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!
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 finale to a popular series featuring angels introduces God as a drifter.
- George Burns [Oh, God! (1977), Oh, God! Book II (1980), Oh, God! You Devil (1984)] - An elderly God who's quite a rainmaker and can only selectively be seen.
- 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), Evan Almighty (2007)] - God takes a vacation, allowing Jim Carrey free reign. Watch out, world!
- Whoopi Goldberg [Muppet Christmas Movie (2002); A Little Bit of Heaven (2011)] -Ms. Goldberg as God in two very different films.
- Robert Mitchum [Les Sept Péchés Capitaux (1992)] - An American God in a comedy.
- Alanis Morisette [Dogma (1999) ] God shows up at the last minute to save the day, and oh, what a voice!
- Ralph Richardson [Time Bandits (1981)] - God as a dapper Englishman.
- Maurice Roëves [The Acid House (1998)] - A tough, Scottish God.
- David Strathairn [An Interview with God (2018)] - A mysterious man who claims to be God in interviews with a curious reporter.
- Various [TV series "Joan of Arcadia" ] - Various actors show up as God in this series.
Many others have played the "voice of God," including: Gene Hackman [Two of a Kind]; Phil Hartman and Harry Shearer [The Simpsons]; Charlton Heston [The Ten Commandments]; Val Kilmer [Prince of Egypt]; Trey Parker [South Park]; Rob Zombie [Super, 2010]; and last but not least, the inimicable Graham Chapman [Monty Python and the Holy Grail]. He gets our vote as "most endearing."
II. THE DEVIL
Our research turned up a great many actors who have tackled this darkest of roles. The devil, it would seem, is popular in screenplays. Our list focuses on films that expose the devil's true colors: a liar, scoundrel, adversary, and predator. Consider the following:
- George Burns [Oh God, You Devil (1984)] A Faustian bargain told with good humor, and George Burns in a role reversal, as the Devil.
- Kass Connors [The Encounter (2010)] Devil has a cameo as Officer De Ville.
- Peter Cooke [Bedazzled (1967)] A 1960s era tale of a modern "Faustian bargain."
- 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.
- Elizabeth Hurley [Bedazzled (2000)] An updated tale of a "Faustian bargain."
- Walter Huston [The Devil & Daniel Webster (1941)] Devil goes after a particular soul.
- Emil Jannings [Faust, 1926] Dr. Faustus makes a bargain with the devil, trading his soul for the false hope of happiness.
- 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 Things (1981)] Devil as a too-smooth salesman.
- Tom Waits [The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (2009)] The physics-bending and mind-confounding devil.
- Gordon Currie [Left Behind Film Series (2000)] – The antichrist of an apocalyptic era
- Ray Wise [Reaper, Series, (2007-2009)] The Devil, who goes by the name of Jerry Belvedere, in a story about Brett Harison, a reaper played by Sam Oliver plays Brett Harrison, who is tasked with retrieving souls who have escaped hell.
- Spoiler Alert [Devil (2010)] The Devil is mysteriously amongst a group of people trapped in an elevator. Telling you who would spoil the film.
We look forward to being able to update this page with whatever comes next, but if you're impatient, you can always run an IMDB Search. Let us know what you find, and we'll be sure to consider it for this page.