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The Exorcist

4.6 69
Director: William Friedkin

Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Max von Sydow


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Novelist William Peter Blatty based his best-seller on the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States. Blatty transformed the little boy in the 1949 incident into a little girl named Regan, played by 14-year-old Linda Blair. Suddenly prone to fits and bizarre behavior, Regan proves quite a handful for her actress-mother, Chris MacNeil (played by


Novelist William Peter Blatty based his best-seller on the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States. Blatty transformed the little boy in the 1949 incident into a little girl named Regan, played by 14-year-old Linda Blair. Suddenly prone to fits and bizarre behavior, Regan proves quite a handful for her actress-mother, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn, although Blatty reportedly based the character on his next-door neighbor Shirley MacLaine). When Regan gets completely out of hand, Chris calls in young priest Father Karras (Jason Miller), who becomes convinced that the girl is possessed by the Devil and that they must call in an exorcist: namely, Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). His foe proves to be no run-of-the-mill demon, and both the priest and the girl suffer numerous horrors during their struggles. The Exorcist received a theatrical rerelease in 2000, in a special edition that added 11 minutes of footage trimmed from the film's original release and digitally enhanced Chris Newman's Oscar-winning sound work.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Jason Bergenfeld
In 1973, writer William Peter Blatty adapted his novel, The Exorcist, into a film hailed by many as the most geniunely frightening of all time. A classic tale of Good versus Evil, the story follows Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) as she watches her daughter Regan (Linda Blair) helplessly fall into the possession of an evil -- and foul-mouthed -- spirit. Convinced that an exorcism is the only way to save Regan, Chris summons the help of a psychiatrist/priest, Father Karras (Jason Miller), who on the eve of his mother's death is dealing with his own demons. Director William Friedkin (The French Connection) continues to astound audiences with The Exorcist, as evidenced by various reissues featuring deleted scenes and remastered sound. The film's horrific imagery -- Regan's spinning head, green vomit, and levitating body -- believably turned a harmless young girl into a remorseless creature of hate; it has since become well accepted and even parodied. Friedkin's determination to achieve a realistic story of fear is best demonstrated in a scene featuring one priest's trembling deliverance of the last rites; the director helped the actor achieve an emotional response by smacking him in the face. Aided also in part by quick cuts of a memorably demonic face and the creepy sound design of Regan's wheezing voices, The Exorcist stands as a perfect example of spine-tingling horror meeting classic storytelling.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
Numerous viewers allegedly vomited, fainted, or just walked out, but that only helped William Friedkin's film version of William Peter Blatty's best-seller become an early-'70s blockbuster and horror milestone. Flush from his Oscar for The French Connection (1971), wunderkind Friedkin decided on a "realistic," no-holds barred approach to Blatty's reportedly fact-based novel, pushing horror special effects into new dimensions of gruesomeness (and the film way over budget in a bizarrely trouble-plagued shoot). The Exorcist went on to break The Godfather's box-office record, as Watergate-weary audiences piled in to watch the furniture fly and Linda Blair's head spin. Critics were split over whether Friedkin had taken the Rosemary's Baby (1968) mode of subtly suggestive supernatural horror into the realm of gross reactionary exploitation or whether The Exorcist disturbingly tapped into repressed fears of the unknown (including female sexuality). Regardless, bolstered by ten Oscar nominations, The Exorcist helped set the standard for R-rated horror grisliness and raise the bar for blockbuster profits.
Entertainment Weekly
Rereleased in a special enhanced print, with a dynamic new sound mix and 11 minutes of added footage, 1973's infamous "religious" hex horror movie remains the original Hollywood hallmark of Extreme Culture -- a blasphemous, eruptive freak show that's less Rosemary's Baby than a supernatural Lolita's Revenge as imagined by the Marquis de Sade. Owen Gleiberman

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video
Sales rank:

Special Features

Disc 3 Beyond Comprehension: William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist Forty years after his novel was published, the Exorcist's author, Screenwriter and Producer returns to where it all began Talk of the Devil: A never-before-seen documentary with Father Eugene Gallagher While at Georgetown University, William Peter Blatty heard about a true case of possession from Father Eugene Gallagher At the time the film came out, the priest talked at length about exorcism, the true story about Blatty

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ellen Burstyn Chris MacNeil
Linda Blair Regan MacNeil
Max von Sydow Father Merrin
John Miller Father Damien Karras
Kitty Winn Sharon
Lee J. Cobb Lt. Kinderman
Jack MacGowran Burke Dennings
William O'Malley Father Dyer
Barton Heyman Dr. Klein
Peter Masterson Clinic Director
Rudolf Schundler Karl
Robert Symonds Dr. Tanney
Ron Faber Assistant Director
Donna Mitchell Mary Jo Perrin
Roy Cooper Jesuit Dean
Robert Gerringer Senator
Mercedes McCambridge The Demon
Vasiliki Maliaros Karras' Mother
Titos Vandis Karras' Uncle
Wallace Rooney Bishop

Technical Credits
William Friedkin Director
Richard Baker Makeup Special Effects
William Peter Blatty Producer,Screenwriter
George Crumb Score Composer
Dick Smith Makeup Special Effects
Terry Donnelly Asst. Director
Jean-Louis Ducarme Sound/Sound Designer
Gonzalo Gavira Sound/Sound Designer
Norman Gay Editor
Buzz Knudson Sound/Sound Designer
Evan Lottman Editor
William Malley Production Designer
Noel Marshall Executive Producer
Chris Newman Sound/Sound Designer
Jack Nitzsche Score Composer
Owen Roizman Cinematographer
Jerry Wunderlich Set Decoration/Design
Marv Ystrom Special Effects


