The Seventh Seal (1957) Script


"And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal...

"there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

"And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets...

"prepared themselves to sound."

Who are you?

I am Death.

You have come for me?

I have been at your side for a long time.

I know.

Are you prepared?

My flesh is afraid, but I am not.

Wait a moment.

You all say that. But I give no respite.

You play chess, do you not?

How do you know that?

I have seen it in paintings.

Yes, I am quite a skillful player.

But no more so than I.

Why do you wish to play chess with me?

That's my concern. You're quite right.

As long as I resist you, I live.

If I win, you set me free.

Black for you!

It becomes me well.

Between a strumpet's legs I lie

That's the place for such as I

The Lord is up aloft, you know But Satan finds us here below

There's talk of omens and other horrors.

Two horses had devoured each other... graves gaped wide and bones lay about.

Four suns were in the sky.

Where is the inn?

Did he show you the way?

Not exactly.

What did he say? Nothing.

Was he mute? No, milord.

He was most eloquent.


But very gloomy.

Have you had breakfast?

Pity I can't eat grass.

You must teach me.

We're feeling the pinch.

People here are not interested in art.

Mary! I have seen something!

What has happened?

A vision. It was quite real.

You and your visions!

I saw her anyway.


The Virgin Mary.

Did you really see her?

I could have touched her.

With her crown of gold and her blue robe.

She was holding the Child and teaching Him to walk.

When she saw me, she smiled.

I had tears in my eyes.

And when I wiped them away, she was gone.

And there was a great silence... in heaven and on earth.

The things you make up!

You don't believe me, but it was true.

It's not the reality you see, but another kind.

Like the Devil painting the wheels red... and using his tail as a brush.

Why did you remind me?

And you had red paint under your nails.

Well, I did make that up... so that you would believe my other visions.

Mind you're not taken for a fool.

Because you're not. At least not yet.

It's not my fault if I hear voices... and see the Virgin, and if angels and devils like my company.

I have told you once and for all...

I must have sleep in the mornings!

I have asked you, but nothing helps. Now will you shut up!

I want a better life for Michael.

He is going to be a great acrobat.

Or a juggler who does the one impossible trick.

What trick is that?

Make a ball stand still in the air.

But that's impossible. Yes, for us, but not for him.

Always daydreaming!

I've written a song.

Do you want to hear it?

Yes. I'm very curious.

A dove on a branch At Midsummer time She sang so sweetly of Jesus Christ In heaven is great rejoicing

Are you asleep?

It was a lovely song. It's not finished.

I heard, but I'll sleep a bit more. Sing me the rest later.

You just sleep and sleep.

Is this a mask for an actor?

The priests pay well, so I play.

Going to play Death?

Scaring decent folk out of their wits.

When are we to perform?

At the Saints' Festival in Elsinore.

We will perform on the church steps.

Why not something bawdy? People like it better.

They say the plague stalks the land.

The priests speculate in sudden death and moral bellyache.

What parts are we playing?

A fool like you can play the Human Soul.

Not a good part.

Who decides? I'm the director of the troupe.

"Your life, O fool...

"hangs by a thread.

"Short is your day."

Will the women love me in this get-up?

Well, what is it?

Don't move. Don't speak.

I'm as silent as the grave.

I love you.

What is this supposed to be?

The Dance of Death.

And this is Death. Yes, he dances with them.

Why all this daubing?

To remind people of death.

That won't make them any happier.

Why make them happy? Why not scare them?

Then they won't look at your picture.

Yes, they will.

A skull is more interesting than a naked woman.

If you scare them--

They'll think-- Then they think.

And are still more scared. And fall into the arms of the priests.

That's not my business. You're only painting your picture.

I paint life as it is. Then folk can do as they like.

That makes people angry.

Then I paint something funny.

A man must live.

At least till the plague takes him.

The plague. Ugh!

You should see the abscess... the limbs knotted in frenzy.


They try to tear out the boils... they bite their hands... scratch open their veins... scream in agony.

Did I scare you?

Scared? You don't know me.

What's that rubbish there?

People think the plague... is a punishment from God.

Crowds wander the land lashing each other... to please the Lord.

Lashing each other?

Yes, it's a horrible sight.

You feel like hiding when they pass.

Give me a gin. I've had nothing but water.

