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              312 user 107 critic

              Det sjunde inseglet (1957)

              A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.


              Ingmar Bergman


              Ingmar Bergman (play), Ingmar Bergman (screenplay)
              2,387 ( 117)
              Top Rated Movies #156 | 7 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


              Learn more

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

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              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.

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              Director: Ingmar Bergman
              Stars: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnel Lindblom, Birger Malmsten


              Complete credited cast:
              Gunnar Bj?rnstrand ... J?ns, 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
              ?ke Fridell ... Blacksmith Plog
              Gunnar Olsson ... Albertus Pictor, Church Painter
              Erik Strandmark ... Jonas Skat


              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


              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


              Drama | Fantasy


              See all certifications »

              Parents Guide:

              View content advisory »





              Swedish | Latin

              Release Date:

              30 March 1961 (Hong Kong) See more »

              Also Known As:

              Sedmi pe?at See more »


              Box Office


              $150,000 (estimated)

              Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

              See more on IMDbPro »

              Company Credits

              Show more on IMDbPro »

              Technical Specs


              Sound Mix:


              Aspect Ratio:

              1.37 : 1
              See full technical specs »

              Did You Know?


              The script was initially rejected. Ingmar Bergman would end up rewriting it five times. It was only after the success of Sommarnattens leende (1955) at Cannes that it started to be considered more seriously. See more »


              The chess players focus on capturing the Queen. The Queen was not a super-powerful piece until centuries later when a recent chess-variant initially called "chess of the mad queen" became more popular than the classic game. See more »


              J?ns: Only fools die of love.
              See more »


              Referenced in Sludd (2014) See more »


              Dies Ir?, Dies Illa / Vredens Stora Dag ?r N?ra
              Lyrics by Severin Cavallin
              See more »

              Frequently Asked Questions

              See more »

              User Reviews

              Chilling, audacious, and awe-inspiring. An undisputed masterpiece.
              5 May 2004 | by CowmanSee 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. J?ns'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.

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