Shari Saavedra

Written by Shari Saavedra

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The Exorcist is a classic horror film that has captivated audiences since its release in 1973. Directed by William Friedkin and based on the novel by William Peter Blatty, the movie follows the gripping story of a young girl named Regan who becomes possessed by a demonic entity. With its chilling atmosphere, intense performances, and shocking special effects, The Exorcist has become a landmark in the horror genre, leaving a lasting impact on both critics and viewers. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of The Exorcist and uncover 46 facts that you may not know about this iconic film. From the behind-the-scenes stories to the controversies surrounding its release, get ready to discover intriguing details about one of the most influential and terrifying movies of all time.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Exorcist” is a classic horror film based on a true story, known for its terrifying effects and intense performances. It sparked a surge in interest in exorcisms and remains influential in the horror genre.
  • The movie’s iconic scenes, realistic effects, and haunting soundtrack made “The Exorcist” a cultural phenomenon. It received critical acclaim, awards, and even inspired a theme park attraction, solidifying its status as a horror classic.
Table of Contents

The Exorcist was inspired by a true story.

The movie is based on a real-life exorcism case that occurred in 1949 involving a young boy known as Roland Doe.

It took 10 years for the novel to be adapted into a film.

William Peter Blatty’s novel, on which the movie is based, was published in 1971, and the film was released in 1973.

The Exorcist received 10 Academy Award nominations.

The movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress, among others.

The iconic vomit scene was made using pea soup.

In one of the film’s most famous scenes, Linda Blair’s character projectile vomits. The substance used was pea soup.

The Exorcist is known for its realistic special effects.

The movie utilized groundbreaking practical effects to create the terrifying and supernatural elements, which were considered highly realistic for that time.

It caused a sensation during its release.

The Exorcist became a cultural phenomenon upon its release, with reports of people fainting or becoming physically ill while watching the film.

Linda Blair, who played Regan, had to wear a back brace.

To achieve the demonic contortions of her character, Linda Blair had to wear a back brace during certain scenes.

The movie’s budget was $12 million.

At the time, The Exorcist was one of the most expensive films ever made.

The Exorcist soundtrack was composed by Mike Oldfield.

The haunting theme music, known as “Tubular Bells,” was composed by Mike Oldfield and became a chart-topping hit.

The film created a surge in interest in exorcisms.

Following the release of The Exorcist, there was a significant increase in public interest in exorcisms and demonic possession.

The Exorcist was the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

This groundbreaking nomination solidified the film’s impact on the genre.

The famous line “The power of Christ compels you!” is said 11 times throughout the movie.

This memorable line has become synonymous with the film and is often parodied in popular culture.

The film was banned in several countries.

Due to its explicit content and themes, The Exorcist faced bans and heavy censorship in multiple countries.

The Exorcist was the highest-grossing film of 1973.

Despite its controversial content, the movie became a box office success and surpassed all other films released that year.

The film’s director, William Friedkin, wanted it to be as realistic as possible.

He even had priests on set to bless the crew and ensure their safety.

The Exorcist was re-released in 2000 with additional scenes.

The re-release, known as “The Version You’ve Never Seen,” included 11 minutes of previously unseen footage.

The Exorcist won 2 Academy Awards.

The film won awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing.

The demon possessing Regan was given the name Pazuzu.

Pazuzu is an ancient Assyrian and Babylonian demon considered to be the king of demons of the wind.

The haunting theme song “Tubular Bells” was originally composed for the film.

The song was written specifically for The Exorcist and later gained popularity as a standalone piece.

The Exorcist was initially given an X rating.

The explicit and disturbing content of the film led to it receiving an X rating, which was later changed to an R rating.

The Exorcist was the first horror film to be nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards.

This recognition was a significant milestone for the horror genre.

The movie features a famous spider-walk scene.

In an eerie and chilling moment, Regan Crabwalks down the stairs, which was achieved by special effects and a body double.

The Exorcist is known for its slow-building tension.

The film expertly creates a sense of dread and anticipation, building up to its shocking and terrifying climax.

The Exorcist had a profound influence on future horror films.

Many subsequent horror movies drew inspiration from The Exorcist, and its impact on the genre is still felt today.

The movie’s release was met with protests.

Due to its controversial subject matter, religious groups protested against the film’s release in various cities.

The film’s makeup department won an Academy Award.

The Exorcist won the Oscar for Best Makeup, recognizing the exceptional and realistic makeup effects.

The Exorcist was nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes.

