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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 103,275 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?


The main character's name, Antonius Block, is only ever spoken twice in the entire movie. See more »


At the seashore, Block's face is brightly lit from the side, yet the rising (or setting) sun is behind his back. See more »


Antonius Block: They say you have consorted with the devil?
Witch: Why do you ask that?
Antonius Block: It's not out of curiosity, but because of utterly personal reasons. I would also like to meet him.
Witch: Why?
Antonius Block: I want to ask him about God. He must know. He, if anyone.
See more »


Referenced in Minority Report (2002) See more »


Music by Erik Nordgren
Lyrics by Ingmar Bergman
Sung by Gunnar Björnstrand
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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