The Devil - on the Screen

Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend (1985)
Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Legend (1985)

A Visual History of the Devil in Cinema.

In Christian demonology the seven princes of Hell were - Asmodeus (Lust), Beelzebub aka The Lord of the Flies (Gluttony), Belphegor (Sloth), Leviathan (Envy), Lucifer (Pride), Mammon (Greed) and Satan (Wrath).

It's surprising how many great actors have played the Devil on screen in the past 90 years, and only one has received an Oscar Nomination for playing the role..

Haxan (1922)
Haxan (1922)
Haxan (1922)
Haxan (1922)


Haxan also known as Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922) One of the earliest depictions of the devil on film. A Scandinavian documentary with dramatised sequences, banned in the USA and heavily censored in other countries, the film features nudity, sexual perversion and torture.

IMDB rating 7.7

Faust (1926)
Faust (1926)
Faust (1926) poster
Faust (1926) poster


The story of Faust (1926) a German film directed by F.W.Murnau best known for his vampire classic Nosferatu (1922). Gosta Ekman is Faust and Emil Jannings played Mephisto. A masterpiece of the supernatural, full of weird imagery and clever special effects.

IMDB rating 8.1

Fantasia (1940)
Fantasia (1940)
Fantasia (1940) poster
Fantasia (1940) poster



The devil Chernabog from the spookily brilliant Night on Bald Mountain segment of Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940).

Night on Bald Mountain music composed by Modest Mussorgsky

IMDB rating 7.8

Walter Huston in All That Money Can Buy (1941)
Walter Huston in All That Money Can Buy (1941)
All That Money Can Buy (1941) poster
All That Money Can Buy (1941) poster

Walter Huston as Mr. Scratch in William Dieterle's All That Money Can Buy (1941) which is also known as The Devil and Daniel Webster. Huston received a Best Supporting Oscar nomination for the role, A classic Hollywood fantasy. Edward Arnold played Daniel Webster and James Craig is Jabez Stone who sells his soul to the devil -

Jabez Stone: [reading the contract] What does it mean here, about my soul?
Mr. Scratch: Why should that worry you? A soul? A soul is nothing. Can you see it, smell it, touch it? No. This soul, your soul, are nothing against seven years of good luck. You'll have money and all that money can buy.

IMDB rating 7.8

Laird Cregar in Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Laird Cregar in Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Heaven Can Wait (1943) poster
Heaven Can Wait (1943) poster


Laird Cregar as His Excellency (The Devil) in the 1943 fantasy Heaven Can Wait directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Don Ameche and Gene Tierney.

The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Cinematography.

IMDB rating 7.5

Rex Ingram in Cabin in the Sky (1943)
Rex Ingram in Cabin in the Sky (1943)



Rex Ingram as Lucifer in the musical Cabin in the Sky (1943) directed by Vincent Minnelli.

Ingram is probably best remembered as the giant Djinn in the Arabian Nights fantasy The Thief of Baghdad (1940).

IMDB rating 7.0

Angel on my Shoulder (1946) poster
Angel on my Shoulder (1946) poster



Gangster Paul Muni is killed by his friend and trusted partner and ends up in hell where 'Nick' (Claude Rains) offers to help him get his revenge. Angel on My Shoulder (1946) directed by Archie Mayo and also starring Anne Baxter.

IMDB rating 7.0

Alias Nick Beal (1949) poster
Alias Nick Beal (1949) poster

Ray Milland's turn to play devil in Alias Nick Beal (1949) directed by John Farrow and also starring Audrey Totter and Thomas Mitchell.

IMDB rating 7.2

Vincent Price and Ronald Colman in The Story of Mankind (1957)
Vincent Price and Ronald Colman in The Story of Mankind (1957)

Vincent Price as The Devil in the Irwin Allen fantasy The Story of Mankind (1957) also starring Ronald Colman as The Spirit of Man, Hedy Lamarr as Helen of Troy, Virginia Mayo as Cleopatra, Peter Lorre as Nero, Dennis Hopper as Napoleon, Groucho Marx as Peter Minuit and Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton.

