The Exorcist
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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 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… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The Exorcist, with its excellent cast, mounting intensity, and ingeniously constructed surprises, is still a commanding achievement."
‑ Desmond Ryan, Philadelphia Inquirer
"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."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
"[Friedkin] knew he wasn't making art; he was concocting gross-out pop -- a movie so "scary" it borders on being silly."
‑ Robert Wilonsky, New Times
"The Exorcist not only tops the horror genre but transcends it, resulting in a profound experience where moviemaking horror, thrillingly dramatic storytelling and deeply felt spirituality of the Catholic kind make for pivotal viewing."
‑ Matthew Pejkovic, Matt's Movie Reviews
"The Exorcist is what it purports to be, no less than one of the best horror films, one of the best films, of all time."
‑ J.C. Maçek III, PopMatters
"The movie that launched a new era in horror films, and which, for one generation, remains one of the scariest experiences of their lives."
‑ Jack Mathews, New York Daily News
"Von Sydow, Blair and Mercedes McCambridge (the originally uncredited actress who dubbed Regan's gross mutterings) are flat-out terrific."
‑ Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"Less a cleverly spun story than a disjointed collection of shockeroos, surrounding a few ghoulishly effective moments with overcooked plot twists and in-your-face vulgarity."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"a brilliantly constructed, chilling tale of demonic possession and medical torture"
‑ Kevin Carr, 7M Pictures
"Friedkin's Exorcist holds up remarkably well."
‑ John G. Nettles, PopMatters
"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."
‑ Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune
"Aall The Exorcist does is take its audience for a ride, spewing it out the other end, shaken up but none the wiser."
‑ Chris Peachment, Time Out
"William Friedkin's adaptation of William Peter Blatty's novel, with a screenplay by the author, is a dead-serious meditation on the struggle between good and evil."
‑ Enrique Fernandez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"A finely crafted thriller that benefits immensely from William Friedkin's controlled direction, William Peter Blatty's thematically fruitful script, Owen Roizman's imaginative camerawork and Dick Smith's startling makeup designs."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"This notorious battle between good and evil, nominated for eight Oscars when it was originally released in 1973, is both a hysteric scream and an intentional as well as unintentional hoot."
‑ Mark Halverson, Sacramento News & Review
More reviews for The Exorcist on Rotten Tomatoes

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