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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.

Director:

William Friedkin

Writers:

William Peter Blatty (written for the screen by), William Peter Blatty (novel)
Popularity
608 ( 236)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 14 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Burstyn ... Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow ... Father Merrin
Lee J. Cobb ... Lt. William Kinderman
Kitty Winn ... Sharon
Jack MacGowran ... Burke Dennings
Jason Miller ... Father Karras
Linda Blair ... Regan
William O'Malley ... Father Dyer (as Reverend William O'Malley S.J.)
Barton Heyman ... Dr. Klein
Peter Masterson ... Dr. Barringer - Clinic Director (as Pete Masterson)
Rudolf Schündler ... Karl
Gina Petrushka Gina Petrushka ... Willi
Robert Symonds ... Dr. Taney
Arthur Storch ... Psychiatrist
Thomas Bermingham 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 movie you've been waiting for...without the wait. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin | Greek | French | German | Arabic | Kurdish

Release Date:

26 December 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (1979 re-release)| DTS-ES (director's cut)| Dolby Digital EX (director's cut)| Mono (original release)| SDDS (director's cut)

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Laura Dern and Eve Plumb auditioned for the role of Regan McNeil. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »

Alternate Versions

A new edition, labeled "The version you've never seen", was released on September 22, 2000 and includes the following additions and changes.
  • A slightly different opening, which shows the MacNeil's home in Georgetown, then cuts to the opening titles.
  • The scene where Chris MacNeil screams on the phone includes a new music cue and omits the line "I've been on this fucking line for 20 minutes!" and simply cuts to the next scene.
  • A new scene with Regan at the hospital receiving treatment to diagnose her "unusual" behavior. The doctor tells Chris MacNeil that Regan told him to "keep his hands away from her Goddamn c--t." This scene sets up her bizarre behavior earlier and clarifies the scene where Chris tells Regan "it's just like the doctor said, it's just nerves. You just take your pills and you'll be fine"
  • The party scene removes the shot of Regan laughing with the guests, obviously because of her "unusual" behavior in the previous scene.
  • In the scene where Chris returns home and the lights go out, new digital effects including satanic faces and images of the statue, new sound effects, and music have been added to the scene. However in the blu-ray version, re-titled "Extended Director's Cut", one effect of the demon Pazuzu's face appearing on Regan's door has been removed.
  • The "spider-walk" scene has been restored and digitally altered from the original scene. Here, crude wires from the scene have been digitally removed, she comes down the stairs much faster, and a second take with her mouth is full of blood was used instead of a serpent tongue. It then cuts to black, and the next scene opens.
  • Before she grabs the psychiatrist's crotch, a new digital effect of her face morphing into the devil(which is seen in subliminal cuts throughout)including a new growl has been added.
  • A new music cue has been added to the scene with Lt. Kinderman and Father Karras.
  • After Father Karras leaves for the night, a new scene of him examining a tape of Regan trying to talk to her dad has been added and a new music cues ties the new scene and the scene of Father Karras at the mass together.
  • New scenes with Sharon trying to tune out the devil groans and a short moment with Chris MacNeil and Father Merrin(which hints his vulnerability and weakness) have been added.
  • A new music cue has been added to the scene with Father Karras and Father Merrin going up the stairs to perform the exorcism, and a short scene has been added before they enter the room. Father Damien asks Chris MacNeil what Regan's middle name is. She tells him it's Theresa, and he says "what a lovely name."
  • The scene with Father Karras and Father Merrin talking on the stairs (which was included on the 25th Anniversary DVD) has been restored.
  • When Father Karras looks up at the window when he's possessed, a new digital effect with Karras' mother's face has been added, and the scene includes the "subtle morph effect" that was included on the 25th anniversary edition DVD.
  • When Chris MacNeil gives Father Dyer Father Karras' medal, he gives it back to her and says "I think you should keep it", instead of simply keeping it as in the original version. A new short scene of Regan smiling and waving at Father Dyer as they drive away and Father Dyer waving back has been added.
  • The original ending with Father Dyer and Lt. Kinderman has been restored. The 'tubular bells' music cue plays over them walking away, and it ends before Lt. Kinderman can say quote "Casablanca", "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship".
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Supernatural: Phantom Traveler (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
An intense and very terrifying movie that will make you sleep with the bible a few nights in a row
3 August 2001 | by Smells_Like_CheeseSee all my reviews

The Exorcist is one of the best movies to come out of the 70's and deserves better than slowly descending down the top 250. It's one of those essential films you have to see in order to understand what a movie truly is and this is more than a horror film. Unfortunately there are so many people who are saying they got bored, I think because they expected a terrifying movie, people! This isn't a slasher movie, this isn't some scary Michael Myers that you can shoot, this is a story about normal people in a normal house and upstairs there is a little girl who happens to be possessed by "The devil himself". Faith is so strong and when it's shaken, anything in your imagination can run wild.

First off the actors: Ellen Burstyn plays Chris McNeil, an actress working in Washington, D.C. on a film. She is the mother of Regan, the little girl who is possessed. I felt such sorrow for Chris, when she begs Father Karras to help her with Regan, I almost cried for her. Her daughter is not sick, this is nothing she can give Regan a pill and she'll be better. Her speech to Father Karras later on in the film: "You show me Regan's double, same face, same voice, everything. And I'd know it wasn't Regan. I'd know in my gut. Now, I want you to tell me that you know for a fact that there's nothing wrong with my daughter, except in her mind. You tell me for a fact that an exorcism wouldn't do any good! You tell me that!" sent shivers down my spine, this woman knows what Regan needs and will do whatever she can.

We have Linda Blair who plays Regan and she was so great for a 12 year old actress. This little apple faced girl became one of the most frightening images of the 70's and still to this day. She's not scary because she's swearing, this little innocent girl has been taken over by forces that she shouldn't even know about. Jason Miller as Father Karras, for a man who had never acted professionally before, he was quite amazing as a priest who just lost his mother and his faith has been shaken up. Max Von Sydow as Father Merrin was so strong and he was like in his 20's playing a man in his 90's. He was robbed of an Oscar, he was so believable and just amazing during the exorcism scene.

The effects? People! This was the 70's and they made a bed float! They turned this little angel's face into a hideous creature! If you watch the documentary "Fear of God: The Making of the Exorcist", Ellen Burstyn gets slapped by Regan in the film and she had kind of a rope tied around her waist. When the stunt man pulled her back, Billy the director told the guy to let her have it and he YANKED her back hard causing real pain in Ellen's back and that was an actual scream in the movie. They froze the room to the point as were moisture got into the set and there was a layer of snow in the morning they were shooting. There was no CGI, this was the real deal and I believe could truly help the actors. Linda Blair was being thrashed up and down during one of the possessed scenes where the bracing came loose and caused slamming of metal to her back repeatedly and her screams were also very real and bone chilling.

William Freidkin is the director of The Exorcist, and there was no better choice. This guy took this picture seriously, so far as to shoot a gun offstage or scream obscenities to get an actor's shocked reaction on film. He slapped almost punched Reverend William O'Malley who played Father Dyer to get him to shake during his reciting the Last Rites to Father Karras. He almost would have killed to make this picture and anyone doing it.

Weither or not the set of The Exorcist was truly cursed with a total of 9 deaths linked to the film, a fire on the set with no apparent reason, and the total feeling of evil around the room, we'll never know. But The Exorcist is a true motion picture never to missed or deserve no more than the true compliments it should get! This is the film that should be shown to any aspiring film makers. It's a masterpiece of a film that's more than a mere horror flick.

10/10


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