IMDB rating 4.8

Gwen Verdon, Tab Hunter and Ray Walston in Damn Yankees (1958)
Gwen Verdon, Tab Hunter and Ray Walston in Damn Yankees (1958)

Ray Walston as Applegate, the devil in disguise, in the musical Damn Yankees (1958) directed by George Abbott and Stanley Donen and starring Tab Hunter and Gwen Verdon.... IMDB rating 7.1

Donald Pleasance in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Donald Pleasance in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)


Donald Pleasance as Satan in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) directed by George Stevens and starring Max Von Sydow as Jesus.

IMDB rating 6.3

Burgess Meredith in Torture Garden (1967)
Burgess Meredith in Torture Garden (1967)

Burgess Meredith as Dr. Diabolo in the British horror omnibus Torture Garden (1967) directed by Freddie Francis, screenplay by Robert Bloch based on his stories. Also starring Jack Palance, Peter Cushing, Beverly Adams, Robert Hutton and Maurice Denham... IMDB rating 6.1

Bedazzled (1967) poster
Bedazzled (1967) poster

Bedazzled (1967) A comic retelling of the Faust legend with Dudley Moore as Stanley Moon and Peter Cook as George Spiggott aka The Devil. Directed by Stanley Donen and also starring Raquel Welch as Lust.

Stanley: I thought you were called Lucifer?
George: I know. It sounded a bit poofy to me.

IMDB rating 6.9

Charles Gray in The Devil Rides Out (1968)
Charles Gray in The Devil Rides Out (1968)
The Devil Rides Out (1968) poster
The Devil Rides Out (1968) poster


The 'Goat of Mendes' has been summoned during a satanic orgy in the Hammer horror classic The Devil Rides Out (1968) based on the novel by Dennis Wheatley. Starring Christopher Lee as the Duke de Richleau and Charles Gray as the evil Mocata.

Renamed The Devil's Bride in the U.S.

IMDB rating 7.1

Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby (1968)


Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse unknowingly pregnant with Satan's child in the chilling horror thriller Rosemary's Baby (1968) directed by Roman Polanski and based on the novel by Ira Levin. Also starring John Cassavettes and Ruth Gordon who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. The film was also nominated for Best Screenplay.... IMDB rating 8.0

The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)

The statue of the demon Pazuzu appears in Regan MacNeil's bedroom in William Friedkin's hugely successful horror classic The Exorcist (1973). Based on the novel by William Peter Blatty and starring Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow, Jason Miller and Linda Blair as the little girl with the devil inside her.

The Exorcist was nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, winning for Best Screenplay and Best Sound.

Two sequels and two prequels followed.

IMDB rating 8.1

Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens and Gregory Peck in The Omen (1976)
Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens and Gregory Peck in The Omen (1976)

5 year old Harvey Stephens as Damien Thorn, the son of the devil in Richard Donner's horror chiller The Omen (1976) starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner and Billie Whitelaw as the "apostate of Hell" Mrs. Baylock.

The hit movie spawned three sequels and a remake.

"When the Jews return to Zion and a comet rips the sky and the Holy Roman Empire rises, then you and I must die. From the eternal sea he rises, creating armies on either shore. Turning man against his brother. 'Til man exists no more."

IMDB rating 7.6

The Devil and Max Devlin (1981) poster
The Devil and Max Devlin (1981) poster



Elliott Gould as Max and Bill Cosby as Lucifer in the supernatural comedy The Devil and Max Devlin (1981) directed Steven Hilliard Stern.

IMDB rating 4.8

Oh God You Devil (1984) poster
Oh God You Devil (1984) poster



George Burns plays God and the Devil in the comedy Oh God! You Devil (1984) directed by Paul Bogart and also starring Ted Wass.

Burns was 88 in this film and died in 1996 aged 100.

