Jump to: Spoilers (3)
When Sissy Spacek was preparing for her character, she isolated herself from the rest of the ensemble, decorated her dressing room with heavy religious iconography and studied Gustave Doré's illustrated Bible. She studied "the body language of people being stoned for their sins," starting or ending every scene in one of those positions.
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When the fire hose is sprayed at P.J. Soles's character, the water pressure actually burst the actress's eardrums. Soles is not actually unconscious when her head rolls to the side from the force of the fire hose, but she is in terrible pain and has lost her ability to maintain equilibrium (which is governed by the ear). Brian De Palma decided to keep the shot in. Soles had no hearing in that ear for about six months afterward, though the eardrum did eventually heal.
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In the last scene of the film, Amy Irving's outburst so terrified her real-life mother Priscilla Pointer, that she screamed out "Amy" instead of "Sue." She had never seen her daughter that hysterical and called out her real name in concern. However, the loud ending music covered the mistake.
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Nancy Allen claims she never realized her character was going to be so evil until she saw the finished film. She thought she and John Travolta were playing such self-centered, bickering morons that they were there for comic relief. Piper Laurie also thought the character of Margaret White was so over the top that the film had to be a comedy.
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While speaking at a book event in Fort Myers, Florida in 2010, Stephen King recalled that he was paid just $2,500 for the movie rights to Carrie (1976), which may seem like a pittance, but he has no regrets. "I was fortunate to have that happen to my first book," King said.
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The ending of the movie is different than the ending from the novel, and in fact, Stephen King liked the ending in the movie better than the ending of his own book.
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According to Piper Laurie, she honestly thought her character was too over the top fanatical to be taken seriously. Brian De Palma had to take her to the side and personally tell her it was a horror film and not a "black comedy" as she thought it was. Even so, she would constantly burst out into laughter between takes because not only was her characterization and wardrobe laughable in her eyes, but the dialogue itself was humorous for her. To this day, she still refers to and maintains the movie as a black comedy.
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Ever the stickler for authenticity, Sissy Spacek insisted that she - not a double - be the one whose hand shoots up out of Carrie's grave during Sue Snell's nightmare sequence, so she was positioned under the rocks and gravel. De Palma stated, "Sissy, come on, I'll get a stunt person. What do you want? To be buried in the ground?!" However, Spacek declared, "Brian, I have to do this." De Palma explains that they "had to bury her. Bury her! We had to put her in a box and stick her underneath the ground. Well, I had her husband bury her because I certainly didn't want to bury her. I used to walk around and set up the shot and every once in a while we'd hear Sissy: 'Are we ready yet?' 'Yeah, Sissy, we're going to be ready real soon.'"
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The name of the high school is Bates High, a reference to Norman Bates from Psycho (1960). In addition, the four-note violin theme from Psycho (1960) is used over and over in the film.
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The dizzying camera shot during the prom scene was achieved by placing William Katt and Sissy Spacek on a platform that was spinning in one direction, while the camera was being dollied in the opposite direction.
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While filming the bloody prom sequence, Sissy Spacek's trailer was parked behind the set. After being covered in fake blood, for continuity purposes, Spacek refused to wash the effect off. She elected instead to sleep in her bloody clothes for three days of filming.
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Betty Buckley's terrified look on the face right before she gets killed is real, since they hadn't been able to test the falling backboard to make sure it would stop where it was supposed to before hitting her and no one knew for certain whether it would work.
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Originally, Brian De Palma had used the split screen effect extensively during the prom scene. Disappointed with the results, he re-edited most of the scenes into full frame shots leaving only the few split screen moments that he felt worked.
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Betty Buckley was 28 at the time of filming, only two years older than Sissy Spacek, and three years older than Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles, who play her students.
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For her screen test, Sissy Spacek rubbed Vaseline into her hair and didn't bother to wash her face. She also wore a sailor dress (which her mother had made for her when she was in the seventh grade) with the hem cut off.
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Sissy Spacek wasn't considered for the role of Carrie until her husband, art director Jack Fisk, convinced director Brian De Palma to allow her to audition. Until that, De Palma was wedded to the idea of Amy Irving playing Carrie; when Spacek got the part instead, De Palma gave Irving the smaller role of Sue.
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Sue Snell and her mother Eleanor are played by real life daughter and mother Amy Irving and Priscilla Pointer.
