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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
838 ( 138)
Top Rated Movies #246 | 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:

Now... Open your eyes to... (1976 re-release) 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:

William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist 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

In order to bring some levity to the shoot, William Peter Blatty suggested shooting a scene (not for the movie, but to amuse everyone at the screening of the rushes) in which Father Merrin would enter the house, take off his hat, and reveal himself to be Groucho Marx, a friend of Blatty's. The parody would even go as far as featuring an appearance from the duck from You Bet Your Life (1950). Groucho was keen to do it, but William Friedkin got sick that day and the idea was abandoned. See more »

Goofs

The length of Chris's hair changes from scene to scene. This is especially noticeable at her party, her hair is much longer here than in previous scenes. 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

The scene where the Demonic entity leaves Father Karres was originally done by filming Jason Miller in possession makeup, then stopping the camera and shooting him again with the makeup removed. This creates a noticeable jump in Father Karress's position as he is unpossessed. The 25'th anniversary video releases of "The Exorcist" smooth over the jumpy transition with a subtle computer morph effect. This updated effect was not featured in the prints used for the 75th Anniversary Warner Brothers film festivals See more »

Connections

Referenced in Still Tickin': The Return of A Clockwork Orange (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Study No. 2
Written by David Borden
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Suspense , mystery , shocks and grisly horror is this classic terror film
3 March 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

This known story concerns about a mother (Ellen Burstyn) and her daughter (Linda Blair), the latter is possessed and two Fathers , Karras (Jason Miller) and Merrin (Max Von Sidow) attempt to free Regan MacNeil from possession by the devil . Meanwhile , a Police Inspector (Lee J. Cobb) is investigating the weird events . And the priests suffering incredible risks trying to unravel mystery of demon living inside Regan .

This is a fairly suspenseful and horrifying story, based on a supposedly true flick . The movie begins well and grows more and more until the scary and eerie finale . Top-notch picture, thanks to fine acting , tight pacing , well mounted edition and skillful special effects with magnificent make-up by Dick Smith . Creepy acting by Linda Blair , due to death threats against Linda Blair from religious zealots who believed the film "glorified Satan", Warner Bros had bodyguards protecting her for six months after the film's release . On the first day of filming the exorcism sequence, Linda Blair's delivery of her foul-mouthed dialogue so disturbed the gentlemanly Max Von Sydow that he actually forgot his lines . The script is awesome , the acting excellent and the direction by William Friedkin plenty of good pace and conviction . Enjoyable secondary cast such as Lee J Cobb , Kitty Winn and Jack McGowran who died at the time finished the movie and added a legend about Exorcist's curse . Dark cinematography in sinister and mysterious atmosphere by Owen Roitzman and frightening musical score adding Mike Oldfield's soundtrack ¨Tubular bells¨ . The tale is rated ¨R¨ for graphic violence and profanity but contains gore and guts . Reiussed in 2000 by means of a special edition by director with ten minutes approximately additional footage with new amazing scenes as Regan downing stairs .

Followed by two sequels and numerous imitations , in 1977 ¨the Heretic¨ by John Borman with Richard Burton , deemed awful and in 1990 titled ¨The Exorcist III¨ by William Peter Blatty with George C Scott, Brad Dourif , Ed Flanders and Nicol Williamson . Furthermore, spawned two prequels starred by a young Father Merrin , Stellan Skarsgard , and set in Africa , both of them directed by Paul Schrader and Renny Harlin .


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