IMDB rating 5.0

Tim Curry in Legend (1985)
Tim Curry in Legend (1985)
Legend (1985) poster
Legend (1985) poster



Tim Curry as the Lord of Darkness in Ridley Scott's Legend (1985) a fairy tale fantasy with demons, witches, goblins and elves starring Tom Cruise and Mia Sara.

Rob Bottin's incredible make up effects were nominated for an Oscar.

IMDB rating 6.2

Robert De Niro in Angel Heart (1987)
Robert De Niro in Angel Heart (1987)

The great Robert De Niro as Louis Cyphre (Lucifer) in Alan Parker's gory chiller Angel Heart (1987) starring Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, a private investigator hired by the devil.

Louis Cyphre: The flesh is weak, Johnny. Only the soul is immortal. And yours belongs to ME.

IMDB rating 7.3

The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
Jack and The Witches of Eastwick
Jack and The Witches of Eastwick


Alex Medford: Who are you?
Daryl Van Horne: Just your average horny little devil.

Jack Nicholson as the charming devil Daryl Van Horne summoned to the small town of Eastwick by three bored witches played by Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. The Witches of Eastwick (1987) directed by George Miller.

Oscar nominated for Best Sound and Best Music Score (John Williams).

IMDB rating 6.4

Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy (1995)
Viggo Mortensen in The Prophecy (1995)


Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer in The Prophecy (1995) directed by Gregory Widen and starring Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen and Christopher Walken as the Archangel Gabriel. The film was successful and spawned four sequels.

IMDB rating 6.5

Connie Nielsen and Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate (1997)
Connie Nielsen and Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate (1997)
The Devil's Advocate (1997) poster
The Devil's Advocate (1997) poster


John Milton: Who, in their right mind Kevin, could possibly deny the twentieth century was entirely mine.

Al Pacino takes over as Lucifer aka John Milton in The Devil's Advocate (1997) directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron and Connie Nielsen. It won a Saturn Award for Best Horror film.

IMDB rating 7.3

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Byrne in End of Days (1999)
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Byrne in End of Days (1999)
End of Days (1999) poster
End of Days (1999) poster


Satan: Just tell me what you want.
Jericho Cane: I'll tell you what I want. I want you to go to Hell.
Satan: Well, you see, the problem is... [grabs Cane and lifts him] sometimes Hell comes to YOU!

End of Days (1999) directed by Peter Hyams and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane and Gabriel Byrne as Satan.

IMDB rating 5.5

Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky (2000)
Harvey Keitel in Little Nicky (2000)

Harvey Keitel as Satan doing what looks like the Vulcan salute in the Adam Sandler comedy Little Nicky (2000) directed by Steven Brill and also starring Patricia Arquette and Rhys Ifans... IMDB rating 5.1

Liz Hurley in Bedazzled (2000)
Liz Hurley in Bedazzled (2000)




"I am the Devil! Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Prince of Darkness! Well, the Princ-ess of Darkness, anyway."

Wickedly sexy Elizabeth Hurley as The Devil in comedy remake Bedazzled (2000) directed by Harold Ramis and starring Brendan Fraser.

IMDB rating 5.9

Keanu Reeves is Constantine (2005)
Keanu Reeves is Constantine (2005)
Peter Stormare in Constantine (2005)
Peter Stormare in Constantine (2005)



Keanu Reeves is John Constantine, battling against demons in Hell, and Peter Stormare as the fallen angel Lucifer popping in for a visit in Constantine (2005) directed by Francis Lawrence and based on the popular comic book series Hellblazer. Also starring Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf and Tilda Swinton as Gabriel.

IMDB rating 6.5

Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Nicolas Cage is Ghost Rider (2007)
Nicolas Cage is Ghost Rider (2007)
Peter Fonda in Ghost Rider (2007)
Peter Fonda in Ghost Rider (2007)


Nicolas Cage is Johnny Blaze who has sold his soul to Mephistopheles played by Peter Fonda in Ghost Rider (2007) directed by Mark Steven Johnson and also starring Eva Mendes and Wes Bentley.