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Sissy Spacek asked Brian De Palma how he wanted her to react when Carrie first realizes that she is bleeding in the showers at the start and De Palma told her "It's like you've been hit by a mack truck." Spacek talked to her husband Jack Fisk (art director), who as a child had been run over by a car when he was standing in the streets looking at Christmas lights a neighbor had put up, and used his description of the experience as a basis for the scene.
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Initially, P.J. Soles was only cast for two weeks, but after she hit Sissy Spacek over the head with her red baseball hat during the volleyball scene, Brian De Palma decided to keep her around longer.
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A major box office hit for United Artists, grossing over $33 million in the US from a $1.8 million investment.
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This was the first Stephen King novel adapted into a movie.
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The success of Carrie (1976) at the box office cemented Stephen King's name as an author. King himself was delighted with the film.
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Carrie is based on a composite of two girls Stephen King observed while attending grade school and high school. Of one of them, he recalled: "She was a very peculiar girl who came from a very peculiar family. Her mother wasn't a religious nut like the mother in Carrie; she was a game nut, a sweepstakes nut who subscribed to magazines for people who entered contests...the girl had one change of clothes for the entire school year, and all the other kids made fun of her."
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Adding to the mother's delusional character is the fact that none of the Bible passages in the film are generally interpreted the way she interprets them. For example, she quotes Genesis chapter 3 to say that sexuality is evil. That chapter is the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. While some Bible scholars draw parallels with this and sexuality, particularly because of the passage's mention of them suddenly being ashamed of their nakedness, it is not the generally accepted interpretation.
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To become Carrie, Sissy Spacek would intentionally avoid socializing with the other actors on and off set. She would stay in her trailer or hide in the corner or behind the set. Also, before this happened, she warned the other actors that although she loved them, she would be avoiding them so she could stay in character. She told them they would have so much fun together after the movie was finished.
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The prom scene took over two weeks to shoot and required a total of 35 takes.
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The ring that Amy Irving wears throughout the movie was a gift to her from Stephen King, the author of the book the film is based on.
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In Carrie's house, the statue of a religious figure shot with arrows represents St. Sebastian. It is not a crucifix and does not represent Jesus Christ.
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Sissy Spacek was widely thought to be too pretty for the title role, the character in the book being described as chunky, mousy-haired and covered in pimples with Spacek being a tall thin redhead with clear skin. The character was then rewritten slightly, saying that she would be pretty if she made an effort to tidy herself up a bit.
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Sissy Spacek was 25 years old at the time of filming. Carrie is 17 years old in the novel.
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Many of the girls present in the locker room were originally hesitant to appear nude in the film, but after Brian De Palma showed them the nude shots of Sissy Spacek, they became more confident.
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Stephen King got the idea for Carrie while working in a laundry. Some of the characters, like Carrie's religious fanatical mother, were based on people who worked there with him.
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Piper Laurie had retired from the movie business after The Hustler (1961) when the script for Carrie (1976) came her way. She initially didn't understand the script at all, thinking it rather clichéd, until her husband pointed out that de Palma usually took a comedic approach to his work. When she reread the screenplay with that viewpoint, the part of Margaret White made a lot more sense to Laurie.
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In a 2010 interview with "The A.V. Club", P.J. Soles said that Steven Spielberg often came to the set at Brian De Palma's invitation because DePalma told him that there were "a lot of cute girls down here." Soles said that Spielberg asked out most of the women on the set, Soles included, and Amy Irving was the only one who accepted. Irving and Spielberg were married from 1985-1989 and had one son together.
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During filming of the scene where Miss Collins is chewing out the girls in gym, Brian De Palma was standing behind Amy Irving just off screen and whispering cruel and hurtful things into her ears in order to make Sue's look of misery and guilt on camera look genuine.
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Edie McClurg (who played Helen) originally had no dialogue in any part of the film, so she decided to improvise instead. This resulted in everything that we see Helen say in the film being completely made up by the actress, with Brian De Palma's blessing, naturally.
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Stephen King was reluctant to send Carrie to a publisher because it sounded (to him) the least marketable of all his manuscripts at the time. But horror was a hot commodity, with successes like The Exorcist (1973) and Rosemary's Baby (1968), so the novel became a sleeper success. To this day, King doesn't know what would have happened to his marriage and sanity if Carrie had been rejected.
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Although there have been three versions of "Carrie" and a sequel at this point, the 1976 version is the only version Stephen King likes. In fact when they were planning to remake this version in 2013 he openly asked "The question is why? When the original is so good." King even likes this version better than his own novel; he says it's "much better than the book."
