8.2/10
160,054
351 user 122 critic

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)
Reviews
Popularity
2,212 ( 62)
Top Rated Movies #159 | 9 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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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

When Skat and the blacksmith reunite with the group, a forest backdrop is visible in the background. 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

Spoofed in The Auteur Theory (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Det Sitter en Duva
Music by Erik Nordgren
Lyrics by Ingmar Bergman
Sung by Nils Poppe
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User Reviews

Filled With Memorable Images
11 October 2001 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

This classic is filled with a lot of memorable images - from the opening scenes on the seashore to the effective concluding shots, creative thoughts are combined with some fine camera work. There are several significant or interesting questions raised by the characters - from the imagery of the "Seventh Seal" in Revelation, to their simple but important concerns about eternity - but it is the way that the visuals play off of the ideas that make the movie so worthwhile.

The recreation of the medieval world is convincing and effective, with a lot of detail to set off a varied assortment of characters with different personalities and perspectives. The characters are not necessarily very deep, but most are interesting, and are worth caring about. The ways that they deal with their discouraging situation make you wonder what it would have been like to live in their world. It's also a movie that in some respects is even better to watch over again, after you already know what has happened and can then pick up even more of the detail and imagery.

No doubt the somber tone and slow pace will always keep it from being widely popular, and it's not perfect, but it's satisfying in a different way, and deserves its reputation as a classic.


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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
See full technical specs »

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