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

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 86,553 users  
Reviews: 242 user | 125 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

Plot Keywords:

death | knight | chess | plague | chess game | See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The inspiration for this film was said to be drawn from the period films of Akira Kurosawa, of which Ingmar Bergman was a big fan. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

[the church painter explains why he is painting a mural about death]
Church Painter: Why should one always make people happy? It might be a good idea to scare them once in a while.
Jöns: Then they'll close their eyes and refuse to look.
Church Painter: They'll look. A skull is more interesting than a naked woman.
Jöns: If you do scare them...
Church Painter: Then they think.
Jöns: And then?
Church Painter: They'll become more scared.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Striking Back (1999) 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

Chilling, audacious, and awe-inspiring. An undisputed masterpiece.
5 May 2004 | by (The Mitten State, USA) – See all my reviews

The mysteries of religion and death have long been a popular focus among artists of all media, including film. And while many films question these mysteries, they seldom provide any real insight into the world of the unknown. In Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL, these mysteries are not only questioned; they are dissected, splayed, and scrutinized.

THE SEVENTH SEAL could very well serve as sort of a manifesto for existentialism. Its deep acuity and haunting imagery is powerful enough to jar even passive viewers out of their complacency and force them to examine their own reality. The delicately crafted story centers around a 14th century knight named Antonius Block and his ongoing game of chess with a shadowy, hooded figure: Death. Bergman uses this allegory not just to personify death, but to illustrate the lengths man will go to in order to avoid it. In the end, however, Death is a much better player than any of us, and though he may humor some of his opponents by letting them think that they have the advantage, the end result is inevitable: Death always wins. No matter how skillfully we plan our moves or how determined we are to win, we can never beat Death.

In Antonius's search for answers, he encounters a variety of very unique characters, each with their own outlook on life, death, faith, fear and love. Their commentary on such matters is often dryly funny and always brilliant, continuously and effectively challenging our perceptions of the world around us. For me, the dialogue was definitely the high point of the film, as it was extremely thought-provoking and carefully constructed throughout. Almost every line spoken is, in one way or another, daunting and unforgettable. Jöns's description of love as "the blackest of all plagues" is a quote that will forever be engraved in my mind.

THE SEVENTH SEAL truly is a remarkable accomplishment in the world of cinema. It is a deep, mesmerizing, and darkly beautiful work of art. More importantly, THE SEVENTH SEAL is one of those rare movies that doesn't just entertain, but also has the power to change the way one thinks.


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Pretentious, silly, even at the time. objviewer
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Why did Death take everyone with Block? ruomegared
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