

    It's about the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. I haven't read the book but I do like the song/band though lol.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2013 report

    For me its the history of a group of soldiers defending a hill in the vietnam war, and for some sadly reason they get surrounded by the enemy and they decided to call a massive danger close airstrike that kills everyone in the hill, sounds sad but i think thats what this song means

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  8. anonymous
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    Jan 24th 2011 report

    i own a DVD about the making of the black album and also ride the lightning. this song was made about war in general. Vietnam world war 2 etc:

  9. anonymous
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    Jan 7th 2011 report

    Church Bells are ringing to let people Know someone died.

  10. anonymous
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    Jan 4th 2011 report

    I think it is about the persons' view of any war they are in or they see.

  11. Gehniss
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    Apr 14th 2010 report

    I would agree that it is undoubtedly about the scene mentioned 'ALOT', however I would go further an say it is a common vision of men under arms doing that which they were trained to do under conditions few can imagine.
    The song makes me shiver when I listen. Also of course the book is fantastic...

  12. anonymous
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    Jul 4th 2009 report

    This song is based on an Ernest Hemingway book where 5 soldiers are left to defend a hill against the enemy but they get there faces blown off by a frigging enemy air strike.

  13. anonymous
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    Oct 6th 2007 report

    It prolly is about the book "For Whom The Bell Tolls" I haven't read it but I mean, they've written other songs about books just look at "ONE" - its based off of Johnny Got His Gun (and Dont fight that I read the book and James sings lines straight outta that book)

  14. YourFan
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    Jul 19th 2007 report

    This song is about the novel "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Ernest Hemingway, which I have read.

    It's about the part where five International Brigades soldiers of the Spanish Civil War try to escape the fascists with their stolen horses and are killed by enemy aircraft on a hill.

  15. anonymous
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    Feb 27th 2007 report

    I think that it was about how pointless I suppose war is. but.i saw an interview where james said that it was based on the book 'for whom the bell tolls.

  16. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2006 report

    It's a great song about the injustice of war and how in war, no one's a winner.

  17. anonymous
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    Mar 2nd 2006 report

    It is about the book ! The book is about 5 soldiers who are are defending a hill against overwhelming force, who are killed by an airstrike, which is also what the song is obviously about.

  18. davidforbes
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    Feb 6th 2006 report

    It's more less about the brutality of war "gone insane from the pain which they surely know." you see

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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