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God and the Devil in Media

The temptation to portray the unfathomable greatness of God or the embodiment of evil temptation are irresistible in pop culture. Let’s take a look at the best of the best!

I. GOD

While the booming voices of Charlton Heston and John Huston may spring to mind, many other actors have played the part.  Here are a few of the most endearing attempts, and a word or two about their twist on God:

  • Scott Bairstow [TV Series “Touched by an Angel” 1994] The series finale features God, as a drifter.
  • George Burns [Oh God (1977), and two sequels] –  An elderly God who’s quite a rainmaker, and can only selectively be seen.
  • Graham Chapman [ Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)]  God as a cartoon cutout on a cloud.
  • Rodney Dangerfield [Angels with Angles (2005)] Film unavailable at the moment, but if it comes back, check it out.
  • Antônio Fagundes [God is Brazilian (2003)] A laid-back God takes a vacation.
  • Morgan Freeman [Bruce Almighty (2003)] takes a vacation, allowing Jim Carrey free reign. Watch out, world!
  • Whoopi Goldberg [two movies!] Whoopi has played God inthe 2002 Muppet Christmas movie, and also in the 2011 film A Little Bit of Heaven.
  • Alanis Morisette [Dogma – ] God shows up at the last minute to save the day, and oh, what a voice!
  • Various [TV series “Joan of Arcadia” ] various actors show up as God in this series.
  • More titles available through IMDB Search.

There are many other films where God also makes appearances, such as in Time Bandits, The Acid House, but these get our vote as “most endearing.”

II. THE DEVIL

Our research turned up a great many more actors who have tackled this darker role. The devil, it would seem, is more often written into screenplays.  Our list focuses on films that expose the devil’s true colors. Of those, we have:

  • Kass Connors [The Encounter (2010)] Devil has a cameo as Officer De Ville.
  • Tim Curry [Legend (1985)] Devil as red-horned demon.
  • Dustin Hoffman [The Messenger (1999)] Devil as sower of doubts, in role of confessor to Joan of Arc.
  • Walter Huston [The Devil & Daniel Webster (1941)] Devil goes after a particular soul.
  • Jack Nicholson [The Witches of Eastwick (1987)] Devil as a being of insatiable appetites.
  • Al Pacino [Devil’s Advocate (1997)] Devil as head of a multinational legal firm.  Some feel this soliloquy should be required viewing for seminary students.
  • Trey Parker [South Park, Bigger Longer Uncut (1999)] Devil as philosopher.
  • Claude Rains [Angel on My Shoulder (1946)] Dashing and debonair devil to be avoided.
  • Peter Stormare [Constantine (2005)] An evil cameo in a film about a sort of ghost-busting.
  • Max Von Sydow [Needful Thing s (1981)] Devil as a too-smooth salesman.
  • Tom Waits [The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009)] The physics-bending and mind-confounding devil.
  • Gordon Currie [original Left Behind series of films (2000)] – The antichrist of an apocalyptic era
  • More titles available through IMDB Search

There are also a good many versions of the Faust tale (a bargain with the devil where the soul is traded away for the false hope of happiness):  Peter Cooke in Bedazzled (1967); Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled (2000); Emil Jannings in Faust (1926) and George Burns in the third movie in the Oh God! series, Oh God, You Devil (1984).

We look forward to being able to update this page with whatever comes next.