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The Exorcist 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
im 9 years old and i saw this movie and im a horror fan fannatic and dang did it rock or wat but i didnt really think it was scary but they were right about 1 thing its defintly not for the weak stomach.there was only 1 scene that kind of freaked me out it was when all those images of the devil/demonic popped up,that was pretty scaryy!the weird parts were:when the priest was reading a segment from the bible and blessed regan than alll of a sudden she twisted her head around that was wicked,also when she does the "spider walk" down the stairs and blood leaks out of her mouth that was so koool,lol,also like when shes getttin blessed at the church and all of a sudden the devil screams and tries to scratch out of her body(that explains her weird looking face)and when she bangs her head and pukes up pea soup that was unforgettable!So if u think u hav the stomach to watch such a kool movie like this pleese,u got a rent this movie you will never 4get it!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was so frightning that I could't sleep for a week and kept getting nightmares and would never see this movie again but then afterwards I started not to be scared anymore of it and started watching it but am still scared of Regan and her weird spooky sick looking face and the part where he turns her head as the priests are reading something in a book. That part was nasty and you can hear the head bones cracking as the head slowly turns around shoulders. The scariest movie of all time no matter what anyone would say. Next to it would be Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ring and somewhere near Ginger Snaps.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After all of the imitators and rip-offs, The Exorcist still stands as the most frightening and profound horror films of all time. It's influence knows no bounds and it is a true masterpiece, not just in the horror genre, but movie making in general. It's mix of Catholic iconography, demonic possesion, and viseral terror was a shocking reflection of post hippie America and a jolting ride into the disillusionment of the 1970's. The perfect film for it's time. Friedken manages to put you in the room with the demon with some of the most creative and down-right terrifying imagery ever put to film. This film is alive, and it's as though you can feel the cold and fear it oozes. From the special effects to the inventive sound mixing, you are pushed and pulled to the heights of hysteria and Friedken is in total control the entire time. The performances are flawless as well, with Jason Miller putting in the finest work of his career. If you have not seen this movie watch it alone, and in the dark, and prepare yourself. This is a near perfect film that should be seen by any serious fan of cinema.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best movies ever made! All horror fans will love this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No horror movie comes close this tour de force of violence and supernatural evil. The head twisting around, priests when they were still pious, and vomit going everywhere within the compass of the moral decay of America.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so awesome,the only scary part for me is when she was up in her bedroom flingin' her head everywhere. The only part that really freaked me out was when she walked down the stairs in a back-bend position with blood all runnin' out of her mouth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie actually the scariest movie of all time and the dvd box can some that up for you. I think that if you watch this movie you will get scaried to death. I think that this movie was the one that started all supernatural movies about possession and was actually based on a true story. The film was scary and so was the book. I loved it.
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goodgirl2 More than 1 year ago
after watching The Exorcist i admit its gonna freak you out a young girl 12 years of age Regan isn't herself because somebody else is inside her making her all crazy wow and let me just say i agree this movie is not for children it could scare them if you love horror then your gonna love The Exorcist great horror!
Pfaye14 More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie in the Theater and it freaked me out! I tokk my younger cousin to see it and to this day, if I mention the name of the movie, she screams I do not want to talk about it! I luv Horror and this one still shakes me up to the day. Can not wait to get the Blue Ray edition for my collection. Watch this movie!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the only movie that ever really scared me. I saw it for the first time at age 7 or 8. It still scares me at 33. An absolute must see, but not for the timid or faint hearted
Guest More than 1 year ago
To think that I will not buy this movie because it is so so gripping that I still to this day 25 years later think about Linda Blair's head spinning in a 360...THE MOST of all the horror movie next to Halloween the original and the Omen that can chill you just to think about...And to think the devil in the 1st scenes where in Iraq...says a bit about the present huh... Age 40 Seattle,WA
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie was really scary i saw this two years ago and i still have nightmares.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is subtle one moment, and in-your-face the next. It is the one movie that stays with me long after a viewing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As the Standard for which Horror movies were compared for decades, it's sad that our society is so desensitised that young kids see this film and say 'Ya, so what. It's not scary' Thirty years ago it was most disturbing. I remember the theatres handing out 'barf bags' to people going in. Now days with all the video games (yes I blame these games as well as other factors)kick fighting and dropping people on their heads only to 'bounce' back up ready for the next 'match' Well with this amazing ability who would be scared of a little girl? I dont mind if others compare the older classics to the new ones JUST don't belittle or demean their value that inevetably led to the present horror films we have today. What would it take to scare us now since all that has happened in the world with pain, suffering, wars televised, and movies and graphic games that all show some level of human barbarism.9/11 and poision in the mail, U know all the unthinkables from yesterday. I miss the old Classics and being kept on the edge of my seat for an hour and a half! Now I only have the news to disgust and outrage me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie has to be one of the scariest movies I've ever seen! I haven't seen many horror films, but from what other people have said, they think the same thing. When I saw it, I couldn't sleep soundly for months! Maybe I just can't watch horror films, but I highly recommend The Exorcist!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
They just don't make really scary movies anymore and this is ''VERY SCARY''!!!! I LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, wasnt that a scary movie! the spider-walk down the stairs still gives me the chills. Extremely good acting and the best fx ever. THIS IS A MOVIE TO ENJOY!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one movie that I cannot see by myself. The first time I saw it I was 10 years old and now that I'm 30 I still get the same chills. I don't know why but I guess everyone who sees it gets stuck with the girls face for a long time and you still get scared.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The movie I admit was good. But far far from scary. Scary is when people jump out of door or wherever when you dont except them to. Not a girl who all of a sudden gets possessed and starts acting all weird. If people think it is scary, then you get scared to easily.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie is horrifying. It goes on to vex thee and instill mere trepidations within your hearts. Don't sleep alone after this one.