I feel as thirsty as a desert camel.

Scared after all?

I want to confess as best I can... but my heart is void.

The void is a mirror.

I see my face... and feel loathing and horror.

My indifference to men has shut me out.

I live now in a world of ghosts... a prisoner in my dreams.

Yet you do not want to die. Yes, I do.

What are you waiting for?


You want an guarantee.

Call it what you will.

Is it so hard to conceive God with one's senses?

Why must He hide in a midst of vague promises... and invisible miracles?

How are we to believe the believers when we don't believe ourselves?

What will become of us who want to believe, but cannot?

And what of those who neither will nor can believe?

Why can I not kill God within me?

Why does He go on living in a painful, humiliating way?

I want to tear Him out of my heart... but He remains a mocking reality... which I cannot get rid of.

Do you hear me? I hear you.

I want knowledge. Not belief. Not surmise. But knowledge.

I want God to put out His hand... show His face, speak to me.

But He is silent.

I cry to Him in the dark, but there seems to be no one there.

Perhaps there is no one there.

Then life is a senseless terror.

No man can live with Death and know that everything is nothing.

Most people think neither of Death nor nothingness.

Until they stand on the edge of life and see the Darkness.

Ah, that day.

I see.

We must make an idol of our fear... and call it God.

You are uneasy.

Death visited me this morning.

We are playing chess.

This respite enables me to perform a vital errand.

What errand?

My whole life has been a meaningless search.

I say it without bitterness or self-reproach.

I know it is the same for all.

But I want to use my respite for one significant action.

So you play chess with Death?

He is a skillful tactician... but I have not yet lost one piece.

How can you outwit Death?

By a combination of bishop and knight...

I will break his flank.

I shall remember that.

Traitor! You have tricked me!

But I'll find a way out.

We will resume our game at the inn.

This is my hand. I can move it.

The blood is pulsing in my veins.

The sun is still at the zenith...

and I, Antonius Block...

am playing chess with Death!

My master and I have been abroad.

The Crusades?

Ten years in the Holy Land... bitten by snakes and flies... slaughtered by savages, poisoned by bad wine... made lousy by women, rotting with fever... all for the glory of God.

The glory of God.

Our crusade was so stupid... that only an idealist could have thought it out.

That was horrid about the plague.

It's worse than that.

Whichever way we turn, our backside's behind us.

Backside behind, how true, how true.

Here's squire Jöns. He grins at Death... chuckles at the Lord, laughs at himself... and smiles at the girls.

His world exists only for himself.

Absurd to all, even to himself.

Meaningless in heaven, indifferent in hell.

What's that stinking soup good for?

She has had carnal knowledge of the Evil One.

And now she's in the stocks.

She's to be burnt tomorrow. But we must keep the Devil away.

With the aid of that stinking muck?

Blood and gall of a black dog.

The Evil One can't stand the smell.

Nor can I.

Have you seen the Devil?

You must not talk to her. Is that so dangerous?

She is thought to be the cause of the plague.

Fate is a villain And you're a poor wretch Now bounding with glee Now crawling with worms Must you sing?


Surprised that I steal from the dead?

A profitable trade nowadays.

It's no use telling tales.

It's everyone for himself.

Don't scream. No one will hear you.

Isn't that surprising?

I know you. You're Raval, the seminarist.

You're Doctor Mirabilis, Coelestis et Diabilis.

Aren't I right?

Ten years ago you persuaded my master... to set off for the Holy Land.

Did I scare you? Have you a pain in your belly?

Now I understand these ten wasted years.

We were too well-off, too satisfied.

The Lord wanted to chasten our pride.

So He sent you to poison my master's mind.

I was in good faith.

Now you know better. You've become a thief.

A more suitable occupation for knaves.

Oh, I am not bloodthirsty.

But next time we meet, I will brand your face as you deserve.

I came to get my water bottle filled.

Jöns is the name.

An amiable young man... full of noble thoughts and deeds.

Farewell, my sweet. I could have raped you... but I don't believe in that kind of love.

It's a little dull in the end.

Come to think of it, I need a housekeeper.

Can you cook?

I hope my wife is dead by now.

So I need a housekeeper.

Well, don't stand there gaping! I've saved your life, you know!

Damn actors.

