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The Seventh Seal (1957)

Det sjunde inseglet (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Fantasy | 13 October 1958 (USA)
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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(play), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
...
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Maud Hansson ...
...
Karin, Block's Wife
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Bertil Anderberg ...
Raval
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The Monk
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Gunnar Olsson ...
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A film of visual scope, of imaginative concept, of powerful content, written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, twice honored by the Interational Jury at the Cannes Film Festival 1956,1957

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  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Prize Fotogramas de Plata (Spain) to the best foreign artist - Max Von Sydow, 1962. See more »

Goofs

The knight returning from the Crusades faces the Black Plague. The Black plague actually started in the beginning to mid 1200th century (In most non English speaking countries called 1300th century), reaching Europe in 1347, the most documented places that year and 1348 are Konstantinopel, Sicily, Genua and Avignon. See more »

Quotes

Antonius Block: I want knowledge! Not faith, not assumptions, but knowledge. I want God to stretch out His hand, uncover His face and speak to me.
Death: But He remains silent.
Antonius Block: I call out to Him in the darkness. But it's as if no one was there.
Death: Perhaps there isn't anyone.
Antonius Block: Then life is a preposterous horror. No man can live faced with Death, knowing everything's nothingness.
Death: Most people think neither of death nor nothingness.
Antonius Block: But one day you stand at the edge of life and face darkness.
Death: That day.
Antonius Block: I understand what you ...
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Connections

Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Killed by Death (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA / VREDENS STORA DAG ÄR NÄRA
Lyrics by Severin Cavallin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Quintessential Bergman Picture
25 July 2002 | by 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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