The Seventh Seal 1957

Amazon Instant Video

(54) IMDb 8.3/10
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Director Ingmar Bergman's allegory of suffering and kindness tells the tale of a knight and his squire on their way home from the Crusades. They meet Death who says it's the knight's time so he challenges Death to a game of chess for his life. This is played on the journey - but who ends up checkmate?

Starring:
Max von Sydow,Bibi Andersson
Runtime:
1 hour, 32 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

The Seventh Seal

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Ingmar Bergman, Ingmar Bergman
Starring Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson
Supporting actors Gunnar Bjornstrand, Gunnel Lindblom, Bertil Anderberg, Anders Ek, Bengt Ekerot, Ake Fridell, Nils Poppe
Studio Palisades Tartan
BBFC rating Parental Guidance
Rental rights 48 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Aug. 2009
Format: DVD
The true power of a film can be measured in the way its images remain with you many years later. This is very true in my case with "The Seventh Seal", its images having engraved themselves in my subconscious. The films seemingly bleak vision of mans destiny makes for uncomfortable viewing. It is a film that forces you to examine your own beliefs, something that few films have dared to do. As we are all so different our conclusions will vary. I for one see optimism in the films ending, which many might not.

In the film Max Von Sydow plays Antonius Block a medieval knight returning to Sweden from the Crusades. He returns to a land ravaged by the Black Death. It is a journey through a haunted wasteland inhabited by demented monks and a cult for self-flagellation. It is a glimpse into the very jaws of hell and one is reminded of Dante's inferno. As the knight progresses through this horrifying and devastated land he treats his journey as an opportunity to gain a knowledge of the nature of God and his relationship with man. What little that is left of his faith is sorely tested. In the film he meets death in a game of chess. It is a contest that can ultimately have only one winner. Block is of mere flesh and blood like us, and his fate is sealed at birth. But he stalls for time as he tries to understand God. The knight takes a varied group of characters under his protection as the game is played out. He is now playing for other lives in addition to his own.

The film is clearly influenced by early medieval paintings which were not shy in showing the consequences of unbelief. Sinners being disposed of in a myriad of grisly ways. Something that would have no doubt preyed on the simple minds of the peasant population of the time. It was a roughshod way of keeping the pleb's in line.
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67 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 30 July 2007
Format: DVD
I'm writing this review having just learned of the death of Ingmar Bergman at the age of 89. It's fitting then that I should now return to a particular work that the legendary filmmaker wrote and directed fifty years ago, which expresses in explicit and philosophical detail, his overriding fear of death, and how this particular fear is one that is has been used and exploited for centuries by the Church for it's personal and ideological gain. As a result, The Seventh Seal can be described as an abstract allegory pertaining to the notion of life and death, as an expressionist horror film rife with iconic imagery and a foreboding atmosphere of Medieval torment and savage, plague-ridden doom, or as an almost sardonic satire on the catholic church, on war, and on organised religion in general.

I suppose at this point in time the film is most famous for it's central motif, in which a noble knight returning home from the crusades plays a series of chess games with the black-clad figure of death in an attempt to win back his life and return to his family. The games appear at different intervals throughout the film, which is structured episodically, taking in a scene of tranquil reflection and eventual performance from a group of travelling actors, the appearance of a religious procession marking a disease ridden town as unclean, and a scene in which a young woman is burned at the stake as a heretic. Thusly, the film is structured to become darker and more foreboding as our central character and his assistant make their way closer to home; taking the travelling actors along with them and trying to cheat death at every single turn.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Oldak Quill on 26 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD
From the very famous chess game between Antonius Block and Deathh on the beach to their skipping silhouettes on the hill the beauty and artistry of this masterpiece is maintained. Incoperating philosophy and the post-crucade life of Antonius Block as he battles (non-physically) with and runs from death the film embodies the greatness and individuality of Ingmar Bergman. The film, starring Max von Sydow (notorious Bergman collaborator; in films such as The Exorcist and Minority Report) recieves ten out of five stars from me.
However, due to the DVD I have to remove a star - not only are there hardly any features (apart from a photo gallery, text and some advertising) the presentation of the movie is highly injust - notably the poor state of the subtitles in comparison to Criterion Collection edition.
However, as this is the only version available in the UK at this current time I either recommend you buy this as an easy solution or track down a different edition (namely Criterion).
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By David Welsh on 17 April 2006
Format: DVD
One of the classic films of all time, The Seventh Seal is set in plague-ravaged Sweden in the Middle Ages and follows the knight Antonius Block who has returned from 10 years fighting in the Crusades. In the famous opening scene, Block encounters Death on the beach and challenges him to a game of chess in which he is playing for his life. Block's heartfelt search for meaning in the face of death and his struggle with the question of God's existence helped to show that cinema was a genuine art form that could be used to tackle deep existential and philosophical questions. This is a profound, challenging and beautifully executed film.
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