They're making fools of themselves.

I'm not in the first part so I'll go behind the curtain.

Don't stand there gaping, ugly!

The horse is up the tree, crowing

The road is wide but the gate narrow The Black One dances on the shore

The hen mews in a lake so dark

The day is red but the fish is dead The Black One squats on the shore

The snake flaps high in the sky

The Virgin is pale but the mouse's content The Black One runs on the shore

The goat hisses With his two teeth

The blast is heavy The waves break The Black One makes dung on the shore

The sow lays eggs and the cat grunts

The night is soot and the dark remains The Black One stays, stays on the shore

God is punishing us.

We shall all perish by the Black Death.

You there, gaping like cattle... and you, bloated with complacency... this might be your last hour.

Death is behind your back.

His scythe flashes above your heads.

Which of you will he strike first?

You there, with the stare of a goat... will tonight see your last twisted smile?

You, woman, full of the lust of life...

will you wither before the dawn?

You, with the swollen nose... will you pollute the earth for another year?

Do you know, idiots, that you are to die?

You are all doomed, do you hear?

Doomed! Doomed! Doomed!

Lord, have mercy on us sinners.

Turn not away Thy face.

For the sake of Thy son, Jesus Christ!

Do they really expect modern people... to take that drivel seriously?

You laugh at me, milord.

I've read and heard all the fairy tales.

Even the ghost stories about God the Father...

Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

Why are you shouting?

I'm Plog, the smith, and you're Jöns, the squire.

That's possible. Have you seen my wife?

No. But if I had seen her and she was like you...

I would hasten to forget her.

So you haven't seen her?

Maybe she's run off. Do you know something?

Quite a lot. But nothing about your wife.

Go inside, they'll tell you.

The plague is raging everywhere. People are dying like flies.

I can't sell anything.

It's Judgment Day. And the awful omens--

A woman has given birth to a calf's head.

People are mad. They flee and take the plague with them.

Eat, drink and be merry!

Many have purged themselves with fire and died.

But better that than hell, the priests say.

No one dares say it aloud, but this is the End.

People are crazy with fear.

You're scared yourself!

I'll warrant I am.

Judgment Day.

The angels descend and the graves will open.

It will be horrible.

Want this? You can have it cheap.

It's real silver.

Too dear for me.

Excuse me, have you seen my wife?

Is she missing? They say she's run off.

Run away? With an actor.

If she has such bad taste, let her go.

You are right.

I thought of killing her.

Oh. Murder? That's different!

And the actor with her.

The actor?

The one she has run off with.

Dense, aren't you?

Oh, the actor!

Yes, there are far too many of them... so you might as well kill him.

You're lying to the smith.

Me! Lying?

You're an actor too, and it's your friend who has taken his wife.

Are you an actor too?


It's logical to kill you, too.

Funny, aren't you?

Pale, aren't you? Got a bad conscience?

You are funny.

Don't you think he's funny? Oh, you don't?

Suppose we brand you.

What have you done with my wife?

You're not going to hurt me?

If I've offended anyone, I'll go away.

Stand up and speak louder.

Stand on your head, actor!

What have you done with my wife?

Get up and dance!

I won't. I can't.

Imitate a bear. I can't imitate a bear.

We shall see if you can.

Up again. Good bear.

I can't go on.

You remember what I said?

I always keep my word.

What's his name?


How old is he?

Over a year.

Big for his age. Do you think so?

I saw your performance today. Was it bad?

You're prettier without make-up... and that dress suits you better.

Skat has left us in the lurch.

Your husband?

No. Joseph is my husband.

So now there's only the two of us... and we'll have to do tricks again.

You do tricks, too?

You bet. Joseph is a skillful juggler.

Is Michael going to be an acrobat?

Joseph wants him to be.

But not you?

Perhaps he will be a knight!

That's not such fun either.

No, you don't look happy. No.

Are you tired?

Why? I'm in boring company.

You mean your squire? No, not him.

Who then? Myself.

Oh, I see.

Do you really?

Yes, I do quite well.

Why do people always torment themselves?

Joseph! What is it? Where have you been?

Come sit here. Where have you been?

Let me look at you.

You've been drinking at the tavern.

Not a drop!

You sat boasting of your angels.

I never said a word about angels.

