Seven (stylized as SE7EN) is a 1995 American neo-noir psychological crime thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey, and John C. McGinley. The film tells the story of David Mills (Pitt), a detective who partners with the retiring William Somerset (Freeman) to track down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as a motif in his murders.
The screenplay was influenced by the time Walker spent in New York City trying to make it as a writer. Principal photography took place in Los Angeles, with the last scene filmed near Lancaster, California. The film's budget was $33 million.
Released on September 22, 1995, by New Line Cinema, Seven was the seventh-highest-grossing film of the year, grossing over $327 million worldwide. It was well-received by critics and was nominated for Best Film Editing at the 68th Academy Awards, losing to Apollo 13.
Soon-to-retire Detective Lieutenant William Somerset is partnered with short-tempered but idealistic Detective David Mills, who has recently moved to an unnamed large city with his wife Tracy. After forming a friendship with Somerset, Tracy confides to him that she is pregnant and has yet to tell Mills, as she is unhappy with the city and feels it is no place to raise a child. Somerset sympathizes, having had a similar situation with his ex-girlfriend many years earlier, and advises her to tell Mills only if she plans to keep the child.
Somerset and Mills investigate a set of murders inspired by the seven deadly sins: a morbidly obese man forced to eat until his stomach burst, representing gluttony, and a criminal defense attorney killed after being forced to cut a pound of flesh from himself, representing greed. Clues at the murder scenes lead them to a suspect's apartment, where they find a third victim, a drug dealer and child molester, strapped to a bed, emaciated and barely alive, representing sloth. The third victim is in critical condition and unable to respond to Somerset and Mills' questioning. Daily photographs of the victim, taken over a year, show the crimes were planned far in advance.
The detectives use library records to identify a John Doe and track him to his apartment. Doe flees and Mills gives chase, during which Mills falls from a fire escape and injures his arm. Mills searches a truck before being struck in the head with a tire iron. While Mills is incapacitated, Doe walks up and holds him at gunpoint for a moment before escaping. The apartment contains hundreds of notebooks revealing Doe's psychopathy, as well as a clue to another murder. The detectives arrive too late to stop a man forced by Doe at gunpoint to kill a prostitute by raping her with a custom-made, bladed strap-on, representing lust. The following day, they attend the scene of a fifth victim, a model whose face has been mutilated by Doe; she was given the option to call for help and live disfigured or commit suicide by taking pills, and chose the latter option, representing pride.