Gone are the days when the Lucifer role is reserved for a two-dimensional evil-doer, as fans often find themselves relating to, admiring, or even sympathizing with the supposedly antagonistic character. The Devil has subsequently transformed from one of the most hated entities in existence to one that now claims center stage in a goofy, thought-provoking, or spine-chilling manner.
While there have been numerous versions of the King of Hell over the years, this discussion will focus primarily on the fantasy genre and will not include the many Satanic anime characters. This list also seeks out the Lucifers that bring a different entertainment factor than the stereotypical horror film renditions; those who aim to intrigue viewers and not simply scare them witless. This text will also be sticking strictly to the Lucifer/Satan moniker and avoiding loopholes that Death, the Grim Reaper, Hades, or other Big Bads create.
8 Elizabeth Hurley In Bedazzled
Best Lucifer Portrayals Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled Devil Brendan Fraser
While an appealing Lucifer may be quite commonplace today, the trope was virtually unheard of back in the 2000s when Bedazzled was released but, after seeing Elizabeth Hurley strut her stuff, not many could complain. Satan’s whole M.O. is to essentially inspire sin and arouse desires, regardless of the situation, and in this case, Elliot Richards doesn’t stand a chance!
The awkward IT guy attempts to win over the girl of his dreams by selling his soul for seven wishes, making an unlikely friend during his endeavors. This romantic comedy perfectly sums up the life lesson of “be careful what you wish for” (particularly when dealing with the Devil) in a lighthearted and sensual way.
7 Peter Stormare In Constantine
Keanu Reeves as Constantine facing Lucifer
One of the first on-screen portrayals of Neil Gaiman’s Lucifer Morningstar is delivered by the esteemed Peter Stormare, who makes a rather brief, yet thoroughly impressionable appearance in the star-studded feature film, Constantine.
His slow-motion entrance scene is powerful enough to spread goosebumps across viewers’ bodies before shock and admiration take over as Satan saves Ellie from Gabrielle’s attack before putting the rogue angel in its place. Lucifer then also goes on to allow his adversary to live on cancer-free (although whether this gesture is meant to reward Constantine or extend his torture is debatable).
6 Jack Nicholson In The Witches Of Eastwick
Best Lucifer Portrayals Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick 1980s dark comedy
There is not much that Jack Nicholson can touch without transforming it into a masterpiece, and this 1980s fantasy tale is no exception. Daryl Van Horne is the ultimate ladies’ man and picks off the women of Eastwick one by one, freeing their inhibitions while remaining completely unconcerned by the consequences that subsequently befall them.
A run-in with three oblivious witches complicates matters for D, as their interactions with the Devil-in disguise cause their magic to emerge from dormancy. What is essentially a supernatural battle of the sexes has also become a cult classic that definitely deserves a rewatch from dark-comedy fans.
5 Luke Cook In The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
Best Lucifer Portrayals Luke Cook in The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina Netflix
This 90s reboot does not steer very far from the stereotypically evil portrayal of Lucifer, however, Luke Cook delivers a provoking performance as Sabrina’s power-hungry father and the source of all depravity. This Dark Lord has many loyal worshipers and can transform between the appealing angelic humanoid form and a nightmarish goat-like beast, fueled by the desire to corrupt humanity and overwhelm their realm with evil.
Lucifer showed no paternal interest in Sabrina until she became old enough to be useful, and pressures her to assume the throne and marry Caliban for the sake of status, not love. He manipulates his most loyal supporter, Lilith, as if she were an emotionless pawn, which backfires significantly when everyone starts to see through his alluring deception.
4 Gwendoline Christie In The Sandman
The Sandman DC Villains Lucifer Morningstar Gwendoline Christie
Not all of Neil Gaiman’s fans were thrilled with the gender-bender Lucifer in The Sandman (who is essentially the initial inspiration behind DC’s Lucifer Morningstar.) Regardless, only true haters can say that the Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie did the role any disservice with her intimidatingly regal depiction of the most beautiful and manipulative angel.
This androgynous, gender-fluid portrayal fits neatly within the source material, as the emphasis in the comic books never references a specific gender (on purpose!) Christie delivers a more sinister and vengeful Lucifer than Tom Ellis, adding her own spin to the DC legend, and will likely lead the charge against Dream in the second installment of The Sandman.
3 Al Pacino In The Devil’s Advocate
Best Lucifer Portrayals Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate Keanu Reeves Connie Nielsen
Mary Ann could sense something was off with the enchanting John Milton, but unfortunately, Kevin Lomax (Keanu Reeves) had already fallen deeply under his spell. It is evident that, as a lawyer, Kevin plays fast and loose with morality in order to get his client off, and the Devil takes full advantage of this flawed characteristic, turning the relatively “good guy” into a deplorable power-driven intimidator who is virtually unrecognizable in the end.
John Milton shows how easily it can be to be seduced into the dark side with promises of success and manipulative strokes of the ego. Satan will work his magic on the smallest imperfections until they become the focal point of his victim’s entire existence, and innocent bystanders can do little to stop the path of destruction.
2 Mark Pellegrino In Supernatural
Best Lucifer Portrayals Mark Pellegrino in Supernatural Sam Dean Winchester Amazon Prime
Unlike the demonic Crowley (who was also at one point, the King of Hell), Lucifer cannot be trusted in the slightest, and yet, he still manages to be somewhat likable (and even adored by many viewers.) His quick wit and dry humor regularly get a good laugh out of the Supernatural fandom (which other vexing antagonists such as Dick Roman or Metatron, could rarely accomplish.)
While the soul of the Devil inhabited several different bodies during the Supernatural storyline, Mark Pellegrino’s role gives the greatest impact, as viewers find themselves secretly wishing that Sam and Dean’s arch-nemesis will make another appearance, even if he ends up ruining the day!
1 Tom Ellis In Lucifer
lucifer promo Cropped
Nobody does Lucifer quite like Tom Ellis, who steals the show with his perfect personification of the term “sex appeal” (in his human form, that is!) When the King of Hell needs a vacation, the obvious choice is the City of Angels, where the devilishly desirably charmer learns about the intricacies of humankind by consulting with the local police force (of course!)
DC’s Lucifer Morningstar is far from the typical protagonist, which arguably makes his character even more relatable as he struggles to balance desire with virtue, empathy, and expectations. He readjusts his moral compass with the help of his sexy shrink, Linda Martin, and is constantly reminded of his dark past thanks to Mazikeen and Amenedial, all while becoming hopelessly infatuated with the seductive Detective Chloe Decker. Lucifer extends his time with humans more and more each day as their optimistic influences slowly take effect.