Church Movie Supporting Characters, Ranked

When our co-blogger John F. suggested that our last ranking had jumped the shark, he not only lost our respect and friendship, but he also unwittingly inspired our hearts and minds by directing Steve and me toward the many great acting performances in Mormon cinema. This week, we give much-overdue praise to some of the lesser-recognized latter-day thespians.

As always, these rankings are authoritative.

  1. Cow that got healed
  2. Pre-Mortal Pam
  3. Mailbox (empty)
  4. The anal-retentive older brother (“I’ve Been The Good Guy!”) from Prodigal Son
  5. The dad from CHiPS in On the Way Home
  6. Pet monkey from Testaments
  7. Vincenzo DiFrancesca’s mailman
  8. Mortal Pam
  9. Crow (real)
  10. Crow (robot) (tie)

Honorable Mentions:

  • The plaid shirt in Our Heavenly Father’s Plan
  • Mister Harris
  • Various planetoids


  1. And just to make it absolutely clear:

    This was not a contrived tie at all; Steve and I both arrived at the crow for #1 simultaneously–he for “real” and I for “robot” (since it’s a robot, duh. only an idiot would disagree…).

  2. You forgot the whinnying horse from Legacy

  3. Wow, I can see my education has been neglected.

  4. .

    I seriously have no idea what crow you are talking about.

  5. I could tell you, Th., but it’s classified.

  6. Tree that almost falls on Hyrum and Samuel in the original First Vision movie.

  7. I now have the crow stuck in my head. Thanks.

  8. Surely you didn’t leave off brother James Livingstone (Mountain of the Lord)? His subtle yet poignant portrayal was mormon oscar-worthy.

  9. Where’s George the cat, from Mr. Krueger’s Christmas fame?!

  10. We’ve discussed whether or not that crow was a robot. My son said yes, but I was not sure until I realized after he turned his head he didn’t move at all. The ones around here are much more active.

  11. I nominate the guy who dubs Brigham Young’s voice in Mountain of the Lord.

    Also, the snow in Cipher in the Snow.

  12. Also, they guy in number 7 isn’t a supporting character. He’s the protagonist, the title of the film notwithstanding. Like Salieri in Amadeus.

  13. Little known fact: the live crow was actually portrayed by Crow T. Robot.

  14. Also, agree w/ Orwell re the snow. The cipher never had a chance.

  15. What about the cow getting shot by the mad bishop in Napolean Dynamite?

  16. Other casting options for the crow:

  17. There are so many good candidates in this clip alone.

    For example: Christmas Tree Korihor at 4:03? How about Nodding Guy at 2:04 who is dutifully wearing the headgear his daughter made for him in Sunbeam class? Or perhaps Scowling Hippie Guard Behind Alma at 4:32? All worthy candidates. But personally, the award goes to my brother, playing Overwrought and Disgusted Chief Judge Nephiha at 9:20, who is literally channeling the look my mother used to give me when walking in my room. That, my friends, is pure Mormon acting chops.

  18. Apparently, I haven’t kept up. Everyone knows Mister Harris. And I have seen the mailbox. Cow that was healed? It seems like there was something like that in Legacy, but I’ve only seen it once. Maybe twice. Or did one of J. Lingo’s cows require divine intervention? I know the tree that almost fell on Hyrum and Samuel, but the “original” First Vision movie? There’s been a remake? No idea about any of the others. What was the crow in? Tom Trails?

    What about the clown at Funland? Bread and milk? The Mousetrap?

  19. “The anal-retentive older brother (“I’ve Been The Good Guy!”) from Prodigal Son”

    His whining in that scene is pretty funny in the Italian translation.

  20. The Other Clark says:

    Scott B: If you were truly inspired, you’d know the best supporting actor of all time goes to Mahana’s dad in the original Johnny Lingo.

  21. What about the baby sheep/goat in Luke II? Let earth re-ceeeive (baa) Her King.

  22. The “I believe!” lady in the original First Vision video (still the only one I will countenance).

  23. What about Thad?

  24. I second the “I believe!” lady.

    Lucifer’s tree branch / walking stick

  25. Good call, Villate.

  26. Have to ask….are we counting temple “movies” here?

    If so, I’m going with John the Apostle’s CGI-replaced head. No contest, really.

  27. Okay, I will agree with the “I believe” lady. Even ahead of Lorenzo’s bread and milk.

  28. Slow clap

  29. Villate’s has got my vote. That lady is awesome.

    Also, I vote for I’ll Build You a Rainbow Mom. She gets no love. And what about oblivious people on the train that’s barreling toward that kid on the tracks?

  30. What about the Scotsman at the quarry on The Mountain of the Lord? That guy was definitely… not Scottish.

  31. The best Mormon acting performance wasn’t in a movie though.

    “I was trying to!”

