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

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  13 October 1958 (USA)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 96,366 users  
Reviews: 253 user | 129 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

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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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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

Ingmar Bergman based the entire iconography of the movie on murals in a church where his clergyman father used to go and preach. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[the church painter explains why he is painting a mural about death]
Church Painter: Why should one always make people happy? It might be a good idea to scare them once in a while.
Jöns: Then they'll close their eyes and refuse to look.
Church Painter: They'll look. A skull is more interesting than a naked woman.
Jöns: If you do scare them...
Church Painter: Then they think.
Jöns: And then?
Church Painter: They'll become more scared.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Prairie Home Companion (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

DIES IRÆ, DIES ILLA / VREDENS STORA DAG ÄR NÄRA
Lyrics by Severin Cavallin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Top ten favorites. The Seventh Seal.
19 November 2003 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

Seventh Seal (1957) is one of my favorite movies. I have to rank it up there with A Touch of Zen, Seven Samurai and Battleship Potemkin. If there ever was such a thing as a perfect film, this one would have to be a nominee. I've never seen such a picture (and I probably never will) that was so moving, well shot, written, acted and directed. The chess game between the knight and death is an all-time classic. Words cannot describe how great this film is. There will never be another one like it. Truly amazing piece of celluloid.

A knight and his squire are returning home from the crusades. For the past few years he's been in the middle east fighting for Christ. On his trip home he notices a familiar face, one that he has seen many times on the battlefield. It is death and it wants him to come with him to his new home. The knight strikes a bargain with death, they'll play a game of chess if he can defeat death then he'll spare his life as well as the squire's. Death is amused by this unusual challenge and accepts it. But as long as the game is on the life will continue to live. So he uses this time to look back at life and realizes how precious it is. Along the way he meets a young couple, they're from a performing troupe. They have a baby and are content with life. The husband has visions and can see interesting things like the Virgin Mary and little Jesus. He can also see the darkness that lies ahead as Black Death ravages the countryside. Will the knight defeat Death? Can the couple weather the storm of chaos that lies ahead? To find out you'll have to watch The Seventh Seal, one of the finest films ever made.

If Bergman never made another film this one would have made him a legendary film maker. But he continued to make even more classic cinema. This one however is his finest work.

My highest recommendation possible.


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