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The Seventh Seal (1957)
"Det sjunde inseglet" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  13 October 1958 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 103,294 users  
Reviews: 259 user | 133 critic

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.



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Complete credited cast:
Nils Poppe ...
Mia / Mary - Jof's wife
Inga Gill ...
Lisa, blacksmith's wife
Maud Hansson ...
Inga Landgré ...
Karin, Block's Wife
Gunnel Lindblom ...
Bertil Anderberg ...
Anders Ek ...
Åke Fridell ...
Gunnar Olsson ...
Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark ...


A Knight and his squire are home from the crusades. Black Death is sweeping their country. As they approach home, Death appears to the knight and tells him it is his time. The knight challenges Death to a chess game for his life. The Knight and Death play as the cultural turmoil envelopes the people around them as they try, in different ways, to deal with the upheaval the plague has caused. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Fantasy


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal  »

Box Office


$150,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Nils Poppe was famous in Sweden for being a comedic actor, therefor it's quite appropriate that his character, Jof, is a jester. See more »


When the group enters the castle from the rainstorm, they are perfectly dry. See more »


[watching a young woman get burned at the stake]
Jöns: Who will take care care of that child? Is it the angels or God or Satan or the emptiness? The emptiness, Sire?
Antonius Block: It can't be so!
See more »


Referenced in A Prairie Home Companion (2006) See more »


Lyrics by Severin Cavallin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Ingmar Bergman questions the meaning of life, death, faith, and the existence of God in this masterpiece of world cinema...
1 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Antonius Block - "Who are you?" Death - "I am Death." Antonius Block - "Have you come for me?" Death - "I have long walked by your side." Antonius Block - "So I have noticed."

The Seventh Seal, considered by some to be Ingmar Bergman's greatest achievement, is the desperate prayer of a sensitive, introspective, and insightful young man confused by the horrors of the world around him. Ingmar Bergman's films are often very deep, full of symbolism, philosophy, spirituality, emotion, and thought. The Seventh Seal is classic Bergman. Expressing his fear of life with no meaning, death with no understanding, and faith with no validity, Ingmar Bergman takes us deep into the well of his mind.

As the Black Plague ravages the world, a Antonius Block and his squire, Jons (Max Von Sydow and Gunnar Bjornstrand, respectively), return from fighting in the Crusades. They find their homeland devastated by the plague, their countrymen mad with fear, and their cause lost. Antonius Block is confronted by Death (Bengt Ekerot). Block challenges Death to a game of chess to provide him time to seek answers to the questions that plague his mind as Death has plagued his country. Death accepts, knowing that Block cannot escape his fate, and the two begin their game. As the story continues, Block and Jons meet with several testaments to the agony that the Black Death has brought upon their land. They find a young girl who is to be burned at the stake for having been with the Devil. They find madness in the eyes of all they meet, as everyone is convinced that God is angry and is punishing the world with the plague. They also find a small group of travelling actors, who appear to be the only souls to have remained sane in the midst of all of the death and fear. Block and Jons move across the countryside in the hopes of finding safety in Block's castle, but Death is always around the corner, biding his time.

Brilliantly conceived, and stunningly executed, Bergman's vision is brought to the screen through Gunnar Fischer's powerful cinematography creating images that will likely remain with you for the rest of your life. Strong performances from everyone involved bring humanity to the film. Max Von Sydow's brave and conflicted Antonius Block matching wits with Bengt Ekerot's sinister, omnipotent Death is a microcosm of the forces at work in this breath-taking interpretation of the mortal struggle.

A masterpiece!

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how would YOU challenge Death?? popeLAC
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Pretentious, silly, even at the time. objviewer
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