The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal ( Det sjunde inseglet ) is a Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman , released in 1957 .


In the xiv th century , a knight and his squire , after ten years in the Crusades , are back in Sweden, where a raging epidemic of plague . On a deserted beach the knight meets Death and offers him a game of chess to delay the deadline, the time to find answers to his metaphysical problems: God exists? Does life have any meaning? Is the epidemic of plague the one of which the Apocalypse speaks ? While the squire professes the idea of nothing , the knight refuses to believe him.

Along the way they connect with a young family of walkers in the heart of the troubled country. Upon their contact, the knight rediscovers the carefree happiness of pure souls and the simple pleasures of life, which he says he has forgotten since his departure on a crusade.

The knight is checkmated, his reprieve is over. With his squire and some companions he returns to the castle he had left ten years ago. But Death knocks on the door and leads them into a fantastic dance of death . The only ones who have been spared are the swordsmen.

Technical sheet

  • Title: The Seventh Seal
  • Original title: Det sjunde inseglet
  • Director: Ingmar Bergman
  • Scenario: Ingmar Bergman
  • Music: Erik Nordgren
  • Photography: Gunnar Fischer
  • Editing: Lennart Wallén
  • Sets: PA Lundgren
  • Costumes: Manne Lindholm
  • Production: Allan Ekelund for Svensk Filmindustri
  • Distribution Company: Svensk Filmindustri
  • Budget: $ 150,000 (estimate)
  • Country of origin: Sweden
  • Language: Swedish , Latin
  • Format: Black and White – 1.37: 1 – Mono – 35mm
  • Genre: Drama
  • Duration: 96 minutes (1h36)
  • Release dates: ( Sweden ),( France )


  • Max von Sydow : Antonius Block
  • Gunnar Björnstrand : Jöns, the squire
  • Gunnel Lindblom : the nameless girl collected by Jöns
  • Bengt Ekerot : Death
  • Nils Poppe : Jof
  • Bibi Andersson : Mia, Jof’s wife
  • Erik Strandmark : actor Jonas Skat
  • Bertil Anderberg : Raval
  • Åke Fridell : Plog, the blacksmith
  • Inga Gill : Lisa, the wife of Plog
  • Maud Hansson : the witch
  • Inga Landgré : Karin Block

Uncredited Actors:

  • Mona Malm : the young pregnant woman
  • Gösta Prüzelius : a man

Around the film

  • The title comes from a phrase of the Apocalypse according to St. John the Evangelist , chapter 8:
“And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about half an hour.
And I saw the seven angels standing before God; they were given seven trumpets. “
The seven angels blow in turn in their trumpets, and at each ring a plague falls on the world.
  • Bergman was inspired by a painting by Albertus Pictor .
  • For the purposes of his story, Bergman has taken liberties with historical truth by making non-contemporary events coincide. In fact, the Crusades ended at the end of the xiii th century, the great black plague occurs in the middle of the xiv th century , and witch trials in Northern Europe, have really started at the end of the 15th century (publication of the Malleus Maleficarum or “Hammer of the witches” by the Dominican inquisitors Heinrich Kramer and Jacques Sprenger in 1486).
  • Box office France: 642,796 entries.


  • 1957 Cannes Film Festival : Special Jury Prize, tied with Kanal .
  • Silver Ribbon (National Union of Film Journalists, Italy) 1961 : Best Director of a foreign film.
  • Circle of Writers of Cinema (Spain, 1962): Prize of the Best Foreign Film.

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