The Exorcist (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Exorcist (1973)

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Critic Consensus: The Exorcist rides its supernatural theme to magical effect, with remarkable special effects and an eerie atmosphere, resulting in one of the scariest films of all time.

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Movie Info

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. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

Linda Blair
as Regan MacNeil
Jason Miller
as Father Damien Karras
Max von Sydow
as Father Merrin
Lee J. Cobb
as Lieutenant Kinderman
Kitty Winn
as Sharon
Jack MacGowran
as Burke Dennings
Titos Vandis
as Karras's Uncle
Robert Symonds
as Dr. Tanney
Ron Faber
as Assistant Director
Vasiliki Maliaros
as Karras's Mother
Barton Heyman
as Dr. Klein
Donna Mitchell
as Mary Jo Perrin
Roy Cooper
as Jesuit Dean
Peter Masterson
as Clinic Director
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News & Interviews for The Exorcist

Critic Reviews for The Exorcist

All Critics (69) | Top Critics (16)

The Exorcist, with its excellent cast, mounting intensity, and ingeniously constructed surprises, is still a commanding achievement.

October 15, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The movie that launched a new era in horror films, and which, for one generation, remains one of the scariest experiences of their lives.

October 15, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Exorcist, like most memorable Hollywood movies, gains its power from the way it mixes opposites: new-style realism and sexual radicalism, old-style horror and religion.

October 15, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

When I first saw The Exorcist, I saw only the literal side of the story. But as I watched it again, I began to view the movie as a dark fairy tale about a parent whose child is experiencing a painful trauma.

October 15, 2014 | Full Review…

Von Sydow, Blair and Mercedes McCambridge (the originally uncredited actress who dubbed Regan's gross mutterings) are flat-out terrific.

October 15, 2014 | Full Review…

Aall The Exorcist does is take its audience for a ride, spewing it out the other end, shaken up but none the wiser.

October 15, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Exorcist

When film was in its infancy some early entrepreneurs regularly showed (for a nickel!) a train approaching a still camera, for which early audiences would stand up and get out of the way. "The train almost hit us!!!" It's hard for us these days to fathom that kind of reaction. We have grown jaded, experienced, and have seen such representations many times. So it is that now when viewing this work, it's initial impact is lost to time and experience. Many films have since gone where this one did and we've seen it all before. But once upon a time this was not just the biggest dog on the block, it was the only dog on the block. Still powerful, it has become a sort of museum piece of a more innocent time.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Exquisitely directed and with a careful pacing, this is a true classic that drives its characters into a genuine state of pure terror in the presence of unspeakable Evil and scared the hell out of audiences when it was released - something that will be more difficult to happen today.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

An exceptional film with superb acting, writing, directing, and cinematography. With no missteps and with a realistic approach to a supernatural premise, The Exorcist is an epic and ingenious classic film with one of the greatest openings in cinematic history.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

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