Based on the 1971 novel by William Peter Blatty, The Exorcist marries three scenarios into one plot.

The movie opens with Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) on an archaeological dig in Al-hadar near Nineveh in Iraq. He is then brought to a near-by hole where a small stone is found, resembling a grimacing, bestial creature. After talking to one of his supervisors, Merrin then travels to a spot where a strange statue stands, specifically Pazuzu, with a head similar to the one he found earlier.

Meanwhile, Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller), a young priest at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother's terminal sickness.

In the central storyline, Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn), an actress filming in Georgetown, notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior of her 12-year-old daughter Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair). Regan first has a seizure, then exhibits strange, unnatural powers, including levitation and great strength. She often curses and blasphemes in a demonic male voice. At first, Chris believes that Regan's changes are related to the trauma of Chris's recent divorce, but doctors suspect a lesion in her brain. Regan is forced to endure a series of unpleasant medical tests. When X-rays show nothing out of the ordinary, a doctor advises that Regan be taken to a psychiatrist, whom she assaults. Paranormal occurrences continue to surround the MacNeil household, including a violently shaking bed, strange noises and unexplained movements. The director of Chris MacNeil's film is found brutally murdered after being asked to babysit for Regan.

When all medical explanations are exhausted, a doctor recommends exorcism, suggesting that if Regan's symptoms are a psychosomatic result of a belief in demonic possession, then perhaps an exorcism would likewise have the psychosomatic effect of ending them. In desperation, Chris consults Father Karras, since he is both a priest and a psychiatrist. Regan claims she is not possessed by a demon but by Satan himself. Despite his doubts, Karras decides to request permission from the Church to conduct an exorcism.

Father Merrin, an archaeologist and also an experienced exorcist, is summoned to Washington to help. In a climactic series of scenes, he and Father Karras try to drive the spirit from Regan.[5] At the climax of the exorcism, the demon threatens and taunts both priests, both physically and verbally, and Father Merrin dies of a heart attack. Father Karras attempts to perform CPR but to no avail. Regan giggles as Karras tries to save Merrin. Karras strikes her and chokes her, challenging the demon to leave Regan and enter him. The demon does so, whereupon the priest throws himself through Regan's bedroom window and falls down the steps outside. At the bottom, a devastated Father Dyer (and friend of Father Karras) administers last rites as Father Karras dies. Regan is restored to health and does not appear to remember her ordeal. The film ends as Chris and Regan leave Georgetown and their trauma behind.

Duration
1 min 48 sec

Views
40,322

Posted On
January 10, 2010
Director
William Friedkin

Writer
William Friedkin

Studio
Warner Bros Pictures

Release
December 26, 1973
Cast
Ellen Burstyn
Linda Blair
Max von Sydow
Jason Miller
Lee J. Cobb
Trailer Tracks
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