The sight of Death playing chess with a weary knight on a deserted beach is one of the most indelible images to emerge from the world cinema in the 1950s, and this scene from Ingmar Bergman's Det Sjunde Inseglet (aka The Seventh Seal) is still the moment most closely associated with the great Swedish filmmaker. The fact that Death was a walking, talking character in the film also cemented Bergman's reputation as cinema's leading Gloomy Gus, but seen five decades after its initial release, The Seventh Seal reveals a tremendous compassion and flashes of humor as it contemplates the eternal balance between belief and doubt. The Seventh Seal is the sort of classic more often talked about that actually seen these days, but the Criterion Collection are doing their best to change that with new and definitive DVD release. The Seventh Seal has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the striking range of grey tones in Gunnar Fischer's cinematography is preserved with remarkable accuracy; this is one of Bergman's most visually beautiful works, and it has never looked better in a home video release than it does here. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and the fidelity is superb, making this movie almost as impressive to hear as to see. The dialogue is presented in the original Swedish as well as in an alternate dubbed English soundtrack; optional English subtitles are also on board. A full compliment of relevant bonus materials have been included, among them a commentary track by film scholar Peter Cowie and an illustrated postscript on the film and its impact; an introduction featuring Ingmar Bergman that was created for a Swedish television broadcast of the film in 2003; a tribute to Bergman from noted fan Woody Allen that was produced for Turner Classic Movies in 1989 and an audio recording of an interview with leading man and frequent Bergman collaborator Max von Sydow. A second disc includes Marie Nyrerod's acclaimed documentary Bergman Island, which features extensive interviews with the filmmaker as he discusses his life and work, as well as Bergman 101, an essay by Peter Cowie on the essentials of the great director's work illustrated with still and clips from his films. (Bergman's Island has also been released as a stand-alone disc by Criterion.) And the accompanying booklet features an appreciation of The Seventh Seal by Gary Giddins as well as some superb photos from the picture. Short of the Blu-Ray edition of The Seventh Seal released simultaneously by Criterion, there is no better way to see this film in your home theater, and the quality and care that's gone into this release is to be commended by anyone who loves classic cinema.
Introduction by Ingmar Bergman, Recorded in 2003
Audio Commentary by Bergman expert Peter Cowie, with a New Afterword
Archival Audio Interview with Max von Sydow
A 1989 Tribute to Bergman by Filmmaker Woody Allen
Optional English-Dubbed soundtrack
Max von SydowThe Knight, Antonius Block
Åke FridellBlacksmith Plog
Inga LandgreBlock's Wife
Maud HanssonThe Witch, Tyan
Gunnel LindblomThe Girl
Anders EkThe Monk
Gunnar OlssonChurch Painter
Erik StrandmarkJonas Skat
Benkt-Ake BenktssonThe landlord
Tor BorongFarmer at inn
Gudrun BrostWoman at inn
Ulf JohanssonKnight leader
Lars LindYoung Monk
Erik NordgrenComposer (Music Score)
P.A. LundgrenProduction Designer
P.A. LundgrenSet Designer
Evald AnderssonSpecial Effects
Period Film,Psychological Drama
The Seventh Seal
Year of Release
Criterion Collection, DVD
Black & White
The Seventh Seal [Criterion Collection] [DVD] 
Ingmar Bergman's classic is still one of the pillars of 1950s cinema and one of the darkest movies you will ever see. Antonius Block (played by Max von Sydow) returns to his native Sweden during the Plague to realize that he is about to die when Death visits him. Antonius invites Death to a chess game hoping to outwit him. A commentary on religion and morality, it is one of the darkest movies I've seen, and lovers will also enjoy The Virgin Spring, another of Bergman's classics.
The 2nd disc is loaded with extras, including the excellent documentary, Bergman's Island.
This Classic film, which looks a little bit too good in its restored condition (too light), is one film I never quite got. I understand what Bergman was trying to get at, I just don't think he did it in a fashion that makes it the extraordinary piece it is often hyped up to be. Nice bonus material, but not worth $30.
This review is from The Seventh Seal [Criterion Collection] [DVD]