The History of the Devil

Ratings: 7.58/10 from 26 users.


The History of the DevilThe History of the Devil is wickedly good, informative and concise. A no-frills Welsh film produced in association with SBS Australia and distributed by Siren Visual, it’s roughly 52 minutes in length and packs a fair dinkum amount of history into its slender running time.

The documentary itself is made up entirely of mostly still images alternating sporadically with talking heads; religious scholars, theologians and reverends.

Directed by Greg Moodie and written and produced by Dave Flitton, it was researched by Eibhleann Ni Ghriofa, Deirdre Learmont and Craig McGregor.

It’s an impressive and very open-minded account and offers some fantastic insight into the evolution; the hows and whys the specter of the Devil has existed and morphed through the ages from the dawn of civilization through to the new millennium.

So despite its relatively low-fi approach, the richness and diversity of its imagery; the historical plaques, plates, engravings, illustrations, paintings, drawings, and the occasional staged re-enactment (some dude dressed up in rather bemusing demonic attire), keeps the documentary at a high level of beguilement.

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75 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Kaiako

    Woohoo! First person to leave a comment! I haven't watched the doco yet but just wanted to be the first to leave a comment - I am blown away by how quickly comments appear here.

    What a great range of extra docos posted in the last few days - nice holiday watching - thanks Vlatko :)

  2. grey area

    its me , im the dark lord , look no further or yee shall pay, yee shall pay through thy nose. sincerely hellraiser/satan/lucipher/the red guy.

  3. David

    Vlatko - Who did the summary for this doco?

  4. Vlatko

    @David, It's randomly taken from the net.

  5. DeathSSghosT

    @grey area
    all hail satan, the prince of darkness

  6. Natalie

    Cool stuff!

  7. Waldo

    A very interesting explanation of the origins of dualism. As someone that has studied theology extensively I have always found it interesting that the devil or Satan plays a very small and contextual role in the Bible. He is barely mentioned, and never truly explained. In my opinion were it not for the necessity of antithesis to bring about some type of conflict to be resolved in literature the devil simply would not exist. He is mans attempt to anthropomorphize the human concept of injustice. From the beginning of time man has questioned why he must suffer and why things simply fail to go his way many times. In reality there is no such thing as injustice when we are dealing with the natural world. We act as if nature knows whether or not we have lived a good life and should treat us accordingly. It is the application of our concept of reciprocity to all situations. Whether we are dealing with an unconscious entity, such as nature, or a conscious entity, such as other people, we expect to get what we feel we deserve, and anything less or to the contrary we classify as unjust or evil. What a simple creature man is, how vane and entitled he feels.
    Or, maybe we simply need some entity to lash out at, somewhere to spend the anger we feel when we perceive an injustice. Maybe we simply cannot handle our own human nature and how vile it truly is, we need some entity to blame to remove the weight of such actions. Instead of fighting that nature or denying ourselves the indulgence we simply create some supernatural entity that is beyond our control or ability to resist, you know “the devil made me do it”.
    Whatever the reasons for the Devil’s creation he is just that, a human creation with no reality. Things happen to us in this world because that is the way reality works. We are what we are because that is the evolutionary reality of our natures. The sooner we realize this the sooner we may rise above these petty feelings of entitlement, the sooner we may learn to deny ourselves these base desires. As long as we see evil where in reality is only the natural order of things, we will never learn to rise above and become what we call “divine”.

  8. Truth-is-in-the-evidence

    @Waldo. You have made a very articulate, and intelligent comments! Documentaries, such as these that illustrate the origin of early Human literature (i.e. Devil myth) showcases the evolving nature of literature, culture, morality, ethics, and religion.

    Our species is capable of such creative, imaginative thinking; unfortunately, our species is also capable of believing our imaginations to be REAL! This, unwavering belief in the supernatural I submit is a very dangerous proposition, as history has clearly demonstrated.

