Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles & Pete Postlethwaite
One of the lead roles
Robert Thorn is a senior diplomat in the United States federal government, stationed in Italy. His wife, Katherine, gives birth to their first child, a baby boy who turns out to be a stillbirth. Katherine does not know that her child has died, and Robert is acutely aware that this news would devastate her.
However, the hospital's Catholic priest, Father Spiletto, presents Robert with a way to spare his wife the anguish: another boy was born that night whose mother died during childbirth. Robert is convinced to take the baby as his own and never tell Katherine. They name the boy Damien.
Robert's career ascends over the course of the next five years. He is initially named Deputy Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and when the ambassador dies at 6:06:06 in a bizarre accident where an oil truck is spilled into his limousine and then is ignited when it reaches a cigarette, Robert thus becomes ambassador and the family settles into a large estate just outside London. But disturbing events, all seeming to revolve around Damien, later occur. The most prominent of these is the hanging suicide of Damien's nanny at his birthday party. Soon afterwards, Robert is in his office when his assistant informs him a priest named Father Brennan wishes to speak with him. The priest says a rather eerie warning dealing with his son's birth, at which point Robert has security escort him out. Soon thereafter, a new nanny, Mrs. Baylock, is hired and tells Damien that she's been sent to protect him. Tension between Mrs. Baylock and the Thorns rises when the nanny starts to make decisions against their wishes, including trying to keep Damien from going to church and adopting a large dog without their consent. A trip to the city zoo ends with primates going wild at the sight of the child. Damien himself goes crazy, screaming and screeching during a drive to church. Meanwhile, a series of photographs taken by photographer Keith Jennings
foreshadow a number of shocking deaths.
Father Brennan again speaks to Robert, and gives a prophecy saying Damien will kill anyone in his way. Father Brennan is soon killed by a large rod impaling him into the ground with shards of glass embedded into his face. Katherine discovers she is pregnant but wants to have an abortion because she is afraid to have another child. Shortly after this, Damien is riding his scooter around the second floor of their enormous mansion. He knocks Katherine off the stool she is standing on to water a plant, and she falls off it and over the ledge. She is still barely holding on and begs Damien to help her. He does not and she falls two stories to the rock hard floor, breaking her collar bone and suffering from internal bleeding. Robert rushes to the hospital and is informed that she has lost the baby. Katherine awakens and tearfully begs her husband, "Don't let him kill me." Robert finally becomes suspicious that something is amiss with his son. Fueled by the warnings given to him by Father Brennan and further information from Keith Jennings
, Robert and Jennings
go in search of Damien's real mother. After meeting a nun in Rome, he discovers that the hospital has burned down. Robert and Jennings
go to a monastery in Subiaco and meet Father Spinetto, who tells them where to find Damien's mother. He finds the grave of Maria Avedici Santoya, Damien's real mother, in the old cemetery of Cerveteri, an Etruscan town 50 km north of Rome. When they both open the tomb, they discover a carcass of a jackal-like canine. In the neighboring tomb, Robert discovers a corpse of a human infant with a cracked skull. He realizes his real son was not stillborn but was, in fact, murdered that night. Then, he and Jennings
are attacked by Dobermans. After helping each other to survive, they are able to escape from the dogs.
Mrs. Baylock visits Katherine in the hospital under the pretense of delivering flowers. The nanny injects Katherine's IV line with an air bubble, and while struggling, Katherine dies of an embolism. Robert is convinced that Damien is the root of these incidents, and decides to follow Brennan's advice and go to Megiddo and meet Bugenhagen. Bugenhagen tells him what Robert has feared all along: Damien is the long-prophesied Antichrist, and therefore must die. Robert Thorn refuses to kill his son at first, but sees a change of mind after Jennings
is decapitated by a falling sign after saying that if Robert doesn't kill his son then he will.
Robert flies back to his home, finds Damien and cuts off a lock of Damien's hair, and sees a 666 birthmark, and is about to kill Damien by means of stabbing him with the seven Daggers of Megiddo, in the shape of a cross—the only weapons in the world able to harm the Antichrist. Suddenly, he is attacked by Mrs. Baylock. After a fight, he goes to a church to kill him. Unfortunately, just as he is about to strike the blow, Robert is killed by an officer of the Diplomatic Protection Group, attached to and trained by a Specialist Firearms Command team at the instant at which he is reciting the Lord's Prayer with his son struggling beneath him. Damien survives. Damien watches his father's funeral while holding the hand of the President of the United States, who is Robert's Godfather. The last shot of the film shows Damien turning around and smiling at the viewer while making eye contact, in the incredibly evil way which made the initial version of this film famous.