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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.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writers:

Ingmar Bergman (play), Ingmar Bergman (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,575 ( 77)
Top Rated Movies #159 | 9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Jöns, squire
Bengt Ekerot ... Death
Nils Poppe ... Jof / Joseph
Max von Sydow ... Antonius Block
Bibi Andersson ... Mia / Mary - Jof's wife
Inga Gill ... Lisa, blacksmith's wife
Maud Hansson ... Witch
Inga Landgré ... Karin, Block's Wife
Gunnel Lindblom ... Girl
Bertil Anderberg ... Raval
Anders Ek ... The Monk
Åke Fridell ... Blacksmith Plog
Gunnar Olsson ... Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark ... Jonas Skat
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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The last two minutes of the film are pure improvisation. The actors have played the whole final scene, when Ingmar Bergman saw in the sky a cloud of unusual shape. He told the troupe again wear costumes and directed a new version of the final scene in one take. 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

[first lines]
narrator: And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space oh half an hour. And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound.
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Connections

Referenced in Empire of the Censors (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Iræ, Dies Illa / Vredens Stora Dag Är Nära
Lyrics by Severin Cavallin
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User Reviews

 
Top ten favorites. The Seventh Seal.
19 November 2003 | by Captain_CouthSee 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | Latin

Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$230,571
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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