Based on the Marvel comics character first appearing in Marvel Spotlight #5 in 1972. Satan turns out to be demonic villain Mephisto in the Ghost Rider comic book series.

IMDB rating 5.2

Devil (2010)
Devil (2010)
Devil (2010) poster
Devil (2010) poster



A group of people are stuck in a malfunctioning elevator, they start to die horribly. One of them is the Devil, but which one?

Devil (2010) directed by John Erick Dowdle and produced by M.Night Shyamalan. Starring Chris Messina and Jenny O'Hara.

IMDB rating 6.3

Ciaran Hinds in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Ciaran Hinds in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) poster
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) poster



Ciaran Hinds as Roarke, the devil incarnate, in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012) directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, also starring Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth and Christopher Lambert.

A disappointing sequel to Ghost Rider (2007) set in Eastern Europe and with Nicolas Cage even more madly over-the-top as the fiery demonic rider than he was in the previous film if such a thing is possible.

IMDB rating 4.7

More by this Author


20 comments

Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 4 years ago

As always, you created a very informative and interesting hub article here. To be honest, I had no idea that the "Devil's Advocate" won any awards. By the way, I think you missed one movie though. In Jack Black's film, "Tenacious D", he had a rock and roll competition with the Devil himself in the movie, so you might want to add that to your list too. Other than that, you did a pretty good. By the way, were you going to do a hub on how many featured god too? I only ask since you obviously did one on the devil in films, so i was just curious.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Steve I've never seen Tenacious D though I have heard of it. I had a few more films lined up which I left out because the hub was already running long and it was getting late here. South Park the Movie was one of them.

I am planning one on Jesus in the Movies, but never really thought about God in the movies and how about Angels and Demons and Hell itself, could go on and on. The main idea is to make it visually nice to look at and readable, btw there are hundreds of films with the topic "Devil" at IMDB and only a few actually feature the devil. :)

Thanks for posting.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Excellent hub and very educational. I did not realize there were so many classic movies with the Devil in them. I did much better when we reached more modern movies. I have not thought about the Devil and Max Devlin in years, but I actually saw that movie at the theater oh so many years ago.

I would say my favorite Devils would be DeNiro in Angel Heart and Jack in Witches of Eastwick...that is a classic photo you have of Jack in the hub. Voted up and very interesting....does this mean your next hub will be people that played God?


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

Very well done. I really liked the beginning part to going over the Christian demonology.


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

There are a huge number of movies with the Devil in them in classic film. There are several with a faust theme. and some with plays within plays - rermember that within the musical put on The Bandwagon the story was mmeant to be faust.

If you were to add television on shows like The Twilight Zone - ? Wow! the number is huge.

These are the films I have seen that you included, in the order you mention them. Where there is more than one title for the film I use the one I know better. I am the opposite of Cogerson - the more recent the film, the less likely I am to have seen it, although I have of course heard of the films.

The films are:

Fantasia

The Devil and Danial Webster

Heaven Can Wait (Laird died so young)

Cabin in the sky

The Thief of Bagdad

Angel on My shoulder (Claud Rains!)

Damn Yankees

The Omen

Oh, God You Devil

The Witches of Eastwick


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Cogerson, Nickalooch, Flora, thanks for commenting it is appreciated now if you'll all sign this contract I guarantee you'll get seven years of good luck... :)

Bruce, my favourite devil is probably Jack Nicholson as Daryl Van Horne, his rant at a church congregation is a screen classic.

I remember you posting that picture from Witches of Eastwick in your Jack Nicholson hub so I had to use it here too. :)

Not sure if I should do God or Jesus next. Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd ever end up writing, hahaha! How many actors have played God? Morgan Freeman and George Burns are the only actors that come to mind right now.

Nick, glad you enjoyed the demonology bit, if you think of it those seven princes of hell currently rule our world if they represent the 7 deadly sins. Where is God? Is he an absentee landlord? as Al Pacino's devil says at one point in The Devil's Advocate, allowing evil to run rampant.

