12 Actors Who Have Played The Devil in Movies

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Almost any actor will tell you that it’s a lot more fun playing a bad guy than a good a guy, so it follows that many actors must relish playing the baddest guy of all, the Devil.  Whether you want to call him (or in some instances, her) Lucifer, Satan, or simply the Devil, the demonic antagosnist has been portrayed by many different actors in many different ways, ranging from terrifying to humorous.  No two movie Devils are the same, thanks to various actors bringing out and emphasizing certain devilish characteristics.  After the jump, take a look at 12 actors who have played the Devil in movies:

Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled

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I love Bedazzled.  Make all the Brendan Fraser jokes you want, but I don’t see how any heterosexual male can’t enjoy a movie that is essentially an excuse to parade Liz Hurley around in slutty outfits for an hour and a half.  With apologies to Peter Cook, who played the Devil in the 1967 version of this movie, Hurley is easily my favorite Devil.  I haven’t felt this way about a Brit since Kelly LeBrock circa 1985.

Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate

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John Milton (Milton?  Gee, how clever.) can seduce a mother and daughter into a threesome and is suave enough to receive fellatio under the table in a public setting, but what he’s best at is, by far, screaming at the top of his lungs during a climactic monologue.

Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick

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Very few play crazy better than Nicholson (see, for example, The Shining and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), and his Devil (Darryl Van Horne) in The Witches of Eastwick shows a sort of restrained craziness.  Like Milton, Van Horne is a seductive womanizer.  Women always go for the bad boys.

Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky

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The Devil in Little Nicky isn’t scary, evil, or even really deceptive.  Besides, it’s really tough to dislike a guy who is shoving a pineapple up Hitler’s ass on a daily basis.

Peter Stormare in Constantine

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Stormare is a terrific character actor, so his portrayal of Lucifer is unsurprisingly creepy.  Watching Stormare on screen, you can sense something very demonic and “off” about him, which adds to the underlying evil of his character.  In classic Devil fashion, Stormare’s Devil in Constantine has been brokering deals for souls.

Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy

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Mortensen plays Lucifer in The Prophecy and is consumed by his hatred for Gabriel and the “uniqueness” of his own Hell.  Lucifer exhibits his power to corrupt, as well as his determination when he rips out Gabriel’s heart.

Victor Buono in The Evil

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Buono plays Satan in the 1978 film The Evil, which revolves around a bunch of people trying desperately to escape a house of evil.  The movie hasn’t aged well, and it’s definitely more funny than scary – and not in the Nightmare on Elm Street 4 type of way; this is certainly unintentional comedy.

Robert DeNiro in Angel Heart

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DeNiro plays Louis Cyphre – an obvious pun on the name Lucifer – in Angel Heart, and stars opposite Mickey Rourke (Harry Angel).  Cyphre hires Angel to do some investigative work, but it soon turns out that Angel is part of Cyphre’s intricate scheme to obtain a soul.  It always comes back to the soul with the Devil.  I don’t get it – what use does he have for it?

Jeff Goldblum in Mr. Frost

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BxM_NvMzfE

The Devil in Mr. Frost is quite different from other movie Devils.  He’s not seductive and confident, but rather insecure and uncertain of his place in the world.  Knowing that, it’s very fitting that he’s played by the uber-neurotic Jeff Goldblum.

Tim Curry in Legend

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I don’t know how Tim Curry didn’t topple over during the shooting of Legend, what with those enormous horns attached to his noggin.  He looks absolutely terrifying – especially if you’re a little kid – but I still say the fear his Devil (or “Darkness”) invokes is nothing compared to the fear invoked by his Dr. Frank-N-Furter.  Or Pennywise in It! *shudder*

Linda Blair in The Exorcist

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qG5V2iBvFs

Now, maybe Linda Blair didn’t techincally play the Devil and instead played a little girl possessed, but this article just wouldn’t feel complete without her.  Linda Blair helped create some of the most iconic imagery in the history of horror movies; few scenes in the genre are as memorable as the 360-degree head spin.  That scene still effs my S up.

Trey Parker in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

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Trey Parker voices Satan in the South Park movie and helps create the funniest version of the Devil I’ve ever seen.  Getting owned by a horny, abusive Saddam Hussein?  Hilarious.

  • I love Stormare’s Lucifer; the tribals, his feet soaked in tar, and his giddy, playlike behavior.

  • lou

    Darkness had the classic look.tim curry was awesome.

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  • Steve

    Stormare’s Devil is like the real thing: a southern white man. a tar heal to be exact.

  • axeman

    Don’t forget Dave Grohl in The Pick of Destiny…

    LET THE ROCK OFF BEGIN!!!