  9. grey area

    you will be given a cushy job in my new world order as one of my minions .
    well said my friend , now care to sell your soul for riches , glory and women to me??? camonnnnnnn , its such a sweet deal buddy. also ill throw in a sweet orangish/red tan free for the both of yous . the duma$$es from jersey shore would kill to be this tan- the dark lord

  10. Jack

    @Waldo - You've said it all - Simply brilliant! Thank you!

    Excellent documentary! Thank you Vlatko!

  11. Mike

    Great documentary... Kind of sad that even in a forum like this you have to deal with the "first comment" people. If there's ever eugenics those are the only people i wouldn't let procreate

  12. Chuck

    I've known two people who I'd say were truly evil. I don't know if one of them had any sort of religious upbringing or concept of either good or evil, but I do know he caused hatred and discontent, purposely, everywhere he went. This man died a violent death by his own stupidity. The other was the same way, but only worse and did have a religious upbringing. He died young, but I don't know how. He was a pedophile and a master at brainwashing. I don't know why people take pleasure in doing evil things other than it gives them a position of power. All and all I found this very interesting. I'd like to see one on just evil,leave out the pagans and just delve into the evil deeds.

  13. Waldo

    @ Grey area

    Deal! You sure you want my soul, its an older model but I've kept it fairly clean. Not much on the short track but its long legged as h#ll. As is, no warranty..

    @ Chuck

    They had a documentary on this site about the most evil people in history, posted sometime around Halloween. It had Vlad Dracula in it and some weird lady from I think it was Romania that bathed in blood. I can't remember the name but it sounds sort of like what you are looking for. Good luck.

  14. Rina Ralls

    Do people really believe gov't officials and presidents re: Satan? So easy to brainwash people. A doc about Satan is like a doc about Frankenstein. People don't believe in the devil anymore.

  15. Jessica

    @Waldo and Chuck ~ The woman is Elizabeth Bathory.

  16. Steve

    Just to let ya know,this isnt a Welsh film its Irish,TG4 at the end,is an Irish (mostly in Gaelic) TV channel.

    But anyway,good doc.Not so much about the devil,rather how he was used as a justification for ironically, evil acts.

    The conclusion I got from this doc is that it wasnt religion that brought about these evil acts it was dualistic thought.
    And that the devil seems to be the fall guy.

    Bad day-blame it on the devil
    Divorced-blame it on the devil
    lost your job-blame it on the devil
    wife cheats on you-blame it on me

  17. Tom

    Well said Waldo. I live in the US and it really worries me when the government starts spouting religious reasoning to justify the actions they take. Government and Religion should never mix. It truly is amazing how history repeats itself if you step back and look at the larger picture. Romans feared christians and burned them, religion feared anything opposing it and burned it and now it is terrorist, though we have moved past the burning phase. I don't think you can make good vs evil so black and white. While people do things that someone perceives as evil it is just that a perception of that persons own moral judgment. When a male lion takes over a pride the first thing it does is kill any cubs from the other male. Some would argue that it is evil. Anyway, my point is, the world is not black and white.

    @Grey area

    I am interested in your offer as well. Will you be taking resumes or setting up interviews? I know it's a bad question to as right away but what kind of benefits do you offer? Do we get paid vacation time?


    The woman you are thinking of is Elizabeth Bathory, Hungarian noble that became obsessed with trying to keeping her "beauty" by bathing in virgin blood. She used the blood for everything, not just bathing. Some historians think she killed between 30-50 girls and other historians think it was more in the 100 range.

  18. Linda

    A good documentary explaining that satan is man made,
    I love this site I have learned a lot from this and
    some things I never knew about thank you for the extra's
    over the holiday's and have a good time.
    Happy Midwinter to everyone
    Linda ;-*

  19. manne

    I'm from Berlin/Germany and a non-believer but I'm open minded. Hey,Waldo I really like your comment. Excellent! I think religion is very dangerous for gullible people.Many people are not skeptical.
    God is man made too!!!

