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The Seventh Seal (The Criterion Collection) (1957)

Max von Sydow , Gunnar Björnstrand , Ingmar Bergman , Marie Nyreröd  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Ingmar Bergman, Erland Josephson, Marie Nyreröd
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman, Marie Nyreröd
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Allan Ekelund
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 16, 2009
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (264 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001WLMOL4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,291 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Seventh Seal (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Few films have had as large a cultural impact as Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (Det sjunde inseglet). Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing.
• New, restored high-definition digital transfer
• Introduction by Ingmar Bergman, recorded in 2003
• Audio commentary by Bergman expert Peter Cowie
• A new afterword to the commentary by Cowie
• Bergman Island (2006), an 83-minute documentary on Bergman by Marie Nyreröd, featuring in-depth and revealing interviews with the director
• Archival audio interview with Max von Sydow
• A 1998 tribute to Bergman by filmmaker Woody Allen
• Theatrical trailer
• Bergman 101, a selected video filmography tracing Bergman’s career, narrated by Cowie
• Optional English-dubbed soundtrack
• New and improved English subtitle translation
• PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Gary Giddins

Stills from The Seventh Seal (Click for larger image)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
159 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing film, stunning transfer June 19, 2009
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
For the record, I own the original DVD release of The Seventh Seal along with this new HD transfer Blu Ray release and have done a little spot checking comparisons between the two.

For those that are unaware of what this film is, it has become an icon in the art house circle of film. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival; a testament to its impact in this arena. I don't pay mind to "Artsy" films and usually don't enjoy them, however I took a chance on the original Criterion DVD release and loved it; thus the need and desire to upgrade to Blu Ray.

The story is one of a knight (Antonius Block) and his squire (Jöns) returning from the Crusades only to find that his homeland is being conquered by the plague. He travels the land towards his goal of being reunited with, what he has stated, is a wife whom he married young and has not seen for the 10 years he spent in the Crusades. In the opening scene Anotonius is greeted by Death. In a sequence that has been parodied in several films (Bill & Ted battling Death at Twister comes to mind), Antonius challenges death to a game of chess. If Anotonius wins, he goes on with his life; if he loses, his life comes to an end. The game is not finished in a first sitting and there are several scenes in which the game takes a role.

As he travels, a rag tag band of people accompany him; a smith, the smith's wife, a woman whom Jöns saves from death and rape and two actors and their child with whom Antonius shares strawberries and milk in a scene where he begins to feel at peace.
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122 of 127 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest films on the meaning of life. February 17, 2000
By smarmer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is the film that transformed me from a fan of movies to a lover of cinema. I have probably seen this film more than any other single one - certainly over a dozen times over the years. Some of the Amazon customer reviewers felt the film moved too slowly, or was not stimulating enough in black and white. For such moviegoers this film is definitely not for you. However, for those who enjoy films that speak on many different levels and provoke thoughts that linger with the viewer, this is a masterpiece.
The action takes place in Europe after the crusades. A knight, Antonius Bloch, is returning to his home in Denmark. He is accompanied by his squire. Block is an idealist who joined the crusades because he wanted to do something significant in his life. However the crusades turned out to be completely disillusioning. On his journey he notes that the plague is sweeping across the land. Superstition reigns, along with a severe version of religion. His squire is not as bothered by what he has seen, having been much more cynical all along. Still, the squire has a strong sense of justice that is demonstrated when he saves a girl from an attack.
Along the way a number of people join with the knight for protection. These include a troupe of actors, a blacksmith and his faithless wife, and the woman the squire rescued. Death is lurking, and confronts the knight, informing him that his time has expired. The knight protests that he cannot die before having accomplished something significant. Death says, "They all say that," but the knight insists, and successfully challenges Death to a chess match. This gives the knight additional time to make his life worthwhile.
The knight has tried to accomplish the BIG act based on a profound sense of life and of God.
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118 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a Kind Masterpiece July 24, 2003
Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest films ever made, which may scare away some viewers. The film is also a meditation on death and religion, which may also make some people hesitant to watch it. I know I avoided it for some time, but the film is really pretty enjoyable. If you consider yourself to be a true film buff, you really have to see this movie.
Max von Sydow, in the role that made him famous, stars as a disillusioned knight returning from the crusades in the 14th century. He is travelling with his squire, and they meet a number of people along the way, including an acting troop and a blacksmith and his wife. One of these visitors is Death, and the Knight tries to bargain for his life. Death accepts the knight's offer of a game of chess. As long as the game continues, the knight can live.
The movie is laden with symbolism, often of a religious nature, and filmed in stark black and white. Although the movie is serious and cerebral in tone, there is also a surprising element of humor and lightness. If you approach this film with an open mind, you will probably end up enjoying it, although it isn't for all audiences. Highly recommended for discerning film fans.
EXTRAS: The DVD includes such extras as the original trailer and a written narrative of Bergman's career. The best feature is the audiotrack recorded by film historian, Peter Cowie. He walks the viewer through the film, pointing out relevant symbolism as well as Bergman's directorial touches. Fascinating!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by guy livolsi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An exquisite and classic movie
Published 5 days ago by Valentin M
4.0 out of 5 stars Contemplative Film
The Seventh Seal is about a knight that returns home from the crusades to find that there has been an outbreak of the plague. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Steve R
5.0 out of 5 stars A Perennial Favorite of Mine
My first encounter with this movie was at my local library. I was intrigued by the name Ingmar Bergman because I liked INGRID Bergman. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Cory Heym
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Robert N McWaters
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Best Bergman film ever...wish I got the Blu Ray instead of the DVD.
Published 3 months ago by Judi Van Knowe
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best films ever.
This is a must-watch film. The imagery is unforgettable, and the perfomances of Von Sydow's as Antonius Block, the jaded Knight returning from the Crusades and Gunnar Bjornstrand... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Eric R. Finkelman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film!
I had to watch this for a philosophy class. I actually really enjoyed the film, and didn't even notice that I was having to read subtitles!
Published 4 months ago by Kerri
3.0 out of 5 stars Depressing
Interesting, but depressing. Takes a dim view of humanity, and presents the only "good" man (character) as a bit of a dim-wit. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John M. Palmer Jr
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not waste your money unless you are trying to fall asleep.
Can I give half a star?? Old. Boring. Ancient. Watch the trailer first before you decide to purchase. Sorry but true.
Published 4 months ago by Popcorn101
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Topic From this Discussion
I'm getting this for "Bergman Island"
Criterion is releasing Bergman Island on its own. Amazon has it for $14.99.
May 20, 2009 by Richard |  See all 2 posts
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