The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957) aka Det sjunde inseglet
A knight returned from the Crusades plays chess with Death.
Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Nils Poppe, Bengt Ekerot, Bibi Andersson, Inga Gill, Maud Hansson, Inga Landgré, Gunnel Lindblom, Bertil Anderberg, Anders Ek, Ake Fridell, Gunnar Olsson, Erik Strandmark
This has always been at the top of my top ten. There had to be one Bergman film. The first one I saw was The Virgin Spring (Ingmar Bergman, 1960), simply because it was released when I was 17, and I would have seen it when I first started going to film festivals (the one in Perth,* in my case). That could easily be in my top ten, but then the whole ten could be directed by Bergman, so I chose the one that I think is the most universal.
The Seventh Seal has: flagellants; a witch burnt at the stake; a knight returned from the Crusades who plays chess and has a jocular squire; a lusty blacksmith; the Black Plague; an actor and juggler who can make a ball be still in midair and has second sight and visions of the Virgin Mary; and ... Death — what's to not like?
I think I've only seen this twice, and yet think I can remember everything in it. It's simply the best film I've ever seen. (In my opinion.)
* [Irrelevance: It annoys me that I should specify 'Perth Western Australia' for my international readership (lol) because there's not only the original one in Scotland, but another one in Ontario; and I can't use WA as the abbreviation because that's also an abbreviation for the State of Washington in youknowwhere (why didn't they choose a different second letter - or choose a different name, as they also have Washington DC?!) Let's rename this place Walyalup.]
Garry Gillard | New: 25 March, 2017 | Now: 25 March, 2017