  20. equus

    Mike, the fact that you don’t like the “first comment people” doesn’t mean much to anybody else but you…in an overpopulated world, where competition is fierce, to be “first” on anything is an advantage…loosen up, bud…

  21. equus

    Why people even bother with this nonsense about the devil-Satan- is amusing to me…I know that there are a whole bunch of losers worshiping & probably even killing, in the name of this created loser…but think about it, privileged people-you know, the one having a good time on this blue dot-are such an insignificant minority—that you’d imagined that a half smart Satan would have an wide open field to do his “evil” tempting & stuff…common people…wake tfu…

  22. equus

    Is there anybody, with an average IQ, that think that the people that don’t believe in god-any god-turns to Satan instead? LOL…they’re either Gnostics or atheists or even “indifferent” but THE DEVIL—HAHAHAHAHA- never cross these people’s mind…I didn’t watch this doc, I don’t have to…I don’t care to…F Satan…GTFOH with this nonsense…

  23. daniel

    funny, he says that st augustine is one of the greatest thinkers of his time, and then without any pause goes on to tell you what he actually thought.

    gee.... what a great thinker..... (SARCASM)....
    i'm sure all the greatest thinkers of the time were probably being burnt to death.

  24. dennis

    Our arrogance is pathetic! We already have created one fucked up POEM in this UNI-VERSUM (one song) because we think too much and feel too little. We have forgotten that we are like cells of a body. We have become a cancer witch, universally, the body will be cured of or it will die.

    Satan or no Satan; there is only one Evil and that is ignorance! Whoever thought of the phrase 'ignorance is a bliss' was a brilliant coercive mind or an ignorant one!

    Even if it is just an allegory: Learn from it.

  25. Steve

    This documentary should be named "The history of the Devil in Christianity". Because 80 % of it is about the Bible. And where exactly is Judaism and Islam here? Isn't the devil a part of these two monotheistic religions too?

  26. Kathrin

    me and my friend when we were younger saw a demonic creature run out of her living room.idc what anyone says thank god i had a witness i was in shock wen i saw it i said nothing she then spoke up and said kathrin, i saw it too! this talk of the devil is only the result of humans not being able to take blame for our messed up as humans are...demonic things are real they r alive just like we have life we r just on borrowed energy thus we die we dont live forever evil exists i believe more so than good.

    we dont realize it but we devil worship in music and the media we sing chants and don't even know it we watch movies were we expose our selves to images and sometimes downright listen to people chant and devil worship.its real it wants us to think we have evolved we are smarter that this is foolish! other bible thumpers have ruined it for other so its easy to think this is c@#$ i don't believe you have to read the bible or change ur mind... i am just telling u i felt and seen evil...forget people and how dumb they are i just want to say that it is real and it wants you to think this is myth that science and evolution is the answer science and spiritual things can live side by side idk why nobody cant think they both cant be correct...together...people are being spiritually played and they don't even realize it.

  27. A. Fiend

    I am A.Fiend,my dwelling is in Hell.

    I can't anything good about this documentary as that would be against my nature and the boss wouldn't like it and, if you've read "The screwtape letters" by C.S. Lewis, you'll know about the house of corrections, down here, for us workers. Shudder!

    But I digress. My purpose in writing this is to inform a certain section of the humam population that Hell is no longer the desirable destiny you have imagined,especially from the "wish you were here" spiritual messages. It's not, and, if it was, the good times are over!

    I am talking about you masochists. An eternity on pain killers awaits you. Welcome to Hell! All hope abandon!

  28. Robert Allen

    A particularly interesting documentary, in that it treats the various incarnations that Satan (and, of course, his abode) have taken throughout the years.

    However, one thing it didn't mention is that while the devil is often portrayed as hot, in German literature and folklore, he is ice-cold. Goethe's Faust is one example of this.

  29. Seth Derrick

    @Waldo: Beers on me next time you're in Phoenix!

