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The Seventh Seal (1957)

Det sjunde inseglet (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 13 October 1958 (USA)
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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Top Rated Movies #142 | 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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

Taglines:

A film of visual scope, of imaginative concept, of powerful content, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, twice honored by the Interational Jury at the Cannes Film Festival 1956,1957

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script was initially rejected. Ingmar Bergman would end up rewriting it five times. It was only after the success of Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) at Cannes that it started to be considered more seriously. See more »

Goofs

During the game of chess played against Death, the table appears incorrectly rotated. According to the rules of chess, the upper right square of a chessboard shall always be black (and not white as seen in the movie). Death and Antonius should know better than to make this mistake. See more »

Quotes

Blacksmith Plog: Hey Jöns, purely confidential, isn't life quite...?
Jöns: [interrupts Plog] Yes, it is... but don't think about that now.
Blacksmith Plog: [to himself] It's ludicrous, that's what it is.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Dave vs Death (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

ÖDET ÄR EN RACKARE
Music by Erik Nordgren
Lyrics by Ingmar Bergman
Sung by Gunnar Björnstrand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
The Quintessential Bergman Picture
25 July 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One thing that can be certain after watching the Seventh Seal, outside of being thankful for living in this century, is that Bergman knows his film-making- and imagery. He uses subliminal and not so subliminal techniques to convey a dying, frightened world, where making a living is almost impossible and the debate of god's control over life is discussed like un-rhyming yet fascinating poetry.

The result is beautiful cinema, capturing the always foreboding fear and allure of the almighty and for the waiting death, appropriately staged in post-crusades, mid dark age Europe. Max Von Sydow gives an excellent showing as the opponent of Death (in a clever and meticulous chess game), yet the character of Death, played by Bengt Ekerot with chilling conviction, steals the show, if only for the alluring quality of the character.

Even if the story veers it veers in good and interesting territory, focusing on people who convey Bergman's point and or style. I can't reveal what the bottom line point is (many newcomers to Bergman's work won't either, especially if you're not in the mood for soul searching), but one thing is for certain, an allegory on life and death is shown perfectly in the second to last shot of the reaper and his minions following in a dance across the field. This is one of the most pure of cinema's masterpieces and certainly Bergman's best cine. A++


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