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

8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 86,905 users  
Reviews: 243 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

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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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the 50+ films he has done, this is one of Ingmar Bergman's own rare favorites. See more »

Goofs

When Death tries to restore the ruined positions of the chess pieces we can see that the king has been damaged, but in the following last move the king is whole again. 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 The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(uncredited)
Written by Tommaso da Celano
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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Pretentious, silly, even at the time. objviewer
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