  30. PeriltotheSword

    I want a shirt of God and Satan french-kissing, with a group of humans in the background touching themselves

  31. ronald

    Satan is the total of all self-awared bad actions done since
    humans are made to be self-awared of what is really against GOD
    no matter what ridicoulous laws they have voted in the name of GOD according to their religious beliefs carried through time
    by their family.... but hopefully the time will come when the real rulers will have to realize they lost the war of godly
    values....women are made equal to man O.K "ALL WHO THINK OTHERWISE. To fight for values proved to be wrong IS part of the devil, especially when aware of it "AND YOU KNOW IT".
    Enough said......


    Religion is a man-made nightmare! The control of the people is the aim, this is obvious! My Lord protect me from your followers


    burning people at the stake, In the name of GOD. torture! Gets me sick to my stomach

  34. Matthew Gregory

    God rules, enough said.

  35. lukas reid

    From newyork. This Documentary Doesn't even come close to covering the origins of satan.... what about pagan religions, the sun worshippers... They call satan the morning star for a reason. He is the Sun. Every old Civilization has been worshipping him. he is horus, he is rah. Constantine and the vatican turned him and his spirits into evil beings when really they werent at all. The new age came in and kicked him out. We' shall see who stays in power this coming age.. 2012

  36. Perry

    They actually did talk a lot about pagan influences on Christian interpretations of Satan. You can't cover all the influences, a documentary like that would likely span days. So you focus on the major ones. This documentary does a great job of giving a nice overview of the mythology behind the figure of Satan without having a religiously biased perspective. This documentary does what a documentary should do.

  37. Perry

    They did mention Judaism and other religions and the influence on Satan. This was a documentary about the Christian interpretation of Satan, not every religion's depiction of a supreme evil being.

  38. Perry

    If you're seeing demonic creatures calling out your name, it's time to seek out therapy.

  39. Perry

    That was the point -- they were saying that Augustine was considered one of the great thinkers of the early church. Try paying attention instead of cherry-picking facts.

  40. Perry

    Very well said. I always find it amusing when so-called devout Christians claim to know so much about Satan and claim their information comes from the Bible when it really doesn't. I've done a bit of independent theological study -- I subscribe to no religious doctrine but I find mythology extremely fascinating -- and it's amazing how many devout believers know next to nothing about their own supposed beliefs.

  41. Gary V

    I agree it is nonsense, Just like the belief in the existence of God.

  42. Guest

    Everybody has a right to an opinion, that much is true.

  43. Guest

    Religion isn't dangerous...people are dangerous.I have no religion btw. Having said that, is it the gun which kills people or the person weilding the gun? People have been killing each other for centuries for all sorts of reasons.Religion is dangerous? We/people are dangerous. If religion was wiped off the face of the Earth tommorrow, people would continue killing each other without skipping a beat. I am not a fan of religion either but, lets get real here and stop pointing the finger and making excuses. People who kill in the name of religion will find a reason to kill with or without religion.People kill people, not religion.So tired of the "religion is dangerous" crap. People are dangerous! Tomás deTorquemada, who was the most notorious murderer during the Spanish Inquisition, killed in the name of religion. It wasn't was the religion? He tortured children with pleasure.It is ridiculous to say that had it not been for his beliefs/religion he would never have killed anyboby.People kill people and they will find a reason to do so with or without religion. That arguement that "religion is dangerous" is comforting to people.People kill because they like it and they want to and they are sick....has nothing to do with religion. That is the truth.

  44. Guest

    If people kill people it's because they are bad or sick...or pretending to be good.Religion itself kills no one.

    "Blame is just a lazy person's way of making sense of chaos."
    Doug Coupland

    power, money, possessions, love,science---- People kill for these things also. Should we get rid of them? Would you be willing to? I doubt it.

