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The Exorcist (1973)

R  |   |  Horror  |  26 December 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 266,670 users   Metascore: 82/100
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When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.



(written for the screen by), (novel)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Father Dyer (as Reverend William O'Malley S.J.)
Barton Heyman ...
Dr. Barringer - Clinic Director (as Pete Masterson)
Rudolf Schündler ...
Gina Petrushka ...
Robert Symonds ...
Dr. Taney
Arthur Storch ...
Thomas Bermingham ...
Tom - President of University (as Reverend Thomas Bermingham S.J.)


A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, a young priest at nearby Georgetown University begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother's terminal sickness. And, book-ending the story, a frail, elderly priest recognizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy. Written by Andrew Harmon <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Now... Open your eyes to... (1976 re-release) See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong language and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | | | |

Release Date:

26 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Exorcist: The Version You Haven't Seen Yet  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£151,714 (UK) (19 June 1998)


ESP 1,343,229,032 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

(1979 re-release)| (director's cut)| (director's cut)| (original release)| (director's cut)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture Academy Award. The four films that would follow are Jaws (1975), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), The Sixth Sense (1999), and Black Swan (2010). See more »


In the establishing shot of Georgetown, a building's signs read "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year." Yet not much later in the film, Chris walks past some trick-or-treating kids. See more »


[first lines]
Boy: [in Arabic] They've found something... small pieces.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits after the title. Although it is commonplace now, it was unheard of in 1973. See more »


Referenced in The Visions of Stanley Kubrick (2007) See more »


Down on 33rd and 3rd
Written by Ben Ryan
Performed by Party Goers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Still a powerful film, more than thirty years on...
28 August 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

More than thirty years on, The Exorcist remains a very powerful film and was a cinematographic milestone in 1973. Repeated duplication of the genre has, no doubt, 'desensitized' a new generation of movie-watchers, though it remains an unnerving masterpiece. It is not difficult to understand why the film generated such a seismic global impact all those years ago, since it imposed an unprecedented sensory attack on the viewer. Regan's vile physical appearance, combined with her vile language and blasphemous diatribe sent a shock wave around the world. Moreover, many people seemed to believe the claims that the film was based on a true story and could therefore actually happen to them. Electricity consumption must have soared for several months in 1973 as people who had seen the film slept with their lights on! It is still not a film I would feel comfortable watching before going to bed. On another level, I found parts of it profoundly moving and actually cried at the end when Regan was finally released from her possessor and wept in the arms of her mother and Father Damien, having lunged himself through a window and down a precipitous flight of steps, managed to find just enough life in himself to indicate that he had retained his faith and repented of his sins by motioning his fingers in the sign of penitence when comforted by a distraught colleague. Possibly the only thing that lets the film down if one really sits and thinks about it is the underpinning concept that an ancient demon which had existed since the dawn of time should wish to possess the body of a twelve year old child and emit a string of juvenile profanities. But then the film was designed to shock all along!

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