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John Travolta auditioned on a lunch break while filming Welcome Back, Kotter (1975). He showed up for his audition still dressed as Vinnie Barbarino.
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Sissy Spacek filmed the scene in the locker room shower without any of the other actresses on the set.
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Amy Irving admits that she originally hated the script when she first received it. After seeing the finished film, she thought it was simply 'magic' and loved it.
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Bernard Herrmann, who had been nominated for an Oscar for the music to De Palma's previous film Obsession (1976), was slated to compose this score but passed away the December before the film was completed. Hermann's four note violin theme from Psycho (1960) is used over and over in this film.
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Brian De Palma had to dump several scenes from the novel due to budget limitations, one of which is where Carrie blows up petrol stations with her mind as part of the town destruction, setting it on fire. The effects work would have been too expensive at the time. Similar scenes did end up in the remake, Carrie (2013).
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Betty Buckley didn't know until the day of filming that her character would perish in the prom firestorm. This is because her death was a last minute decision, and Buckley expected her character to survive because her novel counterpart Ms. Desjardin lived.
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In the 1976 film version of Carrie (and most versions of Carrie), Carrie dies in her home after a brutal confrontation with her mother. In the book, she stalks Billy and Chris who attempt to run her down in the road; she blows up the car, and then she collapses in a field by the road. Sue finds her there and confronts her, letting her know that she was not in on the prank to embarrass her; after which Carrie dies, in the field by the road.
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Brian De Palma wanted a screeching music cue for the mirror breaking. It was after making that decision when he realized Psycho (1960) had already used the exact music he was looking for, but he went with it anyway.
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Nancy Allen later married her director Brian De Palma in 1979 and appeared in several of his films following their marriage, including Dressed to Kill (1980) and Blow Out (1981). The latter film reunited her with her Carrie (1976) co-star John Travolta. Allen and De Palma divorced in 1984.
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Stephen King wrote his first novel whilst he was also working for $1.60 an hour at an industrial laundry.
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The editor of the film (Paul Hirsch)'s credit appears at the same time as Nancy Allen (Chris Hargensen) appears in the locker room fully naked; Paul recalls his friends coming up to him and asking "How come your name isn't on the movie?"
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George Lucas and Brian De Palma held a joint audition for Carrie and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). There is a long-standing rumor that originally, Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia, and Carrie Fisher as Carrie, but when Fisher refused to appear in nude scenes and Spacek was willing to do them, they switched parts. However, Fisher refuted this story in a Premiere magazine article called "The Force Wasn't With Them," about actors who auditioned unsuccessfully for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). That article quoted Fisher as saying, "Not only do I love being nude, I would've been nude then... But anyway, it's total bullshit [that Fisher refused to play Carrie]."
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Stephen King was such a newcomer at the time of the film's release his first name was actually misspelled in the movie's trailer (it was written as Steven, not Stephen).
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Jack Fisk revealed to Indiewire about the casting of Sissy Spacek: "[Because of 'Phantom'] Brian actually thought of Sissy as a set dresser. When I got together with Brian on "Carrie," Sissy called him and said, "Brian, I'm coming in for a test for "Carrie," but I've also got an audition for a Vanquish commercial where I can make $10,000. Should I do that or come in?' " She thought he'd say, "Oh, please come in. I gotta see you." But what he actually said was, "Well Sissy, I think you ought to do the commercial." She got so upset that she sat down in our living room in Topanga Canyon and read the book of "Carrie" from cover to cover. She didn't sleep, got up the next morning, put Vaseline in her hair, and put on a little sailor dress that her mother had made her in seventh grade. Then she went into where they were testing".
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Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell, originally read for the part of Princess Leia, and William Katt, who played Tommy Ross, originally read for the part of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
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Principal Morton was one of the heroes of the novel; he was a sympathetic character who tried to help Carrie and the gym teacher fight the bullies. In the movie, he insultingly forgets Carrie's name - calling her Cassie - which only adds to her rage in the prom scene. In the book, he survives the prom but resigns from the school feeling partially responsible for everything that's happened; in the movie, he gets killed at the prom.
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Betty Buckley provides the voice over ("Creepy Carrie! Creepy Carrie!") for the little boy on the bike that chastises Carrie on her way home.