  45. Guest

    Religion is not dangerous....people are dangerous.People kill people with or without religion.Take away religion and killing will go on with or without it, not missing a beat. Thomas de Torquemada, who was known for the torture of woman and children during the Spanish inquisition,killed in the name of religion.Are we supposed to believe that he would not have done so had it not been for religion? He took pleasure in the killing and torture of children.People such as this will find a way to kill and torture with or without religion.So tired of "religion is dangerous" stupidity.I am no fan of religion but to blame religion and not the person is ridiculous.People who kill , it because it gives them pleasure.They enjoy it and they are sick.It has nothing to do with religion, "religion is dangerous"only gives people an excuse to avoid the truth. People kill and will continue to do so, with or without religion...quit making excuses.

  46. over the edge

    "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil -- that takes religion."

    Steven Weinberg

  47. Guest

    LOL! That's actually pretty funny...can I have one?

  48. Aaron Massey

    Prehaps you should enlighten us as to why you think that?

    If i was to say: Gullible people posting garbage about religion in the internet...That takes Atheism.

    Is as reasonable as your comment. Of which neither are.

  49. Achems_Razor

    @Aaron Massey:

    My take on @over the edge: post is that "a lot" of the religious can and will do evil, depending on whatever evil represents to them, knowing that they can presumably be forgiven and absolved by sitting in a confessional booth, etc:

    And others by garnering their gods favour by blowing things up and be rewarded with sexual bliss with their 27 Virgins thing. (ad infinitum)

    Most atheists, non-believers instead of using the deterministic adage of their gods, use their own innate ability formed by evolution that every sentient being in the cosmos should know without any intervention by any invisible entities.
    And act accordingly with empathy to their fellow human beings.

  50. over the edge

    @Aaron Massey
    do you seriously need me to show you examples of religion/church making good people do bad things? how about parents disowning their kids because they happen to be gay, rape victims being victimized again because they have an abortion, aids being spread needlessly because condoms aren't allowed by religion, witches burned in the name of god, or entire groups hated because they have a different imaginary friend

  51. 33mike77

    One should not seek a religion, but instead seek a relationship with God.
    Many times when people hear of God, Jehovah, Jesus, The Holy Bible, they imediately think of a religion, as if it was a religion who had created them. The Bible itself never tells anyone to "be" of certain religion, but does encourage God's creation to build a relationship with God. Many ignore that "religions are man-made" but our relationship with God is private, intimate, personal and not even the devil can disrupt it (if our relationship is strong). We must be spiritually wise and mature in the Lord. Seek him. Jesus is the way.

    "Seek and you shall find" Matthew 7:7

    God bless us all

  52. Alexander

    It's all a method of "control", by dividing us up they maintain power.This doc proves that.So until everybody decides to evolve into people who don't pic a side and not believe in all this nonsense.Only then will bad things not be done to each other.the only way you don't pick a side is to seek the real truth that we are all equal!

  53. Santiago Jarrín

    That soldier thinks he is fighting the devil? Then give him a crucifix not a gun!!! Crazy people. Haha it would be funny to see all those soldiers in middle east trying to shoot with crucifixes hehehe...

  54. Engel Jacobs

    I agree with you but what about Jews and Muslim's that don't believe in Jesus. Isn't the only way to God through Christ?

  55. StarrChild Evans

    Im am beyond grateful I saw this documentary. Its a MUST-SEE.

  56. kelamuni

    Not bad, but not the actual history I was hoping for. Nonetheless it presents an interesting hypothesis about the relation between the belief in the dualism of good and evil and the political and sociological demonization of others.

  57. jmsdaf

    1. That is a Marine NOT a Soldier, a Soldier is in the Army.

    2. How is that funny? He is batteling what he belives to be the evil of the day with the weapons of the day. Back in the old days of the inquesition and what not they belived they were batteling the evil of the day with the weapons of the day, torture, hanging, burings, stonings, etc.

    And 3. I guarantee he is wearing a crucifix around his neck of somewhere on him so he is 'shooting' a cruifix, or whatever ur ignorant ass means by that.