Then you were playing the fool again.

It makes people angry.

Look what I've brought you.

Oh, but you shouldn't!

I did, anyway.

Oh, how they hit me.

Why didn't you hit back?

I got angry... but I never got to that.

I was so angry, I roared like a lion.

Were they frightened?

No, they only laughed.

Doesn't he smell nice?

And he's so big. Aren't you?

He's got a real acrobat's body.

This is my husband, Joseph.

Good evening.

I was just saying what a fine son you have.

Yes, he's fine.

Have we nothing to offer our guest? Thank you, nothing for me.

Wild strawberries and fresh milk.

We shall be honored if you will share our humble meal.

Sit down and I'll get it.

Here you are.

Where are you making for now? To Elsinore.

I advise you not to go that way. Why?

The plague is worse in the south.

Thousands are dying.

It never rains but it pours.

Come with me through the forest.

You'll be safer at my castle.

The strawberries are from the hillside.

I've never seen ones so big. Smell them.

I wish you appetite, sir.

My humble thanks.

I must think over your proposal.

It would be nice to have company.

The forest is full of evil spirits and robbers.

Yes, but I must think it over.

I'm responsible for the troupe now.

After all, I am the director.

"After all, I am the director."

Would you like some strawberries? That man has saved my life.

Sit down.

The knight's squire is honored.

Oh, how lovely.

For a little while.

No, always. One day is like another.

That's not strange, is it?

Summer is better than winter because you aren't cold.

But spring is best of all.

I've written a song about the spring.

Would you like to hear it?

Our guest may not care for your songs.

Oh, yes. I write songs myself. You see!

There's one about an enormous fish which you haven't heard.

And you're not going to hear it either.

Some people don't appreciate art, so I won't bore you. I'm sensitive.

We worry about so much.

It's better to be two. Have you no one?

I had once. And now?

I don't know.

So solemn! Was she your beloved?

We were newly-married. We played and laughed.

I wrote songs to her eyes.

We hunted, we danced, the house was full of life.

Will you have some strawberries?

To believe is to suffer.

It is like loving someone in the dark... who never answers.

How unreal that is in your company.

It means nothing to me now.

You're not so solemn now.

I shall remember this hour of peace...

the strawberries, the bowl of milk...

your faces in the dusk.

Michael asleep, Joseph with his lute.

I shall remember our words... and shall bear this memory between my hands... as carefully as a bowl of fresh milk.

And this will be a sign... and a great content.

I have been waiting.

Forgive me. I was delayed.

As I have given away my strategy, I beat a retreat.

Here, it is your turn.

Why so pleased?

That is my secret.

Of course.

I take your knight.

As you were meant to.

Have you tricked me?

You fell into the trap. Check!

Why do you laugh?

Never mind. Save your king.

You are sure of yourself.

Our game amuses me.

Your move. I am in a hurry.

I know you have much to do... but our game must go on.

You are escorting Joseph and his family tonight?

Why do you ask?

No reason.

Have you seen Jöns? We must go.

I think he's inside.

Well, if it isn't the smith!

Sitting alone and crying?

Yowling like a drowning cat.

Is it still your wife? Yes, I haven't found her.

It's hell with women and hell without.

Best to kill them while the fun lasts.

Nagging and pig's swill.

Babies wetting themselves.

Scratches and abuse.

A witch for a mother-in-law.

And when you get into bed--

A new song.

Tears and whining.

"Why don't you kiss me?" "Why don't you sing?"

"You don't love me any longer!"

"You haven't seen my new dress!"

"All you do is snore!" Oh, hell.

Oh, hell. And now she's gone. Good riddance!

I'll twist their noses with tongs.

I'll crack their skulls on the anvil.

He's blubbing again.

Perhaps I love her.

Perhaps! Listen, you greasy cuckold.

Love is nothing but lust and cheating and lies.

It hurts all the same.

Love is the blackest of all plagues.

But you don't even die of it, and usually it passes.

No, mine isn't passing.

Of course it will.

Only fools die of love.

If everything is imperfect in this world... love is perfect in its imperfection.

You're lucky.

You believe in your own twaddle.

Who says I believe it?

But I like giving advice.

I'm a man of learning.

Can I come with you?

They only laugh at me at home.

As long as you don't blubber. If you do, we'll run away.

