8.2/10
118,497
279 user 139 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:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
3,054 ( 109)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Top Rated Movies #142 | 7 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
Persona (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personas are melding together.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson
(1963)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Claudia Cardinale
Rashômon (1950)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An innocent yet pampered young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan
The 400 Blows (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
M (1931)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Recently released from a mental hospital; Karin rejoins her emotionally disconnected family and their island home, only to slip from reality as she begins to believe she is being visited by God.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A small town priest struggles with his faith.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Björnstrand, Gunnel Lindblom
Stalker (1979)
Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stars: Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn
Edit

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
...
Bertil Anderberg ...
Raval
...
Åke Fridell ...
Gunnar Olsson ...
Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
Erik Strandmark ...
Edit

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

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:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

13 October 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Seventh Seal  »

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Of the 50+ films he has done, this is one of Ingmar Bergman's own rare favorites. See more »

Goofs

At the seashore, Block's face is brightly lit from the side, yet the rising (or setting) sun is behind his back. See more »

Quotes

Antonius Block: This is my hand. I can turn it. The blood is still running in it. The sun is still in the sky and the wind is blowing. And I... I, Antonius Block, play chess with Death.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Black Death (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Chilling, audacious, and awe-inspiring. An undisputed masterpiece.
5 May 2004 | by (The Mitten State, USA) – See all my reviews

The mysteries of religion and death have long been a popular focus among artists of all media, including film. And while many films question these mysteries, they seldom provide any real insight into the world of the unknown. In Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL, these mysteries are not only questioned; they are dissected, splayed, and scrutinized.

THE SEVENTH SEAL could very well serve as sort of a manifesto for existentialism. Its deep acuity and haunting imagery is powerful enough to jar even passive viewers out of their complacency and force them to examine their own reality. The delicately crafted story centers around a 14th century knight named Antonius Block and his ongoing game of chess with a shadowy, hooded figure: Death. Bergman uses this allegory not just to personify death, but to illustrate the lengths man will go to in order to avoid it. In the end, however, Death is a much better player than any of us, and though he may humor some of his opponents by letting them think that they have the advantage, the end result is inevitable: Death always wins. No matter how skillfully we plan our moves or how determined we are to win, we can never beat Death.

In Antonius's search for answers, he encounters a variety of very unique characters, each with their own outlook on life, death, faith, fear and love. Their commentary on such matters is often dryly funny and always brilliant, continuously and effectively challenging our perceptions of the world around us. For me, the dialogue was definitely the high point of the film, as it was extremely thought-provoking and carefully constructed throughout. Almost every line spoken is, in one way or another, daunting and unforgettable. Jöns's description of love as "the blackest of all plagues" is a quote that will forever be engraved in my mind.

THE SEVENTH SEAL truly is a remarkable accomplishment in the world of cinema. It is a deep, mesmerizing, and darkly beautiful work of art. More importantly, THE SEVENTH SEAL is one of those rare movies that doesn't just entertain, but also has the power to change the way one thinks.


194 of 227 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?