  58. Eman 'Emy' Ammar

    Muslims do believe in Jesus .. it is actually believed by muslims that Jesus will come to life again and be the one who rids the world of Anti-Christ I am saying this as a muslim myself

  59. 33mike77

    I think there is so much information left out of this "documentary". It is clear that satan is an evil spirit, but how can mankind fight it with physical weapons? Satan can only be fought and defeated through constant everday prayer. The bible hold a great amount of information that would make this video merely a part of the subject. The book of Job is only one of 66 books in the bible. "My people perish from lack of knowledge" Hosea 4:6
    "Seek and you shall find" Matthew 6:6

    God bless you all.

  60. knowledgeizpower

    Dude "video currently unavailable" umm @vlatko i'm not talking crazy to ya or anything but like this happened twice yesterday like okaayy should I smile and say shitte happens and find another Doc to watch whats up lol?

  61. Achems_Razor


    We do it on purpose just for you, we know what doc you are going to watch, hehehe

  62. knowledgeizpower

    forget ya'll then lol thats okay i'll just find Another Doc to watch :P I'll get you back tommorrow Achems Razor Man... Peace :D

  63. RileyRampant

    there is something destructive about personifying every aspect which one, or one's group, might find bad, or wrong, or evil.

    it gives all you reject a personality.
    it is a distortion of reality.
    it promotes a morbid preoccupation with all that is undesirable, hated.

    far more evil than good has been done in in the name of opposing this shadow.

    so, like the padre at the end, i agree its best to move on from the devil, leaving that concept to history.

    his persistance is a side-effect of religious fundamentalism, including catholicism. he's a very useful little ogre.

  64. modern_tragedy

    Great documentary, but while watching it I though of a quote from The Usual Suspects: "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

  65. Kyle Parker

    @ 33mike77
    how can the devil be fought using physical weapons???
    you obviously havent read the bible.

    it specifically states;

    "and if thou shalt come across satan, in his many forms, thou shalt use a bazooka unto him"

  66. Jeff Dodge

    "Is there a bar around here? Anyone know where the nearest bar is?"
    -W. Murderface (Dethklok)

  67. thekingbeyondthegate

    No. The devil and hell never appear in Judaism

  68. Peter Skov

    You really need to do some religious study before you slander other religions. Muslims believe in Jesus and Jew's killed Jesus... The only way to god is belief that he exists and not worshiping "Faulse Idols!"

  69. doar.un.alt.suflet

    that weird lady that bathed in blood was Elisabeth Bathory and she was Hungarian, not Romanian

  70. Ann M. Higuet

    Well seen !
    And what if we draw the logical line,,, (NIV) Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,so that they may rule ......"
    (censored: English only please)

  71. Ann M. Higuet

    :-) sorry didnt know ancient greek is a language to be censored - but no prob... Gnothi seauton means - Know thyself

  72. DrRichardHoffman

    Started off as an excellent concise and documented history of the origins of "the Devil", and I was very impressed that the ancient versions were covered, as was Satan's evolution. These are concepts I had learned in grad school and with my own research.

    It derails off the character of Satan himself with the Crusades and Intuition, and the rest of the documentary is about how Christians kill in the name of Satan. The link to Bush is extreme.

    Would have preferred a more-in depth look into Satan's older references and evolution, with textual citations and comparative religions. Overall, a good documentary, however.

  73. Alaskies

    He doesn't exist. So that quote is null and void, for no trick was ever pulled by anybody, unless you want to call what the various human authors of the Bible did, now that was quite the trick. Still has millions of people fooled to this day!

  74. Jeff B

    OK, the last guy in the video may have made the most sense...let's put the person of Satan to rest...governments have used his name in opposition to God to justify killing others whom they opposed...the Book of Revelation mentions in passing, towards the end, that Satan was thrown into the Lake of Fire after the destruction of Jerusalem...with that in mind...does he REALLY still exist? Or is our battle, as Paul suggested, against our own fleshly desires???Just a thought....

  75. Jessie Powers

    This was very much an atheist film who never read the bible or torah, I can think of a hundred ways to make this film even more exciting as well as accurate.

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