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The Exorcist (1973)

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 ...
Karl
Gina Petrushka ...
Willi
Robert Symonds ...
Dr. Taney
Arthur Storch ...
Psychiatrist
Thomas Bermingham ...
Tom - President of University (as Reverend Thomas Bermingham S.J.)
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Storyline

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 <aharmon@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Something beyond comprehension is happening to a girl on this street, in this house . . . a man has been sent for as a last resort. That man is The Exorcist. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | | | |

Release Date:

26 December 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£151,714 (UK) (19 June 1998)

Gross:

$204,565,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the documentary included on the 25th Anniversary Edition, the actors reveal that in many shots it was not necessary to "act", as what was captured on film were genuine reactions. For example, Ellen Burstyn mentions that her scream and facial reaction after being slapped by Regan were due to being pulled too hard by a harness. Linda Blair's screaming was a reaction to being bounced around on her bed. William O'Malley recalled that William Friedkin slapped him prior to shooting and this caused his hand to tremble while blessing Father Karras. See more »

Goofs

When Father Karras first goes to visit Regan, one of the bedside tables next to her bed is gone, along with the rest of the extraneous furniture from the room; later, this bedside table is back in place, though with a different lamp than was initially on it. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Spoofed in Dinosaurs: The Terrible Twos (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Ramblin' Man
(uncredited)
Written by Dickey Betts
Performed by The Allman Brothers Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
They don't make em like they used to...
17 May 2005 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

"The scariest movie of all time". Some movie goers agree and some disagree. I belong to the former group, though I would like to rephrase it to "One of the scariest movies of all time". For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past twenty two years, the story is of a pre-pubescent girl, Regan (Linda Blair), possessed by a demon whom purports to be the Devil himself ("Now kindly undo these straps!").

In this day and age of schlock fest horror films being relentlessly released (or spewed out for want of a better term) by the big wig studios on a quest to cash in on the latest teenage trend, this premise for a horror story may not seem so scary to most. However, it's the road we take to arrive at this supposition that makes this film stand out from the rest.

The seeds of dread and fear are planted early with screen legend Max Von Sydow's Father Merrin receiving disturbing and familiar Omens of what is to come during an archaeological dig in Northern Iraq.

We're then taken to the setting where the real horror will begin in the Georgetown home of Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), a successful divorcée film actress living with her daughter Regan. We're initially presented with a Regan who loves horses, has a close and loving relationship with her mother, is uncomfortable with the strained relationship between her parents and has the innocent demeanour and narrow vocabulary of every normal young girl.

The carefully crafted and ever so gradual change in Regan's personality, the strange drawings and figurines she creates, the emergence of Captain Howdy (Regan's imaginary friend) and strange outbursts ("You're gonna die up there") and so called physical convulsions force Chris to turn to doctors and eventually psychiatrists to try and get to the bottom of Regan's ever worsening behaviour. Her vocabulary becomes quite extensive with spine chilling, sudden maturity and her outbursts more terrifyingly violent. After exhausting all the "somatic" possibilities for Regan's troubles Chris desperately seeks help from world weary Jesuit Psychiatrist Priest Father Karras (Jason Miller) requesting an exorcism.

By the time Karras meets Regan, any semblance of the innocent young girl has completely vanished. Karras is grappling with his faith and subsequently doubts she is truly 'possessed'. Finally convinced that an exorcism is the way to go, he seeks permission from the Catholic Church, who grant him with the condition that he perform it with the help of the experienced Father Merrin.

Merrin arrives like a knight in shining armour for the ultimate showdown! A great screenplay by William Peter Blatty (based on his book), intelligent directing from William Friedken and outstanding performances from all the cast, particularly Ellen Burstyn as the traumatised mother make for a classic piece of horror that will stand the test of time. 10/10


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