Sympathy for the Devil: Top 5 Cinematic Satans

Last weekend, Mick Jagger was the host on "Saturday Night Live".  He did a much better job than I expected - he was funny, self-deprecating, and totally in on the joke.  Try to watch some of the sketches he did, it was pretty amazing.  Anyway, he also sang with Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire, including "Sympathy for the Devil."  But since this is a film blog, I thought, in his honor, I'd do my Top 5 portrayals of the devil in film.  I did cheat a bit in my sympathy and included my choices for death/the grim reaper.  Also, you have to remember that I don't really watch horror (or actually scary) movies, so please feel free to help me fill out the list with your choices from other genres.  And in a perfect example of "great minds think alike", a similar post was done yesterday at Anomalous Material - what are the chances?!

5. William Sadler in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - There's enough makeup on him in this Bill & Ted sequel that you might not be able to recognize William Sadler.  You definitely would recognize him from The Shawshank Redemption as Heywood.  Bill and Ted have to outwit the Grim Reaper and get back to the land of the living and save the future.

4. Ray Walston in Damn Yankees! - I'm guessing no one who reads this will have seen Damn Yankees! but I don't care.  Ray Walston became famous for many roles including Mr. Hand in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  Damn Yankees is a 1955 Broadway musical and 1958 film about a man who can't stand that the Yankees never win.  He makes a deal with the devil to become a young man again and play for the Yankees and help them win the World Series.  Of course he realizes there is more to life than whether his team wins, but the devil uses a lot of wiles, including Lola, to keep the deal going.

3. Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled - This is a painfully bad movie, but Hurley as the Devil is pretty awesome.  Brendan Fraser makes a deal with Hurley for 7 wishes to try to win the love of his life in return for his soul.  Of course, the devil doesn't exactly play fair when granting his wishes, leaving Fraser trying to fix the problems with more wishes.   She's sexy, she does mean things with a huge smile on her face, and she's horribly acted, but it's hard not to watch.

2. Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black - This is one of my favorite Brad Pitt performances.  Sadly, it takes place in the middle of a really long, mostly boring 3+ hour movie.  I love watching Pitt discover what humans are like through Anthony Hopkins.  He's innocent and beautiful in his own right and portrays this journey of  discovery well.  There's a scene where he talks to an old woman in the hospital with a strong dialect that I love and watch repeatedly when it's on TV.  Does make you rethink how good you want to be if Brad Pitt is waiting for you on the other side.

1. Al Pacino in The Devil's Advocate - This was the movie that came to mind first inspiring this list.  Pacino plays John Milton (um, that should have been a clue that he's not right) who hires hotshot young lawyer Keanu Reeves to work for him.  Of course, things go wrong pretty quickly because, of course, Pacino is the Devil.   Reeves' wife, Charlize Theron is threatened when Reeves decides he might not want to do everything the Devil tells him to do.  I love when Pacino goes a little nuts towards the end with his big monologue explaining what's going on.  Classic Pacino.


  1. Aw, I thought this was going to be in response to my top 5 cinematic gods I did on the lambcast. Anywho, I would totally include Peter stormare from constantine on this.

  2. It does match your list nicely, Nick!

    Even though I'm not sure he'd make my list, I love that you included Pitt, Jess. You need to check back with Rachel to see if she's seen it yet. If not...Anthony Hopkins episode? She must see it!

    You know how the phrase "scenery-chewing/er" gets thrown around a lot? Pacino in The Devil's Advocate is the embodiment of it, and christ does he have fun.

  3. Sorry Nick - I'm behind on my LAMBcasts

    Dylan - I totally agree, but it's probably the best and most fun example of chewing the scenery ever made. And we've already done an Anthony Hopkins episode - #17 back in October 2010 and definitely discussed Meet Joe Black. If I remember, Rachel did not care for its length but enjoy the hotness that was Pitt.

    1. 1.) I had NO idea that Sadler was the reaper in Bill & Ted, so thanks for that bit of info.

      2.) Sorry, partner, but I am still a Joe Black virgin. I didn't watch it for either our Hopkins or Pitt episode. For Hopkins, there just wasn't enough time. For Pitt, it was listed as a "Long Wait" in my queue, so it got skipped.


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