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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.



(play), (screenplay)
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Complete credited cast:
Maud Hansson ...
Karin, Block's Wife
Bertil Anderberg ...
The Monk
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 | Plot Synopsis


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


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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Ingmar Bergman credited the film with helping him overcome his crippling fear of death. Because the film dealt so overtly with the subject, he found it a highly cathartic experience. See more »


In the witches' forest, you can see the windows of apartment buildings between the trees. See more »


[watching a young woman get burned at the stake]
Jöns: Who will take care care of that child? Is it the angels or God or Satan or the emptiness? The emptiness, Sire?
Antonius Block: It can't be so!
See more »


Referenced in Mavet (2005) See more »


Dies Irae
Written by Tommaso da Celano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the most extraordinary movies ever made. I cannot recommend 'The Seventh Seal' highly enough.
12 July 2004 | by See all my reviews

'The Seventh Seal' is universally regarded as a masterpiece. It's one of those classics like 'Citizen Kane', 'Rear Window' or 'The Godfather' that has subtlety entered popular culture, so even if you haven't actually seen it you recognize references to it in other movies, TV, magazines and everyday conversation. The thing is like the aforementioned and 'Rashomon' and 'Sunset Blvd' it isn't regarded as a masterpiece for nothing, it really is one. I think anybody who loves movies will be totally knocked out by 'The Seventh Seal'. It's still one of the most extraordinary movies ever made. Visually it's stunning, the acting is first rate, and the end result is mesmerizing. Once seen never forgotten is a cliche, but it's the perfect description for this amazing film. Max von Sydow brilliantly plays Antonius Block, a knight returning from the Crusades who challenges Death (Bengt Ekerot) to a chess match. He is accompanied on his journey home by his cynical squire Jons (Gunnar Bjornstrand). Jons is my favourite character in the movie, and as good as von Sydow is Bjornstrand's performance is even better. I also was very taken by the traveling actors who become part of Block's entourage, Jof (Nils Poppe) and his wife Mia (Bibi Andersson), and confess to developing quite a crush on Mia. I cannot recommend 'The Seventh Seal' highly enough. Don't be put off by Bergman's highbrow reputation, this is a movie that can be appreciated by anybody, especially by old school horror fans. While it isn't strictly a horror movie itself anyone who admires the James Whale and Val Lewton classics of the 1930s and 1940s will find much to enjoy here.

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