This nomination further solidified the film’s critical acclaim and impact.

The Exorcist has multiple sequels and spin-offs.

The success of the original film led to several follow-up movies and television series based on the demonic possession theme.

The Exorcist was initially met with mixed reviews from critics.

While some critics praised the movie’s innovation and terror, others found it too disturbing and exploitative.

The Exorcist was shot in different locations, including Georgetown University.

The infamous staircase scene was filmed at Georgetown University’s iconic “Exorcist Steps.

The Exorcist was preserved in the National Film Registry.

This preservation ensures the film’s historical and cultural significance will be maintained for future generations.

The Exorcist is known for its intense and realistic performances.

The actors’ portrayals of terror and possession were considered groundbreaking at the time.

Frank Sinatra’s daughter, Nancy Sinatra, auditioned for the role of Regan.

Ultimately, Linda Blair was chosen for the role, which became a defining moment in her career.

The Exorcist sparked a renewed interest in supernatural horror.

Following its release, supernatural horror movies experienced a surge in popularity and became a prominent subgenre.

The Exorcist has been praised for its intelligent storytelling.

Despite its terrifying content, the film is acclaimed for its exploration of faith and the nature of evil.

The Exorcist has iconic poster art.

The movie’s promotional poster, featuring the silhouette of the possessed Regan, has become an iconic image in the horror genre.

The film’s release led to increased demand for the book.

The popularity of The Exorcist film caused the novel to skyrocket in sales and become a bestseller.

The Exorcist has been remade for television.

In 2016, a television series adaptation of The Exorcist premiered, paying homage to the original film.

The Exorcist has a significant cult following.

The film has amassed a dedicated fanbase over the years, with countless fan theories and discussions surrounding its themes and symbolism.

The Exorcist was praised for its sound design.

The movie’s chilling sound effects and eerie silence greatly contributed to its atmospheric and suspenseful moments.

The Exorcist was the first horror film to win an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

This achievement solidified the film’s importance and influence in the horror genre.

The film was the highest-grossing R-rated movie until 2017.

For over 40 years, The Exorcist held the title of the highest-grossing R-rated film, until it was surpassed by “It” in 2017.

The Exorcist inspired a theme park attraction.

In collaboration with Warner Bros., Universal Studios created “The Exorcist: The Ride,” a horror-themed amusement park experience.

The Exorcist was the first horror film to be nominated for Best Sound at the Academy Awards.

This nomination highlighted the film’s exceptional sound design and atmospheric qualities.

The Exorcist continues to be referenced in popular culture.

The film’s impact is still felt today, with references and homages appearing in television shows, movies, and music.

The Exorcist remains one of the most influential horror films of all time.

Its enduring legacy and impact on the genre solidify its position as a true horror classic.


In conclusion, The Exorcist is not only a legendary horror film, but it also holds a significant place in cinema history. Its impact on the genre and its ability to terrify audiences is undeniable. The movie’s production was plagued with numerous challenges and controversies, but it ultimately became a critical and commercial success. The performance of Linda Blair as Regan and the exceptional direction of William Friedkin contributed greatly to its enduring popularity. The Exorcist remains a must-watch for horror enthusiasts, and its influence can still be felt in the genre today. So, if you dare, prepare yourself for a terrifying journey into the depths of demonic possession with The Exorcist.


Q: Is The Exorcist based on a true story?

A: Yes, The Exorcist is loosely inspired by a real-life exorcism case that took place in Maryland in 1949.

Q: Why was The Exorcist considered controversial?

A: The Exorcist was considered controversial due to its graphic and disturbing content, particularly the scenes involving possession and exorcism.

Q: Did anything supernatural happen during the production of The Exorcist?

A: There were several reports of strange occurrences during the filming of The Exorcist, leading some to believe the set was cursed.

Q: Did the movie win any awards?

A: Yes, The Exorcist received 10 Academy Award nominations and won two for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing.

Q: Are there any sequels or spin-offs of The Exorcist?

A: Yes, there have been several sequels, prequels, and spin-offs of The Exorcist, although none have achieved the same level of critical acclaim as the original film.

If you found these facts about The Exorcist intriguing, there's even more to explore. Delve into the chilling world of The Exorcist III, where the horror continues with a new cast of characters and terrifying twists. Uncover behind-the-scenes secrets, surprising connections to the original film, and the enduring impact of this iconic horror franchise. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a curious newcomer, these additional facts will keep you captivated and eager to learn more about the legacy of The Exorcist.

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