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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
736 ( 149)
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:

Somewhere between science and superstition, there is another world. The world of darkness. 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

Gonzalo Gavira was called on to create many of the special sound effects after William Friedkin recalled his work from El Topo (1970). One of the more memorable sounds, the 360-degree turning of Regan's head, was actually made by taking his old, cracked leather wallet and twisting it back and forth against the microphone. See more »

Goofs

The bruise on Chris's face changes from scene to scene. 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 Portlandia: Healthcare (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Carly and Carole
(uncredited)
Written by Eumir Deodato
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Review of The Exorcist.
24 August 2005 | by pete-546See 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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