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John Travolta, who was then the star of Welcome Back, Kotter (1975), got second billing on the posters behind Sissy Spacek, even though he played a minor character.
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Carrie's real name is Carrietta. Margaret calls her this at the beginning right after she's been sent home from school.
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The book Carrie reads in the library, "The Secret Science Behind Miracles", is in fact a real book, written by Max Freedom Long in 1948, with the ISBN being 0875160476. The telekinesis definition from the book that Carrie reads is actually in the real book.
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In the movie, Carrie's prom dress is a light peach-colored satin. In the book, it's made of red velvet. This explains Piper Laurie's line "Red. I should have known it would be red" (referring to Sissy Spacek's dress in the original script).
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When she was interviewed on Inside Actors Studio, James Lipton asked Sissy Spacek if she was surprised Carrie still was considered such a classic, all these years later. She responded: "I can't believe anyone still knows who Carrie is!"
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After Stephen King wrote the manuscript for Carrie, he shelved it and got to work on his next novel, Salem's Lot.
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Piper Laurie said that the wounds her character, Margaret White, inflicts on herself toward the end of the film, were not created by makeup.
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Ms. Desjardin in the novel does indeed laugh at Carrie after the blood spill, as she secretly pitied Carrie and wanted to bully her too, but felt morally obligated to defend her as a teacher. Though she survives the prom massacre, she resigns as a result of her shame at laughing at Carrie. In the film, Ms. Collins is laughing but it's only a hallucination of Carrie, but she dies in the prom massacre.
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In real life, Sissy Spacek attended Quitman High School and was homecoming queen.
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Amy Irving (Sue Snell) was the only cast member who reprised her role in the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999).
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Piper Laurie's death scene took a whole day to film.
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Sissy Spacek would later perform the audiobook of Carrie.
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Shot over a period of 50 days.
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Brian De Palma filmed a TV friendly version of the locker room scene which featured all of the actresses wearing very strategically covered towels; this was for network airings of Carrie. You can find the PG-13 TV version of the locker room scene on YouTube.
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Brian De Palma wanted Betty Buckley to really slap Nancy Allen. Because Allen couldn't get the reaction De Palma wanted, Buckley ended up slapping her as many as thirty times.
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Amy Irving was disappointed that many of her larger scenes were cut. A scene featuring Irving and William Katt in the backseat of his truck was cut, for reasons unknown.
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This was Brian De Palma's first commercially successful film.
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Some of Carrie derived from Stephen King's own experiences as a teacher. Some of it may have been autobiographical also; as King admits that as a young person growing up the other kids "teased (him) to death."
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Linda Blair auditioned for the role of Carrie but turned it down fearing being typecast. Jill Clayburgh also auditioned for the title role, but was passed over. Farrah Fawcett also auditioned for the part, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts from Charlie's Angels (1976).
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The film's original trailer, now available on the DVD, shows an alternate take of Carrie in the shower stall from the beginning and the original voice of the little boy taunting Carrie from his bicycle (overdubbed by Betty Buckley in the finished film).
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In an interview shown on "The 100 Scariest Movie Moments" (2004) on Bravo, Stephen King recalls watching the film on opening night with his wife, Tabitha. When the final scene was shown (of Carrie's hand coming out of the grave and grabbing Sue Snell), King says, "In the row in front of us were these two huge African-American men, each weighing about 230 pounds. They were screaming like children, grabbing each other around the necks, and one said to the other. 'That's it, that's it, she ain't NEVER gonna be right!' I turned to my wife and said 'This is gonna be *huge*.'"
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When Carrie flips Billy's car, the interior shot shows them spinning along with it. This effect was not achieved by actually rotating the actors in a car but by simply spinning the film frame in post production.
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Martin Scorsese saw the film three times when it was released in theaters.
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When Carrie's mother meets her demise, she is stabbed multiple times. For this scene, the knives started off in Margaret's body before being pulled out by string. When editing the scene, they played the footage in reverse to achieve the look of the knives flying towards Margaret.
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At the Academy Awards, Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films nominated the film for a Golden Scroll in the category of Best Horror Film. The Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival gave the Grand Prize to Brian De Palma. A special mention was made out to Sissy Spacek for her acting. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards nominated "Carrie" for an Edgar for Best Motion Picture.
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According to the DVD extras, Betsy Slade was Brian De Palma's early choice for the role of Carrie White based on the strength of her appearance as a teenage girl seeking an abortion in the film Our Time (1974). Sissy Spacek's screen test was so persuasive, however, she ultimately won the role.
