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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: 8.3/10 from 101,286 users  
Reviews: 254 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 <>

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:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The church which Jöns and Antonius Block arrives at 15 minutes into the film is actually a model hung in the dead tree in the foreground. See more »


In a close shot at the seashore, the sun is visible behind Block's back, but it's gone in the following wide shot. See more »


Antonius Block: I met Death today. We are playing chess.
See more »


Referenced in Kommissarie Späck (2010) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Bergman's Brilliance Abounds
23 April 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

What makes The Seventh Seal - an apocryphal and uncompromising fable of medieval Sweden - one of the masterpieces of Cinema ? Ingmar Bergman creates a believable world of dark happenings, wherein Death can play chess with a Knight, witches burn at the stake, with flagellants, and plague ever present. Through superb black and white images, each carefully composed for maximum effect, sets and costumes, his fine actors seem to truly inhabit this frightening world. Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, and Bengt Ekerot lead a marvelous cast. But its not all doom and gloom, as the Knight tries to determine in his quest, the meaning of life, and if God exists at all. There are moments of sheer happiness and peace, such as the sequence of the milk and strawberries at dusk, and a number of bawdy comic moments throughout the film. Which balances the darker side. It is unforgettable and I still remember seeing it on its first release, being stunned by the quality of the photography, and the performances. A restored version on DVD is recommended. Bergman is one of the great film makers of our time. Seldom today do we see such precise and considered images on the screen. Not to be missed.

49 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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how would YOU challenge Death?? popeLAC
Pretentious, silly, even at the time. objviewer
English dubbed version vs. English subtitles. amjschmitz
when does the Knight join the family? TamalpaisHigh
Breaking Down Bergman on The Seventh Seal eo_guy
Does God Exist? adamsnd
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