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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
2,932 ( 222)

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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 Bertil Anderberg ... Raval
Anders Ek ... The Monk
Åke Fridell ... Blacksmith Plog
Gunnar Olsson ... Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark 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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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)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Svensk Filmindustri (SF) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ingmar Bergman began writing the screenplay for The Seventh Seal (1957) while he was in Stockholm's Karolinska Hospital, recovering from a stomach complaint. See more »

Goofs

During the game of chess played against Death, the table appears incorrectly rotated. According to the rules of chess, the upper right square of a chessboard shall always be black (and not white as seen in the movie). Death and Antonius should know better than to make this mistake. See more »

Quotes

Jöns: Our crusade was such madness that only a real idealist could have thought it up.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Lumiere Report (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(uncredited)
Written by Tommaso da Celano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Compelling Drama From Ingmar Bergman
4 November 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

A compelling contemplation of death and the nature of Man's existence, Ingmar Bergman's `The Seventh Seal' is uncompromising, riveting drama that is every bit as striking conceptually as it is philosophically. In the Fourteenth Century a knight, Antonius Block (Max von Sydow), and his squire, Jons (Gunnar Bjornstrand), have returned after ten years away at the Crusades to their native Sweden, and are beginning their journey home. For Block, it is a pensive time; he is troubled by what he perceives as God's silence, and thirsts for knowledge and some meaning to his life, as well as a resolution of faith, which has deserted him. Jons, meanwhile, is a study in jaded indifference, who believes in nothing beyond the present and whatever his senses and current circumstances dictate. Shortly after their arrival on the coast of Sweden, Death (Bengt Ekerot) comes for Block. But Block strikes a bargain with him, challenging him to a game of chess, to be played as they continue on with their journey. As long as Block prevails, they will go on; if he wins, he will be released. And though Block knows what the outcome must inevitably be, he welcomes Death's acceptance of his challenge, for the game affords him perhaps enough time to fulfill his quest, while adding purpose to what promises to be an arduous trek through a land being ravaged by the Black Plague. Von Sydow brings a commanding presence to the screen as Block, his very countenance bespeaking strength and poise. His subtle, stoic approach to this enigmatic character is captivating, and lends a depth and dignity that makes Block truly memorable. By contrast, Jons' strength seems born of his indifference; he takes things as they come, and is governed by a somewhat fatalistic philosophy. Bjornstrand, a gifted, eloquent actor (and veteran of numerous Bergman films), invests an earthy, gritty quality to Jons that plays effectively opposite von Sydow's more ethereal portrayal of Block. It is significant that in the closing scene the final speech, in the presence of Death, is accorded to Jons; for it elevates the character to a station equal to, if not surpassing, that of the protagonist, Block. The supporting cast includes Nils Poppe (Jof), Bibi Andersson (Mia), Inga Gill (Lisa), Gunnel Lindblom (Girl), Anders Ek (The Monk), Ake Fridell (Plog) and Erik Strandmark (Skat). Written and directed by Bergman, `The Seventh Seal' is a thought provoking, earnest meditation on faith and mortality that is filled with stunning metaphoric and visual images that will forever be indelibly inscribed in your memory. One scene in particular, in which the players link hands and, silhouetted against a twilight sky are led by Death in a dance across the crest of a distant hill, is breathtaking in it's simplicity. It stands (as does this entire film) as an example of why Ingmar Bergman is one of the greatest directors in the history of the cinema. I rate this one 10/10.


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