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The Exorcist (1973)

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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.

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(written for the screen by), (novel)
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679 ( 20)
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.)
...
...
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:

The Scariest Movie Of All Time Has Returned. In The Version You've Never Seen Before. 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

One of the most famous scenes in the movie and the shot used for the posters and the cover of the DVD/VHS releases was inspired by the 1954 painting "Empire of Light" ("L'Empire des lumières") by René Magritte. It is the scene where Fr. Merrin steps out of a cab and stands in front of the MacNeil residence bathed in an eerie glow. See more »

Goofs

William Peter Blatty closely modeled the exorcism scene on the actual rite of exorcism in the Church's "Rituale Romanum". Father Merrin can be seen opening a copy of the Rituale in the scene in question. However, the priests depart from the Rituale in two important details. First, there should have been four people (apart from Regan) in the room during the exorcism: the exorcist himself; an assistant priest to take over in case the exorcist died midway through; a member of the victim's family of the same sex as the victim, to help restrain her; and a doctor, to (among other things) administer any medication that was needed. Due to the "2 Priest rule", Fr Merrin should have delayed the second round of the exorcism and phoned the bishop to get a replacement for Fr Karras, instead of trying to tackle it on his own. 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

Referenced in Home and Away: Episode #1.1627 (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Beginnings (from The Wind Harp)
Written by Harry Bee (uncredited)
Courtesy of United Artists Records
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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Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Exorcist v. the modern wave of exorcism films ChillerPop
First freaky moment in the film...? ajnb07
funny? Tiia84
Who does the title 'the Exorcist' actually refer to? Merrin or Karras? saint_sophie
so your judgment is according to 1973 or 2016 standards? may_09876
This film terrifies me! jrowan-810-851635
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