• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting
File:Al-pacino-devil-devils-advocate 1180.jpg

One of Al Pacino's more low-key performances.


 Kevin Lomax: What are you?

John Milton: Oh, I have so many names...


The Devil's Advocate is a 1997 Thriller / Horror film starring Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino and Charlize Theron, and based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman.

It follows the career of a lawyer, Kevin Lomax, as he gets entangled with the demonic forces that are helping him on the road to success. He ultimately faces off against the origin of this positive influence and the horrors of his own origin.

Notable for Al Pacino CREATING AN ORGY INVOLVING ALL OF NEW YORK CITY! And that's an understatement!

Not to be confused with Devil's Advocate, which is a trope.

This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: The novel by Andrew Neiderman is a rather uninspired cliche-ridden potboiler, which most haven't even heard of. The film has Al Pacino.
  • Affably Evil: Well, that's how the Devil tends to operate anyway.
    • Faux Affably Evil: However, some of the demons working for him are not likable at all.
  • All Just a Dream: In the final scene, it is revealed that Kevin saw the entire movie in the moment before his career-defining case about a child molester. Even though he does the right thing and refuses to win the case, Milton is still lurking around and manages to tempt him yet again.
    • Another interpretation is that Milton reverted time back to the point before Kevin's career-defining case in order to keep trying alternate pathways until he can get to the point where Kevin submits. There's also the implication that Milton will do this as many times as necessary until he wins.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Played straight. Kevin's ferocious commitment to winning his court cases results in him defending some rather unsavory characters.
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: Kevin's the Anti-Anti-Christ, but his son with Christabella would be the actual The Antichrist.
  • Artistic License Geography: See Deep South, below.
  • Big Applesauce: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great..."
  • Big No: Possibly the Biggest No ever. It takes several cuts, several breaths, and causes the guy to burst into flames and then burn or desiccate anyone watching.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Offered, but declined.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the movie, after the reporter turns into Milton, he turns to the camera and says, "Vanity, definitely my favorite sin."
  • The Cameo - Sen. Alphonse D'Amato, Ambassador Charles Gagano, and Don King all appear as themselves, and seem to be on very good terms with John Milton. Makes you wonder if anyone told them...
  • Complete Monster: Well, Milton, being Satan. One of his cruelest acts is probably the brutal rape of Kevin's wife.
  • The Corrupter: "Free will. It's like butterfly wings: once touched, they never get off the ground. No, I only set the stage. You pull your own strings."
  • Cross-Melting Aura
  • Deep South: The movie opens in Gainesville, Florida. Or rather, a small rural town that looks nothing like the actual, modern, skyscraper-encrusted college-town that is the real Gainesville, Florida, but does look like a one-horse hick town in the middle of nowhere, which was probably the point.
    • Apparently the producers wanted Reeves' character to be from a small rural town and picked Gainesville, Florida off of a map at random, not realizing that "small rural town" does not describe Gainesville, and hasn't for about a hundred years. The Civil War-era "courthouse" where the trial was taking place is actually in a one-stoplight town some thirty-two miles east of Gainesville, for example; the courthouses in Gainesville proper are all modern, multi-story buildings.
  • Devil in Disguise: John Milton
  • Driven to Suicide: Both Kevin's wife and, later, Kevin himself. However, it's revealed to be just a dream, or possibly Satan turning back time to try another way. Or, it could be that God turned back time in order to give Kevin another chance to make the right decision.
  • Fan Disservice: Charlize Theron's nude scene also reveals that she's covered in scratches because the Devil spent the afternoon raping her.
    • Also the scene in the changing room, where the Devil's girls strip down to their underwear while casually making Mary-Anne as uncomfortable as possible and... AUGH! BAD FACE! BAD FACE!
    • Christabella's role in the ending is probably supposed to have this effect, all things considered, but frankly, it's hard to turn a naked, willing Connie Nielsen into a source of Squick.
  • Foot Focus: Kevin sucks Mary Ann's toes during a weird sequence.
  • Funny Background Event: As Kevin and Milton walk through the streets of New York talking, a delivery man keeps pace behind them for several seconds carrying a box labeled "Halo Illumination."
  • Fur and Loathing: Some ladies wear fur, but as they are part of the law firm (or married to those in it), they are likely evil, or under the influence of evil.
    • But the furs are real, so the film doubles with Pretty in Mink (loathing its mink, and wearing it too).
  • God Is Evil: Or so Milton claims in the climax.
  • Half Human Hybrids: Many of Milton's lawyers (being his bastard children by various women from around the world) are examples of this, and Kevin himself learns that he is one, too.
