12-year-old Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), is possessed by a demon awakened by an aging priest in some far away country. She begins to say strange things and act in a very terrifying way. Doctors begin to perform a series of tests on her, thinking she has a brain lesion. After a few days the girl starts to talk in a strange tongue.
Her mother, Chris, (Ellen Burstyn) tries psychiatrists but they have no answers. Finally, she turns to a priest and asks for an exorcism. The priest, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) is depressed and feels he has lost his faith. The real exorcist is Father Merrin (Max von Sydow). Father Merrin remains calm. He's seen it all before. He does his job.
Release date: December 26, 1973
Best adapted screenplay
The movie and book are based on the exorcism of a child in Maryland (USA) in 1949. Source / More (Book)
The archaeological dig site seen at the beginning of the movie is the actual site of ancient Nineveh in Hatra, Iraq. Source / More (Web)
The exorcist ranks number 9 in the American box-office rankings.
Grossing adjusted for inflation -> $707.6m Source / More (Web)
Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)
Linda Blair received over 5,000 threats against her life.
Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
The Exorcist III (1990)
This is one of the only horror movies ever nominated for the best picture.
In 2001 the movie was re-released with additional footage, including the famous spider walk.
The Exorcist became the first Western movie to receive permission to film in the Iraqi dessert. Source / More (Book)
Demon Pazuzu was the king of the demons of wind and son of the God Hanbi.
An exorcist is often a member of the clergy who’s thought to be able to assail the spirits with divine help.
Father Dyer is played by father William O’Malley, a real life priest who teaches English at Fordham Preparatory School. Source / More (Web)
Director Friedkin was not satisfied with the takes of William O’Malley. He belted him across the face with his open hand. O’Malley: “When I did the take, my hand was shaking. Sheer adrenalin”. Source / More (Book)
During the filming of The Exorcist, von Sydow kept having trouble with his lines during a crucial exorcism scene. He said, “I don't believe in God, and I don't believe in this! ”
April 10, 1929
Carl Adolf von Sydow
Born to a family of academics in Lund, Sweden, von Sydow studied at the Royal Dramatic School in Stockholm.
After graduation he worked at city theatres. He appeared in a number of Bergman films in the late 1950s and 1960s. They made him well-known internationally, and he started to get offers from abroad.
Von Sydow's first American film success was his roles as Jesus Christ in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). In 1987 Max made his directing debut with Ved vejen (1988) . He has become one of Sweden's most admired and professional actors.
1989 Nominated leading role for: Pelle erobreren (1987)