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A look at 'Machine Gun Preacher' and other tough religious men

Gerard Butler stars as Sam Childers in 'Machine

Gerard Butler stars as Sam Childers in 'Machine Gun Preacher.' Photo Credit: Gerard Butler stars as “Sam Childers” in Machine Gun Preacher. (Ilze Kitshoff)

In “Machine Gun Preacher,” Gerard Butler portrays real-life former drug-dealing biker Sam Childers, who underwent a religious awakening in 1992. He subsequently has devoted his life to saving abducted children in Sudan and Uganda, often through armed rescue missions.

With the film opening Friday, we look at our favorite butt-kicking religious movie characters of the past.

Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow)
“The Exorcist”
We wouldn’t want to be stuck in a room with slimy, head-spinning, possessed Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair) so we give Father Merrin lots of credit for sticking it out.

Rev. Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum)
“The Night of the Hunter”
Rev. Powell is a relentless, crazed killer with “love” and “hate” tattooed on his knuckles. As embodied by Mitchum, he’s one of cinema’s great villains.

Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson)
“Gangs of New York”
Martin Scorsese’s 19th-century NYC epic kicks off with Priest Vallon and his Irish followers fighting an epic, bloody battle against their Nativist foes in the middle of lower Manhattan’s Five Points.

Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie)
“Dead Alive”
We’re partial to any movie character who gleefully exclaims “I kick a-- for the Lord” while he’s beating the heck out of zombie attackers in Peter Jackson’s terrifically gory B-movie.

Preacher (Clint Eastwood)
“Pale Rider”
In his iconic tough-hombre mode, Clint Eastwood plays an unnamed preacher who defends a small western village against an evil mining company.

Jacob Fuller (Harvey Keitel)
“From Dusk Till Dawn”
A message to vampires: Don’t go after a pastor and his family. He’ll mow you down with a shotgun.

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