  • axeman

    Or David Warner as Evil in Time Bandits:

    “God isn’t interested in technology. He cares nothing for the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends his time, forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!
    Slugs! HE created slugs! They can’t hear. They can’t speak. They can’t operate machinery. Are we not in the hands of a lunatic?”

  • Kevin J.

    Seriously, no Dave Grohl from Tenacious D’s “The pick of destiny”? Seriously???

  • Xin

    Stormare all the way, definitely my favorite.

  • Michael

    Brendan FRASER, not Frasier.

  • Madison

    @Michael

    Noted, and fixed. Thanks.

  • Tim Beeflips

    The most accurate Satan, IMHO, is the lawyer from Jesus of Montreal, the one who tried to tell him that he could be rich, if only he had the right agent. Truly satanic.

  • What about Gabriel Byrne in End of Days.

  • Rob

    Where is Dave Grohl from Tenacious D and the pick of destiny?

  • MaC

    Satan was in end of days? I thought he just produced it…

    seriously though, Pacino, hands down.

  • Great list!
    A few more

    Gary Oldman in ‘Beat The Devil’
    also
    Gabriel Byrne played the Devil opposite Arnie in ‘End Of Days’

    Also Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers is preparing to play lucifer in the 2010 movie ‘Mary mother of God’

  • Ghost Dog

    First of all Steve your a fuckin rascist bitch im am sick of people like you. Second there was Gabriel Byrne in “End of Days”, Gary Oldman in “Beat the Devil” and Rosalinda Celentano in “Passion of the Christ”

  • Michael

    I think Kevin Spacey as Keyser Söze (aka the Devil) in The Usual Suspects is worth mentioning.

  • Madison

    @ Michael

    Eh, maybe. Great role in a great movie, but that’s really a metaphorical devil, right?

  • Bel

    The whole mother-daughter seduction thing was in End of Days and by Gabriel Byrne rather than by Al Pacino during Devils’ Advocate i’m pretty sure.

    Love the list otherwise though!!

  • Madison

    @Bel

    I think you’re right, actually. Whoops. Thanks for the correction.

  • Sorian

    ummm yea…Danny Elfman as Satan in the Forbidden Zone.
    yes…that Danny Elfman…FZ was his first movie music project… before Oingo Boingo as you remember it and…before his first movie score with PeeWee’s Big Adventure. In FZ he reworks “Minnie the Moocher” as ” Squeezit the Moocher” while backed by the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.( Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo was a street/theater group before they cut it down to form rock band Oingo Boingo.)

    If you like bizarre cult films like Rocky Horror… give this a try…it makes Rocky horror look like it made by Disney. XD

    Danny Elfman as Satan

    http://www.forbiddenzonethemovie.com/images/fant_02.jpg

  • Kathryn

    Ok, there is just one HUGE gaping hole in this list (good list though 🙂

    you completely forgot Emmanuelle Seigner in her nicely subtle “devil” role in the movie The Ninth Gate, starring opposite Johny Depp. That was a very nice devil character, one of my favorites. Also, interestingly, one of the only movies I can think of where the devil is portrayed as a ‘good guy’ errr girl, who helps the agnostic Depp overcome her own psychotic admirers.

    As other’s have mentioned, there was also the Devil in End of Days (I can never resist the temptation when watching that movie to quote Predator at a key point in the movie where Arnold has just apparently ‘hurt’ the devil and appears about to say something, it’s fun to blurt out “if it bleeds, we can kill it!” …but i digress)

    Also as someone else mentioned there was a ‘satan-character’ in The Passion of the Christ (which is arguably more of a religious movie than a purely entertainment focused one).

  • How about Tom Waits as Mr. Nick in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus?

  • David

    Actually it’s Pazuzu (a demon) that possesses Regan.

  • Snizz

    You forgot about Jenny O’hara in the movie Devil

  • Wombat

    What about Same Neil in The Omen….?

  • marc

    you forgot probably the creepiest Satan of them all… Rosalinda Celentano in Passion of the Christ. nothing was better than her with that evil man-baby.

  • BrokeDog

    First – Byrne “peeing” gasoline was brilliant! And in the restaurant with the wife … he IS Satan!
    Second – I’ve never considered Pacino’s “devil” very seriously because, it was not a stretch for him! Al Pacino IS the Devil!
    Third – Viggo was excellent, also!
    Fourth – Curry’s “devil” was EXACTLY as I have pictured the devil, ever since I was a child! I would NEVER want to run into him … anywhere!

  • Dan

    I remember a movie “Tales from the hood” Clarence Williams III played a decent devil…”welcome to hell motherfu**ersss”

  • jmgldsmth

    Where’s John Glover in “Brimstone” ???