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The exorcist: Director's cut - Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, William Friedkin

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

There are noises in Regan MacNeill's (Linda Blair) room, an odd smell, the displacement of furniture and an icy chill. Easy explanations are offered, but then frightening changes start in the 11-year-old girl. Medical tests shed no light on her symptoms. is it possible that a demonic force is present in her?

Persons of interest

  • Linda Blair .... Regan MacNeil
  • Ellen Burstyn .... Chris MacNeil
  • Max von Sydow .... Father Lankester Merrin
  • Lee J Cobb .... Lieutenant William Kinderman
  • Kitty Winn .... Sharon Spencer
  • Jack MacGowran .... Burke Dennings
  • Jason Miller .... Father Damien Karras
  • Reverend William O'Malley .... Father Dyer
  • Barton Heyman .... Doctor Klein
  • Pete Masterson .... Barringer
  • Rudolf Schündler .... Karl
  • Gina Petrushka .... Willi
  • Robert Symonds .... Doctor Taney
  • William Peter Blatty .... Screenwriter
  • William Friedkin .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

  • The exorcist official movie site
  • Awards and film festivals:
    • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, USA: Golden Scroll: Best Horror Film, Make-Up (Dick Smith), Special Effects (Marcel Vercoutere)
    • Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS - Oscars) 1974: Won: Sound (Robert Knudson, Christopher Newman), Writing screenplay based on material from another medium (William Peter Blatty); Nominee: Actor (Ellen Burstyn), Art direction - set decoration (Bill Malley, Jerry Wunderlich), Cinematography (Owen Roizman), Director (William Friedkin), Editing (John C Broderick, Bud S Smith, Evan A Lottman, Norman Gay), Picture (William Peter Blatty), Supporting Actor (Jason Miller), (Linda Blair)
    • BAFTA (UK) 1975: Nominee: Sound Track (Christopher Newman, Jean-Louis Ducarme, Robert Knudson, Fred J Brown, Bob Fine, Ross Taylor, Ron Nagel, Doc Siegel, Gonzalo Gavira, Hal Landaker)
    • Cinematic Intelligence Agency Trenchcoat Awards 2002
    • Empire (UK) 1999: Movie masterpiece award
    • Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Golden Globes) 1974: Won: Director (William Friedkin), Motion Picture - Drama, Screenplay - Motion Picture (William Peter Blatty), Supporting Actor (Linda Blair); Nominee: Actor - Drama (Ellen Burstyn), Supporting Actor - Motion Picture (Max von Sydow), Most Promising Newcomer - Female (Linda Blair)
    • Golden Screen (Germany) 1978 : Golden Screen
    • Writers Guild of America 1974: Nominee: Drama adapted from another medium (William Peter Blatty)
  • Studios and distributors:

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

"Your mother sucks cocks in hell!"

If only to hear this line spoken, it's worth seeing The exorcist. It's almost as good as "Get away from her, you bitch!" (see Aliens).

There's a lot of other language in there, as well, mostly spewing from the mouth of Linda, making her the horror icon from Hell. Literally. The demonic stuff is now classic for the genre: talking in tongues, strange voices, psychokinesis, Catholic priests.

Is it just me or are there no Protestant demons?

Anyhoo, this flick's biggest failing is that it's 30 years old. Seventies fashion does not age well (21st century 70s retro doesn't capture the true polyester essence of the times), nor do the tricks of the trade. The long beginning is informative but boring. The flip-flop between horror scenes and normality scenes is too simple. Audiences are too well educated in cinematic forms to be taken over by William's work: Alien is just too well made for modern minds to fully accept the efforts of any film made before it and many made after it.

That said, there are some really (funny) wild bits, like projectile vomiting into a priest's mouth, that ensure that The exorcist will live on as a horror classic. It's an enjoyable night in with the lights turned off, though not as scary as the thought of Little Johnny Howard and his cohorts being re-elected - but what is?

Bonus points for the cushion delivered with the preview tape, specially designed for hiding behind while watching the film. A useful idea for you to copy.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby surround stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Commentary: William Friedkin
  • Picture: Widescreen (16:9, 1.85:1)
  • Trailers: Theatrical, TV spots, Radio spots

Security censorship classification

R 18+ (Adult themes, supernatural themes)

Surveillance time

126 minutes (2:06 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: 13 June 2001

Cinema surveillance images

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