Film: The Devil and Max Devlin

The Devil And Max Devlin is a 1981 Disney film starring Bill Cosby as the Devil and Elliott Gould as Max Devlin. Max is a selfish man who dies after being hit by a bus, and finds himself in Hell. The Devil's assistant, Barney Satin (Cosby) offers to spare him if he can get three other people to take his place (by tricking them into signing contracts for their souls). Max agrees at first, but as he gets to know his victims, he comes to regret his decision.

This film contains examples of:

  • Even Evil Has Standards: Because Max wants the children to live out their natural lives, Barney's demand that he take their souls now pushes him to pull a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Faustian Bargain: Barney Satin offers to restore Max Devlin to life if he gave him the souls of three children within a month.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Max burns the kids' contracts, yelling to the Devil that he'll never take them! NEVER! Subverted a few scenes later when, as he says his final goodbyes to the youths he had gotten to know through the contracts, he passes a mirror by chance and finds out that Redemption Earns Life.
  • Louis Cypher: Barney Satin. Now what other word does "Satin" resemble?
  • Redemption Earns Life: As Max found out by chance when he passes by a mirror and sees his own reflection, realizing that he actually beat the Devil by choosing to preserve the kids' souls over his own and that his selfless sacrifice deemed him unworthy of hell. He doesn't forget to thank God for His wonderful mercy during a concert held by one of the youths at the end of the film.
    Max: Thank you very much.
    [credits roll]
  • Sadistic Choice: "Throw the contracts into the fire, and eternal damnation is YOURS!"
  • Video Nasty: Not one by a long shot, but it played a role in an attempt to discredit the Moral Guardians in Britain during the Video Nasty crisis.

Alternative Title(s):

The Devil And Max Devlin