This film speaks to our deepest fears. To be out of control is one thing, but to be demon possessed is terrifying!
Review by David Bruce


This page was created on October 13, 2000
This page was last updated on May 23, 2005

Something beyond comprehension is happening to a little girl on this street, in this house. A man has been called for as a last resort to try and save her. That man is The Exorcist.

Directed by William Friedkin
Writing credits William Peter Blatty

Ellen Burstyn .... Chris MacNeil
Max von Sydow .... Father Merrin
Lee J. Cobb .... Lieutenant Kinderman
Kitty Winn .... Sharon Spencer
Jack MacGowran .... Burke Dennings
Jason Miller .... Father Damien Karras
Linda Blair .... Regan MacNeil
Reverend William O'Malley .... Father Dyer
Barton Heyman .... Dr. Klein

Produced by William Peter Blatty, Noel Marshall (executive), David Salven (associate)
Original music by Jack Nitzsche
Non-original music by Mike Oldfield (from "Tubular Bells") Krzysztof Penderecki
Cinematography by Owen Roizman, Billy Williams (Iraq sequence)
Film Editing by Norman Gay, Evan Lottman, Bud Smith (Iraq sequences)

Rated PG

1. Iraq 2. "Georgetown/""Tubular Bells"" 3. "Five Pieces For Orchestra, OP10 4. Polymorphia 5. String Quartet 2. "Georgetown/""Tubular Bells"" 3. "Five Pieces For Orchestra, OP10 4. Polymorphia 5. String Quartet 6. Windharp 7. Night Of The Electric Insects 8. Kanon For Orchestra And Tape 9. Tubular Bells 10. Fantasia For Strings
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The idea for The Exorcist originated from Washington, DC, articles in 1949. The tale of a supposedly true exorcism case caught the eye of Georgetown University student William Peter Blatty, who decided to write a novel about demonic possession. However, it wasn't until 1967, with his screenwriting and literary career taking off, that Blatty was able to interest a publisher in his idea. Blatty completed his novel in 1970 and it was published by Harper & Row in 1971. The book was a smash hit, spending 55 weeks on the "New York Times" Bestseller List.

Imagine being a parent and coming to a point in your relationship with your daughter where you realize something beyond your control is happening to her.

Your daughter's behavior proves to be beyond the scope of the best doctors, medicine, and psychiatric treatment. And of what value is law enforcement in such a situation. You feel helpless.

Your last resort is to bring in a minister trained in the practice of exorcism. Imagine coming to the point at which you realize that some things are beyond human control. Imagine having to take action on your most unacceptable fear: that there is a devil, a Satanic evil force, which can and does do terrible things to us. Imagine admitting that there are forces more powerful than you or I.

Imagine having to confront this powerful Satanic evil. Imagine trying to make the demons go away.

Imagine for one brief second that you are the one possessed. It happens.

Question: How do you get rid of your demons? Perhaps your demons are more psychological. Perhaps your demons come from a difficult childhood. Perhaps you are a victim of an addiction, or a reoccurring nightmare. Perhaps your demons are of a spiritual nature. Again, the question: How do you deal with them?

The cure is always the same: With the help of God.

What is the real horror of The Exorcist?
#1. Is it that we can not always control life?
#2. That there maybe demonic forces?
#3. Or, is the real horror that we may have to submit to God?

Personally, I think the horror of The Exorcist is #3.
It is, in fact, the bottom line of the film.


-10th grade English teacher

I asked my sophomore high-school English classes what they thought was the scariest movie or TV show they had ever seen. I was expecting them to answer with the "Scream" movies or the slasher "Friday the 13th" gore-fests.

To my surprise, none of the 70 students picked any of those films. Selections such as George Romero's 1969 black and white classic "Night of the Living Dead" and Hitchcock's "Psycho" were mentioned a few times.

The overall vote getter, however, was "The Exorcist".

This really surprised me because I didn't even think that most high schoolers these days had even heard of this movie; let alone have a high opinion of it.