Hi Flora, welcome to Steve's Hell Hub... mmmm I love the smell of brimstone in the morning.

Twilight Zone had a few devils in them but I decided to stick to movies and there were plenty to choose from, missing from the hub are Jeff Goldblum playing the devil in Mister Frost and recently Malcolm MacDowell was Satan in Suing the Devil.

Yes sadly Laird Cregar, a memorable actor in a dozen classic movies, died of a heart attack aged just 31.

Thank you all for posting!


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA

This is and awesome hub and I honestly forgot some of the actors who played the Devil. I think my favorite of the list is Tim Curry in Legend, who played the son of the devil. There is something so sad, yet menacing about his character that is intriguing. And the juxtaposition between that character and Dr. Frankenfurter is amazing.

Awesome and Voted up!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hello Vanessa, thank you for commenting on my Gallery of Evil, it is appreciated.

The thing with Darkness is that he isn't the Devil and so is the odd one out in this hub but he 'looks' more like what we imagine the devil looks like than any other character here, so I couldn't leave him out and he even graces this hubs 'front page'. :)

Tim Curry was superb as the Lord of Darkness in Ridley Scott's Legend, he elevates an otherwise weak fantasy film, and certainly the most memorable aspect of the film.

Chernabog from Fantasia isn't the Devil either but is 'a' devil from Slavic mythology.

My excuses for Rosemary's Baby, The Exorcist, The Omen is that the devil was involved in the story even if we don't see him.


vmartinezwilson profile image

vmartinezwilson 4 years ago from Vancouver, WA

I agree with your interpretation of Tim Curry's character, but I had this distinct feeling when he talked to the fireplace as his father that he was the son of that or the devil. I agree that he has that typical 'devil' appearance that most of us think when we say devil. It's been a while since I've seen the film, but this really makes me want to watch it once again and watch it with new eyes.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

You're right his father must be the devil, it can't be a coincidence he has those huge horns and cloven hooves and I love that booming voice. And this son of the devil has a weakness for pretty princesses too. :)

It's been a while since I last saw Legend too, time I watched it again.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Steve, Another great hub with fab photos. My favourite devil without any doubt is Jack Nicholson's horny little devil in Witches of Eastwick - very different take on Lucifer I think. Voted up.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Jools, appreciate the kind words. Yeah Jack was a right old devil wasn't he? Living with three sexy witches in that mansion, lucky devil. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Very comprehensive list. I loved Tim Curry in "legends". My favorite recent portrayal of the Devil was Tom Waits in Terry Gilliam's "the Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus." (Heath Ledger's last film.)

Nicely researched.

Rob


Vange 4 years ago

Great Hub, Lots of information and some real classics here. The Make up for Tim Curry cannot be beaten, 5 and and a half hours to apply. Legendary!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Rob, I saw that film and forgot all about Waits, oh well. Good film, Terry Gilliam. Appreciate the comment.

Vange, thanks for posting, so many hours in the make up chair... I couldn't do it. I get bored shaving.


rabbit75 profile image

rabbit75 4 years ago

Steve, once again, you made a great and thought provoking hubs full of information goodness. I love this particular topic and the Prophecy is one of my favorite movies that has to do with the subject of religion. I thought it was a great twist.

However, I would like Hollywood to be a little more creative with the Devil, instead of making him so stereo-typical. I have a few story ideas for that one. lol. Once again voted up and awesome!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks rabbit75, the Devil and devil-worshipping is a fascinating subject, I used to enjoy reading Dennis Wheatley's black magic books ages ago. A remake of The Devil Rides Out is long overdue. The Satanist would be great to see on the big screen, lovely title too. ;)


Roger 3 years ago

Dustin hoffman in "Joan of arc"


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 3 years ago from London, England Author

Interesting choice, I only saw that film once and never really thought of him as the devil.


James A. Miles 3 years ago

Terrance Zdunich in "The Devil's Carnival"

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working