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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:

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:

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

According to Variety magazine, it was revealed that Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds were contenders for the roles of Regan and Chris MacNeil. Reynolds is mentioned in the film by Lt. Kinderman in jest as playing Desdemona in "Othello." See more »

Goofs

Steaming hot water comes out of the tap as quickly as Damien turns on the faucet. It's not possible for water that hot to come through plumbing that fast, especially since the bedroom was on the highest floor of the house and the temperature of the room was at least freezing. 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 Special Edition DVD also includes a 75-minutes documentary titled "The Fear of God" on the making of the Exorcist. The documentary includes screen tests and additional deleted scenes, including:
  • Chris MacNeil and Regan going sight-seeing in Washington;
  • after Chris hears about Burke's death, Regan crawls down the stairs upside down on her arms and legs like a spider and then chases Chris and Sharon around the room;
  • Karras and Merrin sit on the stairs during a pause of the exorcism and exchange some words about what's happening to the girl.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Inside the Tower (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One Genre Renewal movie: The Exorcist - Horror with no Crime, instead Horror with Spirits
25 December 2009 | by CihanVercanSee all my reviews

Two terrible sequels and one irrelevant remake were never replaced with the original, the 1973 version of The Exorcist; and no other version will never be any more. Written for the screen and produced by William Peter Blatty, both The Exorcist movie and the novel are incident driven basis of the actual happenings from 1949.

Looking at the most remarkable movies of 1973, there are 3 other important ones that the history of cinema will remember: -- A slow and touching movie from Ingmar Bergman "Cries and Whispers" -- Bernardo Bertolucci's depressive movie, a study of love "Last Tango in Paris" -- A crime story with Redford and Newman "The Sting". Among all and all the other movies that are produced in this year, The Exorcist stands one step further than the rest for its uniqueness on genre renewal. It's not the first movie that features the Demon in its content, yet in the Exorcist the Demon is introduced in the human level. The idea of being possessed by a spirit is used for the first time ever on the silver-screen. Horror genre featuring spirits didn't need to refer to Crime any more like it used to be in Hitchcock ages. Thus crime became a separate genre, and mostly acted conjointly with thrillers from now on.

This uniqueness profits from its sound mixing, great lighting techniques and of course a perfect screenplay. Director William Friedkin was lucky to find his producer Blatty, being also the novel-writer and the idea creator. The plot and the story development goes very smoothly: From Father Merrin's encountering with the Demon Pazuzu in Iraq; to Ellen Burstyn looking for the cure for her daughter's disease, going for visits to every type of doctor... From the noises in the attic, to Regan's peeing on the rug... From decoding the Demon's speech of speaking English in reverse, to the arriving of Merrin... Both the editing and directing gave high qualities to this film.

The 25th Anniversary edition DVD is in my movie collections. It's a must to have for horror fans. Either you have this version of DVD or the year 2000 version; you should check out the special features that reveals the real-life 1949 incident, the missing and the deleted scenes including the Spider-walk scene, sound mixing and sound effects tests show how they created the demon's voice and the BBC documentary: The Fear of God, all in the special features.


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