Little brother!

Look out, Jöns! He wants to fight.

Well, now he's crying. I'm sorry if I hurt you.

I've got such a confounded temper.

Come to my arms!

Later perhaps. We're in a hurry.

Who is that over there if not my lady... complete with actor!

Look out now!

It is the filthy smith, who has insulted... the fair Kunigunda.

What did you call her?

Kunigunda! Are you deaf?

Her name is Lisa. Strumpet-Lisa. Rump-Lisa.

How coarse he is.

Or find something better, you gilded pimp!

What a brute!

You scabby bastard, if I were in your lousy rags...

I would be so ashamed... that I would creep into a hole and die.

Watch out, you--

Dung heap.

Dung heap, or I'll... blow you down to hell, and you can--


Juggle with Old Nick's guts.

Bravo, Plog!

Watch out that I don't rip open your belly.

Watch out that I don't punch you in the face... so you can't perform for Turks and cannibals!

Why do you laugh? It's serious.

In southern lands there are things called apes.

What about it? Nothing.

Plog, my dear little Plog.

Darling Plog, forgive me.

She'll cry in a minute.

It's all so dreadful.

He has cheated me.

Look here, Kunigunda.

It will be his favorite food next!

When we get home, I'll make you pork dumplings.

I must kill him first.

Yes, kill him properly. I don't like him anymore.

Lord, why did you create woman?

He's nothing but false beard, false teeth... false all over.

Kill him.

If you thought I would defend myself you were wrong.

Kill me. I'll thank you afterwards!

What did you say?

The actor plays on the emotions. That's half the battle.

Don't stand there gaping!

He must fight me, or I can't kill him.

He must at least annoy me.

I shall plunge this dagger in my heart... and my reality will become that of a corpse.

Wait! I didn't mean any harm.

I forgive you, Kunigunda.

Farewell, my friend.

Pray for me.

Oh dear, I didn't mean it like that.

Oh dear, I was beginning to like him.

He's dead. The deadest actor I've ever seen.

Oh well, he wanted to die.

And that's what I'm married to!

Now you've got your little Lisa back.

Aren't you happy?

Jöns, between you and me, isn't life--

Yes. But don't think of that now.

It's a dirty mess.

I played that scene well.

Now to find a tree where I'll be safe... from bears, wolves and ghosts.

Tomorrow I'll find Joseph and Mary... and off we go to the Saints' Festival.

I'll warble like a little bird.

Workmen in the forest!

It's my tree!

Hey, you scurvy knave, what are you up to?

You might at least answer. Who are you?

I'm felling your tree. Your time is up.

You can't. I haven't time.

You haven't time?

No, I have my performance.

Cancelled, owing to death.

My contract? Annulled.

My family--

For shame, Skat.

Yes, I'm ashamed.

Is there no exemption for actors?

Not in your case.

No loopholes?

There's the moon.

Now we can see our way.

I don't like the moon tonight.

The trees are so still.

That's because there is no wind.

He means they're unusually still.

There's not a sound.

If only we could hear a fox. Or an owl.

Or a human voice... besides our own.

Where are you going?

To the stake. Ah, yes, the witch.

Why burn her at night when people need diversion?

Shut up, for God's sake.

The Devil is with her.

Then you are eight brave men.

We've been paid. This is a volunteer job.

Do you hear me?

They say you've had commerce with the Devil.

Why do you ask?

For very personal reasons.

I, too, want to meet him.


I must ask him about God.

Surely he knows.

You can see him any time.


If you do as I say.

Look into my eyes.

Well, do you see him?

I see terror.

Nothing else.

Nothing? No one?


Is he not behind you?

There is no one.

He is with me everywhere.

If I stretch out my hand, I feel him.

Even now.

The fire won't hurt me.

Has he said so? I know.

Has he said so? I know. I know.

You must see him, too.

The priests could see him, and the soldiers.

They dare not touch me.

Why have you broken her hands?

It is not us. Who?

Ask the monk there.

What have you done to the child?

Will you never stop asking questions?

No. Never.

But you get no answer.

I did think of killing the soldiers... but she's nearly dead already.

I told you to be careful. Don't go near her.

This will still the pain.

What does she see?

She has no pain now. You don't answer.

Who will look after that child?

