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Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

R  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  20 August 2004 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.1/10 from 27,624 users   Metascore: 30/100
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Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.



(movie The Exorcist), (story) (as William Wisher) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Father Gionetti
Eddie Osei ...
Israel Oyelumade ...
Jomo (as Israel Aduramo)
Patrick O'Kane ...
James Bellamy ...


Archeologist Lankester Merrin is asked to go to East Africa to excavate a church that has been found completely buried in sand. Merrin is also an ordained Roman Catholic priest who, still haunted by what he was forced to do during World War II in his native Holland, eschews any religion or belief. He's fascinated by what he finds and that it dates hundred of years before Christianity was introduced to the area. Accompanied by a young priest, Father Francis, to keep an eye on the religious elements of what they find, Merrin makes his way to the camp. There he meets a young doctor, Sarah and soon realizes there is an air of gloom that envelops the entire site. Workmen go mad and a young boy is mauled by a pack of hyenas while completely ignoring his younger brother Joseph. Inside the church itself they find signs of desecration. Merrin is forced to re-examine his lack of faith and come face to face with the devil. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A new chapter of evil See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and gore, disturbing images and rituals, and for language including some sexual dialogue | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 August 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Exorcist IV: The Beginning  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,054,001 (USA) (20 August 2004)


$2,689,909 (Brazil) (10 December 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Unrated Version)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.00 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The screenplay had a long and painful gestation process. William Peter Blatty refused to get involved, resulting in over a decade being spent trying to get a screenplay together, with the producers eventually settling on a draft by Caleb Carr, which incorporated elements from an earlier screenplay by William Wisher Jr.. See more »


Father Gionetti gives Father Merrin a copy of the Rituale Romanum (Roman Ritual). (The administration of exorcism is in Title X of the Rituale Romanum.) The title of the book embossed on its leather cover is "Roman Ritual", in English. Later in the film, Father Merrin asks Joseph to help him by reading passages of the book, and we are shown a couple of printed pages, the text of which is also in English. The Rituale Romanum would have been printed in Latin in 1949, when the film is set, because vulgar translations of liturgical texts were not authorized until the promulgation of the Sacrosanctum Concilium (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy) by Pope Paul VI on 4 December 1963, as part of the Second Vatican Council. See more »


Sarah: Sometimes I think the best view of God is from Hell.
See more »


References The Evil Dead (1981) See more »


We'll Meet Again
By Hugh Charles and Ross Parker
Performed by Peggy Lee and Benny Goodman
Courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A very scary movie for 2004
7 August 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I have read many of the comments concerning this movie and find that I tend to feel that this movie should not be judged in relation to the first. This movie stands out on its own by reviewing Father Merrin's life long before his fateful encounter with Regan years later. My son Nathan and daughter Ryann both found this too scary for them and felt it was far more scarier than the first. I saw it to be more historical and would judge it on that content. Yes, people are right in their comments about all the gore and vileness, but I saw that in the first movie in 1973 when it came out. I'm going to venture to say that people are turned off by this movie simply because it in no way resembles the original. This is the part where a director steps back and quits trying to leech off the first success. Give him some credit about trying to diversify this movie for the audience. Don't go in with any type of preconceived notion about the original or you will be disappointed like the rest in these comments. It is a good movie and well worth seeing. Mark Lockwood, Lubbock Tx...

19 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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