This led to a discussion about how psychological and imagined terror is much scarier in a film than the blood and guts that Hollywood's schlock factory likes to spew our way. Other honorable mentions were "Silence of the Lambs" and TV's "America's Most Wanted". Perhaps in this post-Columbine era; it is the real evil or perceived to be real evil that frightens teens more than a guy with a chainsaw.

on the evil teens face
and on demon possession

Alice Cooper: Prince Of Darkness/Lord Of Light
Lonn Friend, Editor In Chief

(Thoughts on the Columbine High School killers.)
We're always looking for societal scapegoats for these bad seeds.
We blamed television,
we blamed the movies,
as soon as Columbine happened everybody blamed the music:
Rammstein, Marilyn Manson.
That's absolutely insane,
because every other kid at that school listens to Rammstein and Manson,
every other kid at that school played the same games,
every other kid at that school watched the same movies,
so why didn't they kill everybody?
Why these two guys?
They obviously came from a home that was very abusive.
Oh, they didn't?
Well then, they must have been heavy drug users.
They weren't?
So where does that take us?
That takes us to the doorstep of demon possession and spiritual attack.
That's the only way I can explain these two guys.
They were born evil. They gave themselves over to it.
So, my explanation why these two guys killed is probably more feasible than anybody else's:
I think they were absolutely tools of the Devil.

Subject: Exorcist
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001

I have written a book, as God led me to do, about my personal testimony of demonic oppression and His love of me and His power to free me. What I endured for eight months makes the Exorcist look like a day at the beach. Praise God, I'm free!

Subject: Exorcist
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001
From: Stearn

First of all I would like to say that I love this film. I believe that this is the closest portrayal of satan that any movie has ever had. Satan is usually portrayed in movies as some middle aged man walking around in a suit and killing people. I don't think that is satan.

This film also shows that even christians have struggles with their faith. (Father Kerras) I don't think that it shows that christians are weak, and I don't think it glorifies evil. I believe that this movie shows the truth.

Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
From: Edward

Mr Bruce.
I do not understand the film The Exorcist's message. I do but I don't quite getthe way it is portrayed.

Firstly, how can the show be positive if it portrays 2 priests killed by Satan in their pursuit o conduct an exorcism? (It shows God, faith, and Satan as real)

Secondly, why didn't Satan go back to possessing the girl after he left the body of the jumping priest? (The story is based on a true story. I suppose the answer is in the spiritual realm and beyond our carnal logic).

Thirdly, is it possible for any believer in Christ to be possessed by Satan? I have always believed that the answer to that is a definite no because I think is a fact that once Jesus is in you, no demon can ever come in. I also truly believe that once one TRULY accepts Jesus, he will always be a follower of Jesus and be SAVED. ("Once saved always saved." Is that what you are saying? Hmmm, very Calvin of you. You have nice little logic boxes for your theology) Your comments on all these queries of mine?

Response: How it all works is a mystery to me. And I think I will keep it that way. I have met Christians who claimed to have been demon possessed as a believer. But, on the other hand I do know what you are talking about -the protection of being in Christ and all. The bottom line for me is to believe that God keeps me (Calvin) and that I need to endure to the end to be saved (Wesley). I like the tension between the two realities. -David

Subject: "bad" is an opinion
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000
From: Jessi Marie

I have not actually seen The Exorcist. But I would like to respond to Matt Newell's comments in "bad movie". One small thing first- doesn't the Bible basically say that men are born evil? But mainly, I disagree with a very common viewpoint, especially among Christians- that the word "dark" is synonymous with "evil". "Darkness" itself is a matter of tone. I am by nature somewhat of a melancholy person. The art, movies, music, etc. that I am drawn to and can relate deeply with is generally somewhat "dark"- meaning they focus on human emotions such as fear, alienation, anger, disillusionment- you know, the ugly stuff that no one wants to admit they feel. But ignoring these emotions does not make them go away. I personally don't get anything from art that puts on a fake smiley face and pretends that nothing is wrong. I don't believe that there is anything unbiblical about experiencing these emotions, or about expressing them in a tasteful and artistic way. And one last thing- anger itself is an emotion, not a sin. Several instances in the Bible show Jesus getting angry. I believe that the sin comes from what one does with that anger. Please, next time, consider before you condemn something. Is it truly unbiblical, or is it simply something not considered "acceptable" by the general church public?
- Jessi Marie

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000
From: your pet monkey Bingo

I would like to point out that regarding a comment previously mentioned that the the boys involved in the Columbine shooting weren't born evil. We are all born with a sinful nature. It is only by the grace of God that we aren't are the "psychotic killers" that we talk about and fear.
Hi! My name's Bingo!
I like to climb on things! Can I have a banana? Eeek! Eeek!

