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The Exorcist (1973)

R  |   |  Horror  |  26 December 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 269,725 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 1,036 user | 298 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

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



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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 <aharmon@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Devil Inside See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





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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?


In one scene, the Jesuit president of Georgetown University (Thomas Bermingham) mentions that Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) is at "Woodstock". Audiences may think the reference is to the famous music festival that took place upstate New York in 1969. In fact, the Woodstock in the film is actually Woodstock College, a Jesuit seminary in Woodstock, Maryland. Opened in 1869, the seminary closed one year after "The Exorcist" was released. The Woodstock Theological Center, a nonprofit Catholic theological research institute on the Georgetown campus, succeeded the college and remains operational today. See more »


In the birds-eye view of the scene where Damien is running around the track before meeting the detective, there is a fly on the camera lens. 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 »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Review of The Exorcist.
24 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For as long as I can recall, I've always possessed (no pun intended) an innate feeling that there exists outside the realm of our established dogma things that defy conventional logic. When I was in the sixth grade, I read the book, "The Exorcist," which scared me senseless. The idea that the Devil could infiltrate the delicate core of one's being called a soul absolutely terrified me at such a young age. After seeing the movie, I was speechless. Have been ever since. William Friedkin's transformation of the book to the movie was superb, in my opinion. (Not all adaptations are.) Dick Smith's special effects, in contrast to today's make-up advancements in the film industry, are still able to stand the test of time. The acting was splendid, from Lee J. Cobb & Jason Miller, to Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow's limited appearance in the piece. Friedkin's slice-of-life direction enhances the essence of the fear-factor in an oddly subtle fashion, as though the viewer were actually alongside the characters in the film. Lending to the creepiness of the film is the fact that there exists a minimal musical score (Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" does accompany two nuns strolling gingerly down a Georgetown street in autumn, their robes billowing slightly in the wind). The palpability of what happens to a young Linda Blair has astounded me for over three decades. Having been so taken with the notion that inhuman entities DO stalk the earth and have never existed in human form, I've written a couple of novels on the subject matter, myself. I liken the new version that had been released a few years ago to the last nail in the proverbial coffin of effectiveness, making this one of the best horror-genre films of all time. Simply put: I've never seen any film that remotely comes close to what this movie has done to me (in terms of frightening me senseless). Linda Blair's cute Regan MacNeil is utterly transformed into a beast which is flat-out disturbing to behold. The movie has moved me ever since I had seen it at age fourteen, and I suspect will always. Put simply, at age forty-three I still have a difficult time watching it on my own. Great job, Mr. Friedkin and crew!

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Is it really that good because... KrisTina_1994
A monster movie of sorts. No such thing as the devil. cliffcarson-502-470231
Director's Cut so unnecessary Writerchamp13
Why does 'help me' convince Karras? Sugarminx
The Exorcist on BBC... detataandrea
Laying out/mapping the MacNeil house (warning: novel contained...haha) pscates
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