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The boy on the bike was played by Brian De Palma's nephew Cameron.
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The split screen finale took Brian De Palma six weeks to cut together.
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Quentin Tarantino has said this is one of his favorite movies ever.
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The film that Tommy and Sue are watching on TV when Tommy agrees to take Carrie to the prom is Duel at Diablo (1966).
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DIRECTOR'S SIGNATURE: Split screen segment during the prom massacre also used in Sisters (1972).
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Although the house used for the White residence was a real home in Santa Paula California, a smaller replica of the building and it's neighbor had to be re-constructed in the studio to be burnt down. The original script actually called for the house to be destroyed by falling stones, but the effect proved less than spectacular on film. Traces of the original idea can be seen in the volcanic rocks that fill the White's empty lot in the last shots, instead of the charred remains of a frame house that would normally be expected.
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Miss Collins' name in the novel is actually Rita Desjardin, but her name was changed to Collins as it was easier to pronounce, she has no given first name in the film however. Betty Buckley has said in interviews that she "played her as a lesbian."
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Edie McClurg was thirty years old at the time, the oldest cast member playing a teenager in the film. She is almost exactly two years older than Betty Buckley, who played her gym teacher.
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After Carrie slays her mother with kitchen knives using her telekinetic powers, Margaret White's body forms a tableau similar to the religious icon of St. Sebastian seen several times earlier in the film, who was martyred with arrows.
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Nancy Allen was the last person to audition for the film, and her audition came just as she was on the verge of leaving Hollywood.
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The sequence when Nancy Allen performs oral sex on John Travolta in the car was cut by the Irish censor when "Carrie" was first theatrically released in Ireland.
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Betty Buckley had originally auditioned for a part in Brian De Palma's Phantom of the Paradise (1974). She didn't get the part but De Palma kept using her for looping purposes on that film and his subsequent movie, Obsession (1976), before ultimately beefing up the part of the gym teacher for her for Carrie (1976).
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According to Sue Snell in The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999), 73 people died in the prom massacre and that the few people who made it out alive refused to talk about the incident afterwards, confirming that she wasn't the sole survivor. In the novel, only 11 people were confirmed to have escaped from the prom and survived.
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In the DVD special for this movie "Acting Carrie" Nancy Allen said "I can't say that I knew this was going to be a classic, and we'd be talking about it forever. But the second I saw the dailies, I knew that it was a good movie."
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The only adaptation of the novel where Gym teacher Ms. Desjardin (Collins in this film) actually dies in the prom massacre and doesn't survive.
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Lawrence D. Cohen, who adapted the screenplay for Stephen King's Carrie, also adapted King's It (1990).
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The uncredited band that performs at the prom is named "Vance or Towers". The uncredited song that they perform, "Education Blues", is available on their 1975 self-titled album.
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Stephen King was happy with the choice of Brian De Palma as the director because he liked one of De Palma's previous films, Sisters (1972).
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In addition to her high school (Bates High), the slaughterhouse where Carrie's tormentors go to kill the pig whose blood will douse her at the prom is named Bates Packing, in another nod to Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho (1960).
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This was Piper Laurie's first theatrical film since The Hustler (1961) 15 years earlier and her first on screen acting role since The Long Hunt of April Savage (1966).
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The book takes place in Maine. The movie takes place in North Carolina.
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For the 40th anniversary of the release of Carrie (1976), the film was screened in downtown Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel on October 14, 2016, as the highlight of a local fundraiser for weSPARK Cancer Center in which Nancy Allen, who played the vile blonde Chris, is its longtime executive director. The non-profit organization, created by Wendie Jo Sperber, who asked her friend Allen to take it over upon her death, offers free services to cancer patients and their families. A Q&A session immediately followed the screening that included Allen, Piper Laurie, P.J. Soles and editor Paul Hirsch. Allen commented, having not seen the movie in some time, that it was "creepy" to see the frequently abusive, (now) politically incorrect slapping done in the film. She confessed that John Travolta, who played her boyfriend, was very wary of slapping Nancy and claimed that his slaps, unlike others in the film, were fake.
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The trailer for the original 1976 movie spilled the beans about most of the major plot points, but people were still intrigued enough to see it anyway and it became a big hit, even though The Coming Attractions did spoil the ending.