    Breaks my heart every time.

  32. Screw you, Tod. James Livingstone rocks.

  33. What’s that one, Kyle?

  34. Shouldn’t we divide the category into comedy / musical and drama like the golden globes or something?

    Wait, I guess they’re all comedy / musical.

  35. I agree that the best part of ‘Meet the Mormons’ was Crow T Robot’s cameo.

  36. Little boy in the commercial, Steve. 4:13 right here, just try not to feel feelings.

  37. Gort Maringa says:

    I really think we are neglecting all the wonderful animated scriptures supporting characters. (While perhaps not church produced, these VHS are the bedrock for many a millennial member.)

    My vote goes to the Honey Merchant in the Brother of Jared: “Booz Bobanee”

  38. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    I second the nomination of the snow, from “Cipher”. Little know fact: the same snow was also featured in Uncle Ben, but was passed over for a similar role in Legacy. Lots of rumors about why that happened, but nothing confirmed.

  39. Gosh this list would be so improved with links!

  40. Parley P. Pratt’s wife and the kid’s mom in Mr. Kreuger also deserve consideration. Just like the Academy did with Best Picture, do the right thing here and expand the field, Scott. This category is too competitive AND important.

    Of course, despite many worthy choices, the obvious choice is Pedro.

  41. There is no robot crow.

  42. J. Stapley says:

    Et tu, WVS?

  43. The decider says:

    “I Believe” lady wins hands down. Sorry folks, it’s not even close.

    Mr Livingston is a solid second.

  44. The Decider, Hawkgrrrl, Left Field, Ray, Villate, and a belated agreement from Steve Evans make it clear: Scott B.’s rankings are flawed and apostate, having neglected, no doubt for nefarious reasons, the greatest Church Movie Supporting Character moment of them all:

  45. Add my vote for the “I Believe!” lady. I was so excited when they showed that at my baptism in the 1970’s while I was getting dressed.

  46. Dang, Kyle! Those commercials (at least in the first 6 – 7 minutes or so) are pure gold! Sincerely — of course they’re dated but really good messages there.

    Agree with you on that kid (at 4:22, not 4:13) who says “I was trying to!” Also, how’d they score the Pooh Bear voice in the spot starting at 5:47?

    As to many of the media productions listed in the rankings and the comments, I think the Church has been learning the “internet” lesson the hard way since decades before the internet existed: once these things are out there, they will never go away, no matter how much one might want them to. (With the exception of that awesome collection of commercials you linked — those should have been sent out with the Golden Album on V’ger.)

  47. I’m for the hot neighbor girl in “God’s Army.”

  48. fuddyduddy says:

    Is nobody going to explain the crow thing?

  49. “I Believe!” lady, FTW.

    Also, “I was trying to!” boy crushes me.

  50. Capozaino says:

    The empty bottle in the sand at the end of “The Pump”

  51. it's a series of tubes says:

    “I believe” that everyone should watch the following:

    Start right efore the 4:00 mark. Enjoy :)

  52. Left Field says:

    Russell, to me, there’s nothing there. Apparently, I don’t believe.

  53. Sorry, Left Field, I had some trouble with the embedding. Just click this link and go to 3:45 for the whole scene:

  54. You may need a separate animals category. If temple films are included there are some winners there. Random cougar rolling around while Adam decides to keep his distance. Polly wanna cracker wraawwwks as Adam sets it back on a tree branch.

  55. The reason that all of you “I Believe!” people are wrong is that we’re only talking about acting. Those videos are genuine historical documents of conversions. Sorry you were fooled by the truth.

  56. @Nlocnil
    Don’t leave out the lone and dreary wolf gnawing away.

  57. I vote for the angry operatic vibrato of Michael Ballam’s indignation.

  58. I vote for Jesus. And I’m shocked you’re top 10 includes an empty mailbox, a robot crow, and a cow (who wasn’t really healed — it’s only a film) ahead of Jesus. He’s the ultimate supporting character, doing everything for the glory of His Father. Plus, there’s the heavy-set lady at the camp-revival in the original 1st vision movie who shouts, “I believe!” No list is credible that does not include Jesus and the heavy-set “I believe” lady. Period.

  59. Do you remember the cheesy movie ‘The Phone Call’ starring the older brother in ‘Back to the Future’ who was in love with a girl who had an abusive boyfriend? Classic! He would practice making a phone call and would sweat and stammer and was the ultimate geek. My favorite line is when he was talking about playing the bassoon. He said, “It’s like a balloon, except with esses.”

  60. Damn you for posting those Homefront commercials Kyle!!!

    But I second your nomination of that kid. He’s Oscar worthy.

  61. Also, is that Tom Bosley’s voice?

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