10 Best TV Shows & Movies Featuring The Grim Reaper, According to IMDb

Netflix’s adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, which was released on August 5, features Death as one of the main characters. Played by Kirby Howell Baptiste, The Sandman‘s version of Death is a kindhearted young Goth woman who is compassionate to those who have recently passed.

yet The SandmanDeath is just one interpretation of the Grim Reaper in fiction and onscreen. From a version by another fantasy literary great to a sarcastic cartoon version, these versions of Death are dark yet delightful in their own way.


10 Hogfather (2006) – 7.4

Streaming on Amazon Prime

This TV movie is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel of the same name. On Hogswatch (the Discworld’s version of Christmas), the Hogfather goes missing, which leads Death (Ian Richardson) to fill in. Meanwhile, his granddaughter Susan (Michelle Dockery) investigates what happened.

Related: The 10 Most Unique Christmas Movie Plots

Death is a highly sympathetic, warm, and grandfatherly figure despite his deep booming voice and towering stature. Also unique to this version is the family dynamic between Death and his granddaughter Susan. They love each other, but Susan wants to be normal and works as a nanny, despite inheriting many of her grandfather’s powers. Elements of the plot are very reminiscent of The Nightmare Before Christmas, with Death being a well-meaning powerful skeleton who dresses up as the Hogfather (Santa Claus equivalent).

9 The Meaning of Life (1983) – 7.5

Streaming on Amazon Prime

In the final feature film featuring the six members of Monty Python, the comedy team performs a series of sketches about different stages of life. The Grim Reaper (John Cleese) shows up in the “Death” segment of the film to take a food-poisoned dinner party to heaven.

While the Grim Reaper’s introduction is legitimately eerie with him appearing like smoke and materializing on top of a country hillside, events quickly turn to comedy as the entire dinner party increasingly irritates him and won’t let him get a word in. It’s hilarious and satisfying when he finally tells them to shut up after what they put him through.

8 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (2001-2007) – 7.7

Streaming on HBO Max

In this animated series from Cartoon Network, the Grim Reaper is forced to be the best friend of two children, the cheerful yet dim-witted Billy and the sullen yet intelligent Mandy, after he loses a bet.

Related: The 10 Best Cartoon Network Shows, According To Ranker

The main trio has a very unusual yet hilarious dynamic. The dry-witted Grim Reaper (better known as Grim) is an unfortunate comedic figure who is often put in situations that make him miserable, while the two children he is bound to are far more terrifying and annoy him beyond recognition. This version of Death is not only hilarious but also oddly sympathetic.

7 Reaper (2007-2009) – 7.8

Streaming on ABC.com

In this short-lived CW modern fantasy comedy series, Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) is a college dropout who finds out on his 21st birthday that his parents promised his soul to the Devil (Ray Wise) and now must serve him as his Reaper.

This series has a unique take on what Grim Reapers are. In this case, they are bounty hunters who catch souls that have escaped from Hell and send them back using telekinesis and special vessels to trap them that look like everyday objects. Also of interest is that it’s revealed Sam is the son of the Devil, which creates an interesting dynamic between Sam the Reaper and the Devil.

6 Black (2017) – 7.9

Streaming on Netflix

black is a Korean fantasy crime drama about Han Moo-Gang (Song Seung-Heon), a detective who dies after trying to discover what happened in a case from twenty years ago and comes back to life after being possessed by Black, a messenger of Hell . To complicate matters he falls in love with a human woman who can see death before it happens, Kang Ha-ram.

Related: The 10 Best Korean Movies Of All Time, According To Ranker

Despite being a crime drama, black has similarities with the film Meet Joe Black. Both deal with humans who die and are possessed by the Grim Reaper and fall in love with a human woman. A unique element of this series is that Black and Kang Ha-ram work together to save the lives of others. It’s also compelling to see the contrast of a Grim Reaper who solves murders, given his role to help them move onto the afterlife.

5 The Phantom Carriage (1921) – 8.0

Available on YouTube

In this Swedish silent film based on a folk tale, David Holm (Victor Sjöström), the last man to die on New Years’ Eve, is fated to be the new driver of the Phantom Carriage and collect all the souls of the dead. The current driver Georges (Tore Svennberg) shows him all the things he did wrong in life.

An interesting element of this film is how the Grim Reaper gets replaced every year on New Year’s Eve, making the role cyclical. Although The Phantom Carriage takes place on New Years’ Eve rather than on Christmas, the film is very reminiscent of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life with Georges the Grim Reaper showing David the error of his ways and motivating him to redeem himself.

4 Good Omens (2019-) – 8.0

Streaming on Amazon Prime

Good Omens is a series based on the novel by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Armageddon goes wrong because of the angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen), the demon Crowley (David Tennant), Adam the antichrist (Sam Taylor Buck), and the predictions of Agnes Nutter (Josie Lawrence), a witch. Death (Brian Cox) is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Death has elements of both Neil Gaiman’s Death from The Sandman and Terry Pratchett’s Death from Discworld. like Discworld‘s death, good omens’ Death speaks in all capital letters in the book. Also like both Discworld and The Sandman‘s Death, this Death is not evil and is even friendly towards humans. In contrast to the other members of the Four Horseman, he doesn’t enjoy Armageddon and just sees it as his job.

3 The Seventh Seal (1957) – 8.1

Streaming on HBO Max

The classic Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman tells the story of Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) a knight coming back to Sweden after the Crusades seeking the answers to the meaning of life and death while playing chess with Death (Bengt Ekerot).

Although Death does genuinely enjoy his philosophical conversations with Antonius Death is still evil and offers no comforting answers to his questions. This Death is also very sarcastic and likes to let Antonius think he is winning. One memorable element is how the film ends with Death dancing with all of those who died, symbolizing how everyone dances with death. This film’s description of Death is highly influential and is often referenced and parodied, like in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey and the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie The Last Action Hero.

2 Dead Like Me (2003-2004) – 8.1

Streaming on Amazon Prime

In this black comedy series, 18-year-old college dropout Georgie ‘George’ Lass (Ellen Muth) dies and becomes a Grim Reaper and must collect the souls of those who died in accidents and homicides.

The role Grim Reapers play is very mundane and is treated like a job. George has co-workers who all died in various different time periods from the 1920s to the 1980s. An unusual aspect of George’s job as a Reaper is that if she doesn’t remove someone’s soul before they die that person’s spirit will retain any injuries they get during death.

1 Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016-2017) – 8.6

Streaming on Viki

This Korean fantasy comedy-drama is about Kim Shin (Gong Yoo) a protector of souls who is roommates with Kim Woo-bin the Grim Reaper (Lee Dong-Wook). Kim Shin meets Ji Eun-Tak (Kim Go-Eun) a teenage girl who insists she is his bride.

Kim Woo-bin the Grim Reaper has a compelling tragic romance with Sunny (Yoo In-na) the owner of a chicken restaurant. Kim Woo-bin is the reincarnation of King Wang Yeo, who executed Kim Shin, and must be a Grim Reaper to repent for the many deaths he committed. Sunny is actually the reincarnation of his lost love Kim Sun and sadly can’t be together in their current life because of him being a Reaper and her being a human.

Next: Where Else You’ve Seen The Cast of The Sandman

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