despite the crust of popular references and memetics swirling around this film, it still remains a powerful statement on man's (the only animal with a concept of his/her eventual fate) relationship with death...not Bergmans greatest pic (for that see Persona, Wild Strawberries, or Cries and Whispers, to name but three in a masterfully prolific career)...but as good a place to start as any....
10/10. Imagine a more solemn version of Chaucer. Bergman crafts numerous incredible images throughout the film (the danse macabre, the image of all the characters turning at once to spy Death are a couple of favorites), but perhaps Bergman's biggest achievement is anchoring this fantasy adventure in an all-too-real fear of death and doubt in a higher power.
A Swedish masterpiece filled with classic moments. The chess game between Death and Max von Sydow. The discussions about faith, darkness, light, love and cruelty. The dark humor. The unforgettable ending. The actors. The great dark cinematography. Isn't anything bad here I think. A true classic and the best film to get introduced into the mind of Ingmar Bergman.
Stands up very well indeed - very watchable. Indeed, some time I will re-watch. Obviously 5* if you include its importance to film history, but 4* for me without that context. Some little flaws of film-making detract - some dodgy acting, the perennial problem of musical instrument playing, some crowd scenes. Gunnar Björnstrand as the sancho panza character Jöns was fabulous.
A Bergman in uberexistential mode delivers one of the most iconic sequences in cinema, a knight playing a game of chess with Death. Bergman considers the ultimate questions, searches for the meaning of life with death at the heels and proposes an eternal battle between Good and Evil however our deepest gratitude to him will always be for this epic and astonishing brief visual and poetic achievement.
The Seventh Seal is not just a film. It transcends drama and narrative. Its a personal voyage through the depths of nothingness; meaning. It questions god, death, the absence of the self in a time where the black plague swept the world to its very core bringing emptiness to the humanity. (rest in the comments).