The angels? God? Satan? Emptiness?

No, emptiness, milord! It cannot be.

Look at her eyes.

Her poor mind is making a discovery.



We are helpless.

We see what she sees and her terror is ours.

Poor child!

I can't stand it!

He sings so sweetly of Jesus Christ In heaven there is great joy

It will soon be dawn... but the heat is stifling.

I'm so afraid.

We feel something will happen to us... but we don't know what.

Doomsday perhaps.


Give me water!

I have the plague.

Keep on the other side of the tree.

I am afraid to die.

I don't want to die!

Take pity on me.

Speak to me!

It is useless.

I know it is!

I am dying.

What will happen to me?

Take pity on me.

Is there no help?

It is useless.

Utterly useless!

Help me!

Do you hear? I'm consoling you.

Shall we finish our game?

Your move!

I take your queen.

I didn't see that.

I see something dreadful.

Something I can hardly tell you. What do you see?

The knight is playing chess over there.

So I see. What of it?

Don't you see who the other is?

He's alone. You mustn't scare me like that.

No, he's not alone. Who is it then?

He's playing chess with Death.

You mustn't say that.

We must flee. Not without him.

They are so deep in their game that they won't notice.

Your move, Antonius Block.

Have you lost interest?

On the contrary!

You look worried.

Are you hiding something?

Nothing escapes you.

Nothing escapes me.

No one escapes me.

I am worried, it is true.

You are afraid.

I've forgotten how the pieces were.

But I have not.

You can't get off so easily!

Ah, how interesting. What do you see?

You are mate at the next move.


Did you gain by the delay?


I am glad.

When next we meet... the hour will strike for you and your friends.

And you will reveal your secrets.

I have no secrets.

So you know nothing?

I am unknowing.

What a queer light!

It's the thunderstorm.

No. It's something terrible.

Do you hear the roar?

It's only the rain.

No. He has seen us.

He's chasing us.

Inside, Mary! Quick!

The Angel of Doom is rushing past... and he is very big.

How cold it is!

I heard you were coming home... so I waited for you.

The others have fled from the plague.

Don't you know me anymore?

You too have changed.

Now I can see it is you.

Hidden deep in your eyes...

is the boy who went away so long ago.

It is over now and I am tired.

Are you sorry you went?

No. But I am tired.

I can see that.

Over there are my friends.

Ask them in. I shall prepare a meal.

"And when the Lamb had opened the seventh seal...

"there was silence in heaven...

"about the space of half an hour.

"And the seven angels...

"which had the seven trumpets...

"prepared themselves to sound.

"The first angel sounded, and there followed...

"hail and fire mingled with blood...

"and they were cast upon the earth.

"And the third part of the trees was burnt up...

"and all the green grass was burnt up.

"And the second angel sounded...

"and as it were a great mountain burning with fire...

"was cast into the sea.

"And the third part of the sea became blood."

Was anyone there?

No, milord. I saw no one.

"And the third angel sounded...

"and there fell a great star from heaven...

"burning as if it were a lamp.

"And the name of the star is called Wormwood."

Good morning, noble lord.

I am Karin, the knight's wife... and I bid you welcome in my house.

I'm a smith by trade... and not a bad one.

My wife Lisa.

Curtsy to the noble lord, Lisa.

Takes a bit of handling... but we quarrel no worse than others.

Out of our darkness, we call to Thee, O Lord!

Oh, God, have mercy on us!

We are small and afraid and without knowledge.

In the darkness where you say you are... there is none to listen to your lament.

You are reflected in your own indifference.

God, you who are somewhere, who must be somewhere... have mercy on us!

I could have purged your worries about eternity... but now it's too late.

But feel, to the very end, the triumph of being alive!

Quiet, quiet!

Yes, but under protest.

It is finished.

I see them, Mary!

Over there against the stormy sky.

They are all there.

The smith and Lisa, the knight...

Raval, Jöns, and Skat.

And the strict master Death bids them dance.

He wants them to hold hands... and to tread the dance in a long line.

At the head goes the strict master... with the scythe and hourglass.

But the Fool brings up the rear with his lute.

They move away from the dawn... in a solemn dance... away towards the dark lands... while the rain cleanses their cheeks... of the salt from their bitter tears.

You with your visions!