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The dizzying camera shot during the prom scene was achieved by placing William Katt and Sissy Spacek on a platform that was spinning in one direction, while the camera was being dollied in the opposite direction. There was as similar scene to this which had the camera spinning around Sissy Spacek as she went through her belongings and pulled out some favorite things like a letter from her father and some short stories; while the camera watched her. This was eventually deemed as being too similar to the prom scene so they dropped it.
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Initial director of photography Isidore Mankofsky was fired early into production after clashing with Brian De Palma and was replaced by Mario Tosi.
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Screenwriter Lawrence D. Cohen went on to collaborate with composer Michael Gore and lyricist Dean Pitchford and create "Carrie: The Musical", which debuted with the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Terry Hands and choreographed by Debbie Allen in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom in 1988. Later that same year, the production was transferred to Broadway, where Betty Buckley (Miss Collins from the film) replaced Barbara Cook as Margaret White. The Broadway run only lasted five performances, and it is considered by many to be the most spectacular flop in Broadway history. However, Linzi Hateley, who played the title role in her Broadway debut, won a Theatre World Award for her performance. The song "When There's No One" from the show is included on Buckley's Sterling records release "Children Will Listen". No official cast album exists, although several unofficial recordings have been made.
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The movie Jennifer (1978) came out 2 years after Carrie. It was part of a wave of troubled-teens-with-telekinesis movies that came out in the wake of Carrie. The movie actually used the following tagline; "Compared to this, Carrie was an angel."
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Sissy Spacek later appeared on another Stephen King related production, Castle Rock (2018). The original novel Carrie actually has a connection to King's Castle Rock stories. One of the places Carrie destroy during her rampage was "Teddy's Amoco," named for its owner, Teddy Duchamp, a character who appeared in the short story "The Body," and played by Corey Feldman in Stand by Me (1986).
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Body Count: 22.
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After the film's box office success, some strikingly similar movies appeared, described by critics as ripoffs. The Initiation of Sarah (1978) was a TV movie starring Kay Lenz as an outcast with telekinetic powers at a college where a cruel sorority bullies her and plays pranks on her. Jennifer (1978) starred Lisa Pelikan as a misfit at an elite private school who takes revenge on her tormentors using her psychic power over snakes.
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Entertainment Weekly ranked this as the 15th scariest movie of all time.
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The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Sissy Spacek; and three Oscar nominees: John Travolta, Piper Laurie and Amy Irving.
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In the book, Chris has quite a history as a bully, and refers to the misfits she likes to terrorize as "Mortimer Snerds". (King even describes Chris as having blown one kids toes off; when she put firecrackers in her shoe). "Mortimer Snerd's" is a name of one of Edgar Bergen's puppets. It's also a pun because Mortimer is the name of the principal as well. And of course Mortimer Snerds sounds like Mortimer's Nerds. This nickname is not mentioned in the movie.
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One of the few United Artists films to retain the logo of the era (1975-1976 version) into the Blu ray age - most United Artists films since the VHS days have plastered the logos with the current one of the time of transfer.
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Gustave Moreau's 1851 painting The Study of Lady MacBeth inspired director Brian De Palma to have Sissy Spacek (Carrie) mimic the stance and posture of the painting for the iconic pig blood scene.
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The film originally opened with a scene where the younger Carrie White (Spacek) talks with her neighbor Estelle Horan (played by actress Tina Romanus), Carrie is beaten by Mrs. White (Piper Laurie), and a rain of stones ensues. This was filmed and deleted, probably because it connected with the later rain of stones-- which malfunctioned and was scrapped-- that the film was supposed to climax with.
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Pino Donaggio the film's composer spoke no English, so he had to have a translator on set while he scored the film to communicate with Brian De Palma. In 1979, three years after Carrie, Donaggio would go on to score Tourist Trap (1979), another 70s horror film about a string of telekinetic murders. Bernard Herrmann was De Palma's first choice to be the composer; Hermann was set to be the film's composer but he died before production began, leaving De Palma to substitute Pino Donaggio, who ironically wound up ripping off Hermann anyway by using the infamous violin strings theme from Psycho (1960) to score the scenes where Carrie uses her telekinesis.
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This was originally called "Cavalier" when Stephen King was working on it as a short story. Cavalier was the hotel Chris and Billy were hanging out at the ending before Carrie hunts them down, in the original story. ("Cavalier" also aptly describes the casually cruel attitudes teenagers often have towards bullying, and how they treat each other overall). The original title of the published book was "Carrie a novel of a girl with a frightening power".
