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The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror directed by William Friedkin and produced and written by William Peter Blatty. It is based on the 1971 novel of the same name. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations—winning two (Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay), and losing Best Picture.


When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd, levitating, speaking in tongues, her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.


  • Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil
  • Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil
  • Max von Sydow as Father Lankester Merrin
  • Jason Miller as Father Damien Karras
  • Lee J. Cobb as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman
  • Mercedes McCambridge as Pazuzu's voice
  • Eileen Dietz as Pazuzu's face
  • Kitty Winn as Sharon Spencer
  • Jack MacGowran as Burke Dennings
  • William O'Malley as Father Joseph Dyer
  • Thomas Bermingham as Tom, President of Georgetown University
  • Peter Masterson as Dr. Barringer
  • Robert Symonds as Dr. Taney
  • Barton Heyman as Dr. Samuel Klein
  • Rudolf Schündler as Karl, house servant
  • Arthur Storch as the Psychiatrist


Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 84% based on 76 reviews, with a rating average of 8.07/10. On Metacritic, the film has an average weighted score of 81 out of 100, based on 21 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Roger Ebert gave the film a 4-out-of-4 star review, praising the actors (particularly Burstyn) and the convincing special effects. Ebert, while praising the film, believed the special effects to be unusually graphic.

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