Submitted by Steve

Essex kills Ambrosia to win the game. He demands the prize for winning, but is told by Grigor the only prize for winning Quintet is surviving the game. A disgusted Essex refuses Grigor’s request to play again and leaves the city.

In the future, another Ice Age has gripped the planet. Only a few hundred humans are alive, and most of them live in a city that is being slowly overrun by an advancing glacier. A man named Essex (Paul Newman) and his pregnant wife Vivia (Brigitte Fossey) had been surviving by hunting seals, but now that they are extinct, Essex and Vivia are forced to travel to the city and seek shelter in the apartment of Essex’s brother Francha (Thomas Hill). Francha allows Essex and Vivia to live with him and his family, but after Essex leaves to get firewood, a bomb is thrown into the apartment, killing everyone inside, including Vivia. Essex chases the bomber, named Redstone (Craig Richard Nelson), but before he can catch him, he sees Redstone killed by another man named St. Christopher (Vittorio Gassman). After St. Christopher leaves, Essex searches Redstone’s pockets, and finds a piece of paper with several names on it, including Francha’s. The other names on it are Redstone, St. Christopher, Goldstar, Deuca, and Ambrosia. Afterwards, Essex returns to Francha’s apartment, picks up Vivia’s dead body, and takes her to a nearby river. He kisses her goodbye, and places her in the river, where she floats away.

Essex discovers Redstone was a guest at the Hotel Electra, the city’s only casino. Pretending to be Redstone, Essex enters the hotel and is immediately met by Grigor (Fernando Rey), the casino’s dealer/arbiter of rules. He is led into the casino where he meets other gamblers. He quickly learns they are the other people listed on the piece of paper. They are playing a tournament version of a popular game called Quintet, which is basically a board game with dice. Quintet is a six person game, where there are five active players, and the winner faces off against the sixth man. In the game, the players “kill” their opponents with dice rolls. However, in this version of the game, the players kill each other for real, with the survivor going against the sixth man. Francha and Redstone are already dead, so only St. Christopher, Goldstar (David Langton), Deuca (Nina Van Pallandt), and Ambrosia (Bibi Andersson) remain. Since everyone knows that “Redstone” is an impostor, they ignore him and continue to go after each other. Meanwhile, Essex, not knowing truth about the tournament, thinks the piece of paper is a hitlist against the players, and he tries to warn them about the impending danger, but only Ambrosia seems to care. Soon, Essex and Ambrosia begin to develop feelings for each other, and later have sex. As for the tournament, Goldstar and Deuca are the next ones to be killed, so only St. Christopher and Ambrosia remain. However, Ambrosia, playing as the sixth man, says that the impostor is also a player since he took Redstone’s place in the game, so St. Christopher must kill him before he can face off against her. Grigor agrees, so St. Christopher begins to follow Essex.

Realizing that he is being pursued by St. Christopher, Essex leads him out of the city and onto the glacier. Essex yells to St. Christopher that he isn’t Redstone, but St. Christopher says even though he is pretending to be Redstone, his name is on the list, so you need to die so I can face the sixth man. St. Christopher then falls into a crevasse, which kills him instantly. Essex then heads back to Francha’s apartment. It’s there that he finds another copy of the list he found on Redstone, meaning that all of the players, including his brother, were trying to kill each other. Ambrosia then surprises Essex in the apartment, but he has already figured out that since she is still alive, she’s the sixth man, and she needs to kill him to win the game. She approaches Essex, but he pulls out his knife and slits her throat. Before she dies, she brandishes the knife she was carrying, meaning he was right about her. Since her death means he won the game, Essex returns to the casino, with Ambrosia’s dead body to prove he won, and demands the prize for winning. However, Grigor tells him that there is no prize for winning Quintet. Experiencing the thrill of surviving Quintet is a prize in itself. Grigor then invites Essex to stay as another Quintet tournament is about to begin. Essex, disgusted by everything that has happened since he arrived, refuses the request and leaves the city. The movie ends with Essex walking in the frozen wasteland, unsure what lies ahead of him.