Subject: bad movie.
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000
From: "Newel, Matt"

I disagree with the comment about this being a good movie. I believe there is nothing good to recieve from watching it. It completely glorifies satan and darkness, and makes the priest (Catholic or Christian) is made to look like a weakling.The Priest represents the Church, and believers in Christ as weak. I have personally seen demons cast out of people. The process is nothing like portayed in the movie. The Pastors I have seen pray over demon posessed people did it with Power and Authority in Jesus' name. Jesus did all things in Power and Authority. Never back down. None of these pastors took a demon on themselves. And I disagree with Alice Cooper. Nobody is born evil. A person becomes evil by opening their heart to darkness which can be caused by looking at dark movies, music, actions, drugs, anger, bitterness and of course just plain witchcraft. I dont recommend this movie for anybody.

Response: The point of the film is there is a very real evil in the world. And second, the only ones in the film that could deal with it were "pastors." It is not a so-called Satanic film that is anti-Church. This film hits our culture in a powerful way because it is a counter to our modernist ways. It is a post-modern film before its time. It says there is something more in life than what we see in the test tube. I am sorry you missed the signicance of this film within its cultural setting. Also, I doubt that the pastors you have seen deal with real Evil in such a flip way as you seem to suggest. Dealing with certain demonic Evil is no easy task. It can take its toll on a pastor. Writing as a pastor I can tell you that you have little idea what it is truly like. -David

Subject: The Exorcist
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000
From: Aiw kid

Well, I just had to post a comment on this film after what so many Christians have said about it. When the film first came out Billy Graham threw every negative comment he could pitch at this movie. Billy obviously did not understand the film, and he was one of the most famous preachers in our time! This film, as the director put it, is about the struggle between good over evil.

Regean (did I spell her name right?) is this sweet, adorable 12 year old who likes to paint and draw. She's a normal kid. But she decides to make the foolish decision of playing with a Ouja board. She begins experiencing odd things like wetting the floor, a shaking bed, a greenish appearance, flying objects darting around her room. She has no control over this at all and wants it all to stop.

After talking to doctors and psychiatrists, her mother finally decides to talk to a priest. The priest is struggling with his faith while another priest is researching demons and possession. They both go to Regean's (I think I got the spelling down now) room only to be vomited upon, cursed at, and (to one of them) killed. The other priest in hatred over his dead companion lunges toward Regean shouting, "TAKE ME, TAKE ME!" Suddenly Regean starts crying in her normal voice, crying out for her mother. The priest's face turns a horrid yellow, indicating that he's become possessed. He struggles to conquer over his possession and realizing he can't, jumps out the window to end it all.

But of course, Satan can be clever at times because right before the priest jumps out the window he is no longer possessed. Now both priests are dead, Regean is cured, and life is back to normal. Good has triumphed over evil just as Jesus triumphed over Satan when He rose again. Satan will do anything to keep us astray from Christ, even posses an innocent young girl. The Exorcist shows this in such a realistic manner that you sometimes forget it's a film you're watching.

Billy Graham over looked the fact that this film was not made to gross you out or to make you scared of entering a dark corridor, it's about the challenge of faith, and how good ALWAYS wins, even if it may not seem that way. Jesus went to Hell for 3 days after His death and Satan actually thought he had Him now. That is, until Jesus rose again. Satan knows he's a loser and can never win but he tries anyway. I encourage everyone to see this film in a new perspective and look deeper into it's spiritual meaning.

The Exorcist © 2000 Warner Bros. All rights reserved