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Carrie (1976)

Carrie White, a shy, friendless teenage girl who is sheltered by her domineering, religious mother, unleashes her telekinetic powers after being humiliated by her classmates at her senior prom.

Director:

Brian De Palma

Writers:

Stephen King (novel), Lawrence D. Cohen (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
639 ( 491)

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sissy Spacek ... Carrie
Piper Laurie ... Margaret White
Amy Irving ... Sue Snell
William Katt ... Tommy Ross
John Travolta ... Billy Nolan
Nancy Allen ... Chris Hargensen
Betty Buckley ... Miss Collins
P.J. Soles ... Norma
Priscilla Pointer ... Mrs. Snell
Sydney Lassick ... Mr. Fromm
Stefan Gierasch ... Mr. Morton
Michael Talbott ... Freddy
Doug Cox ... The Beak
Harry Gold Harry Gold ... George
Noelle North Noelle North ... Frieda
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Storyline

It's nearing the end of the school year. High school senior Carrie White is a social outcast, largely due to being unwise to the ways of the world based on her upbringing. Her mother, Margaret White, is a religious fanatic, her extreme views primarily targeted against sex, which she believes is a sin. She even believes natural associated processes such as menstruation are a sin, about which she has refused to mention to Carrie. Mrs. White's beliefs were taken to that extreme largely because of her own failed marriage and her husband Ralph long ago having run off with another woman. The only adult authority figure who tries to help Carrie with her life is her phys ed teacher, Miss Collins, who is nonetheless warned not to get too close to go against how Mrs. White chooses to raise Carrie, Mrs. White whose beliefs are well known in the community. An impromptu event that happens among Carrie's phys ed classmates against her leads to her classmates being punished. One of those students, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The bone-chilling classic based on the novel by Stephen King. See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 November 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Carrie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$33,800,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Red Bank Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen King said that while the film is dated, it is "good. It's much better than the book." See more »

Goofs

Chris is somehow able to give her boyfriend a blow job and talk to him at the same time, without her voice being distorted in the least. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Miss Collins: Okay! Game Point: 15-14, this team serves!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Even though the version shown on TBS is censored, the "Carrie White eats shit" graffiti is visible in the gym when Miss Collins lectures the girls who humiliated Carrie. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Valse sentimentale (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Lady Lay
(uncredited)
Written by Mike Towers, Eugene Garfin, Stephen Bonnem, Joseph Walter Newton Jr.,
& Carmine Lauro
Performed by Vance or Towers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

the first post-modern horror film
10 November 2001 | by lukasiakSee all my reviews

At its heart, Carrie is not a 'horror film', but a film about horror.

The subject matter is physical and emotional abuse; time and time again DePalma returns to the theme of abuse to create a sense of anxiety and dread. And although our hapless heroine is the primary target of abuse (from her mother, her peers, and 'authority') abuse is also meted out liberally to others---violence against women (Travolta/Allen), and public humiliation by authority figures (Buckley/her gym class) also add to the discomfort level (the John Travolta-Nancy Allen relationship is defined solely by abuse---and they in turn are the initiators of Carrie's humiliation).

Except for Betty Buckley's gym teacher, all the characters are cartoonish archetypes---and almost all of these achetypes are brilliantly drawn. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie deservedly have been singled out for praise, but DePalma even managed to get the right performance out of decidedly untalented performers like Nancy Allen, William Katt (who is immeasurably aided by the kind of meticulous lighting that would have made Joan Crawford envious), and P.J. Soles.

Buckley deserves special mention, because she does amazing things with a completely underwritten role. By humanizing what could have been just one more cartoon (the lesbian gym teacher---lesbianism is never mentioned, but Buckley's subtle performance affirms what she has acknowledged in interviews--that she played her character as a lesbian) she provides a central point of reality that keeps the film from spinning completely out of control.

DePalma's intent was clearly not to scare the audience, but to make the audience watch the film from a distance, deliberately plagarizing two of the most notable sequences in film history---Hitchcock's shower sequence and Eisenstein's use of the three-perspective split screen. The shower scene takes place early in the film, cuing the audience into the fact that this is a film ABOUT film. And in the climactic prom sequence, DePalma distances himself, and the audience, from the bloodbath on the screen by reminding us through the 'theft' from Eisenstein that its just a movie at the most critical moment.

There are two significant flaws in the film. For some reason, DePalma interjected a 'fast forward' comedy sequence involving the purchase of tuxedos--the sequence serves no purpose in the film, other than to restate the obvious fact that this is 'just a movie'.

The second flaw is Amy Irving's performance. Its not horrible by any means, but it just doesn't work. Irving has grown as an actress since then (she was the only decent thing about the execrable sequel to Carrie) but the demands made of her in Carrie were beyond her skills at the time it was made. 'Chris' was supposed to be the conscience of the film, but winds up as wishy-washy.

Oh, and DON'T watch this film on commercial television--rent the video. DePalma engages in some sacriligeous imagery that is ALWAYS cut from the film when it is shown on television---imagery that justifies the penultimate sequence of the film itself, and brings closure to it.


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