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The trailer said "introducing John Travolta in his first motion picture role". However, this was not his first film; he had a small role in The Devil's Rain (1975), but it was before he became into a star in Welcome Back, Kotter (1975)].
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Carrie is one of several characters in Stephen King novels (usually female) that have mental powers. Others are Firestarter, The Shining and its sequel Doctor Sleep.
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A "Carrie" TV series was originally planned by NBC executives; this would be a spin-off of the 2002 TV movie that they aired, and would follow Carrie's adventures and struggles as she traveled from town to town incognito, much like the Fugitive, evading David Keith's investigator character and running from her past murders, as well as helping other bullying victims overcome their oppressors in the process. This was planned after the success of another Stephen King inspired TV series, The Dead Zone (2002), became a big hit, but they decided to scrap the idea when the critical response and the ratings for the 2002 film version of "Carrie" were poor.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The only adaptation of Carrie not to feature Tina Blake as Chris's best friend and secondary antagonist, this role is instead filled in by Norma Watson, a minor character in the novel. Tina is in the film though she is only in the background during the gym class scenes. Every other adaptation of the novel gives Tina the role of Chris's best friend and secondary antagonist.
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The White house was filmed in Santa Paula, California and to give the home a Gothic theme, director and producers went to religious shops looking for artifacts to place in the home.
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The only adaptation of the novel where John Hargensen, Chris's father, does not make an appearance.
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Carrie was the first movie Brian De Palma directed that was adapted from a book.
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John Ritter was considered for the role of Tommy Ross. He would later play the adult version of Ben Hanscom in the miniseries of It (1990).
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John Travolta would later be mentioned by name in Stephen King's 1977 novel "Rage", published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
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The song being played at the prom when the scene begins was called "Education Blues" by the band Vance or Towers. It was re-recorded for the film to give it a more live sound than the tightly mixed, and compressed studio version that appears on their album..
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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The bucket of pig blood scene has been humorously parodied in subsequent comedy films, such as Elvira: Mistress of the Dark (1988), Superstar (1999) and White Chicks (2004).
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Edie McClurg's debut.
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The sewing machine used by Carrie White's mother is a White brand sewing machine; it appears to be a "rotary" model made in the 1930s.
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The boy that taunts Carrie on his bike carries a lunch box from the TV show Emergency! (1972) in the bike's basket.
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Although Carrie is supposed to be a young high school student just (belatedly) entering puberty, the actress who played Carrie (Sissy Spacek) was a 27-year-old, married woman when this movie came out.
The original novel Carrie was King's first Novel sale. He stated that he had mostly finished it, but did not like it, so he through it in the trash. His wife Tabitha found the discarded papers, and read it. She put it back on his desk with a note, "Please finish it for me. I want to see how it ends." He did, and since it was complete, he submitted it. It was picked up for publication. King relates that he was so shocked by the call that he collapsed to the floor in shock.
Brian De Palma considered casting Louise Fletcher to play Margaret White after seeing her performance in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest(1975).
Tommy Ross's car that he picks Carrie for the prom in is a 1973 Ford Galaxie 500, he also drives a 1970 Datsun 521 Pickup [PL521] when he goes over to Carrie's house to ask her to prom.
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Amy Irving, who plays Sue Snell in the movie, would go on to play a telekinetic teen in The Fury (1978), a movie also directed by Brian De Palma.
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PJ Soles was cast by John Carpenter in Halloween (1978) after he liked her in Carrie.
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Named one of its "Films We Only Watch for The Nudity" by website Horror.Land.
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The fake blood dropped on Sissy Spacek kept drying and adhering to her skin because of the hot lights. The only solution was to hose her down when the substance got gluey.
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In the second-to-last scene (where Amy Irving lays flowers on Carrie's grave) to make it more "eerie", the shot was filmed backwards - then run in reverse in slo-mo - to give it a surreal effect. This is evidenced by a background automobile traversing the perpendicular intersection backwards, which the viewer can clearly observe as driving in reverse.
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Sissy Spacek loved to watch audience's reactions to the ending. "When I was in New York, and Carrie came out, I would go to theaters just for the last five minutes of the film to watch everyone jump out of their chairs," Spacek recalled. "People are all relaxed. The music is really beautiful and relaxing, and all of a sudden that (hand) comes up, and people just go crazy."
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