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

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 89,859 users  
Reviews: 247 user | 127 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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Title: The Seventh Seal (1957)

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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
Gunnel Lindblom ...
Bertil Anderberg ...
Raval
Anders Ek ...
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

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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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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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is a Biblical quotation from The Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 8. See more »

Goofs

When Lisa, the Blacksmith's wife is together with Skat and laughs, her inlays are visible. See more »

Quotes

Girl: It is finished.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(uncredited)
Written by Tommaso da Celano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Grim, but not entirely hopeless
24 January 2003 | by (Erlangen, Germany) – See all my reviews

Middle Ages: Antonius Blok, a Swedish knight, returns from the Crusades only to find his country dying of the plague, religious fundamentalists taking over and Death himself wanting him to come along. Antonius challenges Death to a game of chess and is meanwhile driven to desperation because of the absence of God. This description sounds like a very serious, philosophical and dour film, and actually it is serious, philosophical and dour; but there is also a little warmth, hope and humor, maybe not for Antonius, but for the viewer.

When Blok and Death interrupt their game of chess (due to the plague, Death is very busy), he meets two actors, Jof and Mia, with their little son, the most human characters of the film, and I don't think it's a coincidence that there names sound very much like Joseph and Mary. These people may be a little dim, but they are good at heart and you can see the happiness in Antonius' eyes when he is together with them for the first time.

But the main aspect of Ingmar Bergman's arguably best film are Antonius Blok's grim encounters, as the young girl about to be burnt at the stake, as a scapegoat for the plague. And the haunting image of a huge crowd of flagellants interrupting a play of Jof and Mia and trying to convince the crowd thery are doomed; hardly any other film is that direct in asking controversial and essential questions about God, religion and mankind as The Seventh Seal.

Another reason for the impact this almost 50-year-old film has still today is the acting: Max von Sydow's face always seems to reflect what Antonius Blok is thinking, Nils Poppe's performance as the naive actor and caring father is priceless and Bengt Ekerot's Death became a part of film history and survived all its spoofs (the best one being in Woody Allen's tremendously funny "Love and Death"). But the best performance is done by Gunnar Björnstrand as Antonios Blok's misogynist squire, dryly commenting all their encounters even in the face of death.

The Seventh Seal is not subtle in raising it's questions, that's for sure. But it makes you think about these questions nevertheless. It's disturbing and grim most of the time, but at the end it gives you the hope that it might become better.


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Recent Posts
when does the Knight join the family? TamalpaisHigh
how would YOU challenge Death?? louis_conte
Pretentious, silly, even at the time. objviewer
Breaking Down Bergman on The Seventh Seal eo_guy
Does God Exist? adamsnd
Boring clayzar
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