  • Hollywood Law: Kevin's courtroom antics wouldn't exactly pass the bar in reality. Some of it might be justified given the revelations at the end.
    • In the initial case with the child molester he presents some surprise evidence. This should have been presented during the pretrial discovery and would have resulted in sanctions against the defense and possibly a mistrial.
      • Perhaps not. The evidence was exculpatory, and so even if it was improperly handled or concealed during discovery it would still be allowed in (as defendants have a constitutional right to present all available exculpatory evidence). Also, defense could simply have claimed that the evidence was revealed late into the case. In fact, following this, the prosecutor did object, the judge did overrule (presumably because of the exculpatory evidence exception), and also admonished the defense to not do it again; precisely what one might expect.
    • Kevin is presented as having never lost a case. This phenomenon is seen commonly among new lawyers that haven't tried any cases, and never outside of that.
      • Justified in-story by his parentage. Apparently being the son of the Devil gives you some skill in the courtroom (cue devil/lawyer jokes here).
      • In Milton's rage-against-God speech near the end he lampshades how impossible it is for a lawyer to have never lost a case and points out how supernatural influences were a factor.
    • Kevin would not be disbarred for his actions at the end of the movie; in fact, he would be required to withdraw in that case as his client was using his services to further a criminal act.
      • It's not so much what he did as when he did it. At that point he has no demonstrable knowledge that his client is guilty (as he and only he, presumably, saw the future in which it was revealed), and the jury had already been empaneled and the prosecution had rested. He probably would get slapped around by a disciplinary committee for that, though getting disbarred is usually a little tougher than that.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Kevin's first case with Milton's firm involves defending a man who was caught slaughtering a goat in the practice of Santeria. The actual case (and Kevin's defense of religious freedom) are completely plausible and justified. However, the client's use of a curse against the prosecutor and other hints at supernatural powers... stretches the imagination.
  • Humanoid Abomination: It's Satan, what did you expect? Given the extent of his powers in the film, (not to mention the creepy, writhing statue in his penthouse), his depiction flirts with Eldritch Abomination as well.
  • I Have Many Names: Pretty much word for word. Though Pacino plays with this a bit. No need for the fancy titles, he just wants Kevin to call him "Dad."
  • Important Haircut: Important, but not at all good. Mary Ann gets a haircut after prompting from Milton, and this just destabilizes her even more.
  • Jerkass: Kevin places his career above everything else and ends up losing his wife and his personal integrity. It takes him quite some time to consult his conscience and do the right thing.
  • Large Ham: "GOD!! IS AN ABSENTEE LANDLORD!!" Al Pacino would only take the part if he got to do a ten minute rant in the film's climax. Which ended up pushing TWENTY. Upon hearing that, the producers must have looked at each other, shrugged, and said; "Do whatever the hell you want, Al!"
  • Les Yay: In the elevator.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father
  • Married to the Job: Before he signs on with Milton, Kevin is heavily invested in his career and his wife is just as enthusiastic about it. Afterwards, well...not so much.
  • Meaningful Name / Lou Cypher: John Milton refers to the author of Paradise Lost, the original Sympathy for the Devil poem.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Reeves starts off his performance affecting a passable Southern accent, appropriate for Lomax's Florida background. It vanishes rather quickly, though that may simply be the character deliberately hiding his accent to avoid getting mocked for it.
    • It comes back the more angry he gets by the end.
  • Obvious Second Choice: Evidently the filmmakers wanted to end the film with "Sympathy For The Devil" By The Rolling Stones. It would seen they had to settle for less appropriate "Paint It Black". It doesn't work.
  • Occult Law Firm: Run by Satan himself.
  • One-Winged Angel: Almost completely literal, as Milton transforms into a Fallen Angel at the climax. (His minions, too, occasionally enjoy flashing fanged grins out of their otherwise perfectly human faces.)
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Milton's climactic rant, and by extension, his entire existence.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus: Averted here, as this version of Satan prefers the show tunes of Frank Sinatra.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mary Ann starts out as much of a go-getter as her husband, but between being becalmed in their huge apartment, the shallowness of the other wives, and the evil surrounding them, she unravels completely.
  • Satan: Al Pacino, and he isn't subtle about it.
  • Slashed Throat: Kevin's wife does this to herself . Right in front of him. That scene is probably more disturbing than all of the previous face-morphing scenes combined.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Milton views his son this way at the climax, when the entire plot is foiled by Kevin's shooting himself. ("HAVEN'T I GIVEN ENOUUUUUGH?!")
  • Voice Changeling: John Milton.