The Exorcist is indeed a 1973 supernatural horror movie directed by William Friedkin and adapted on William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel of the same title. Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran (in his penultimate performance), Jason Miller, and Linda Blair feature inside the movie. It will be the first picture in The Exorcist movie franchise, so it tells the storey of a little girl who is possessed by a demon, as well as her mother’s attempt to save her through an exorcism performed by a pair of Catholic priests.
Despite the book’s success, Blatty, who produced it, and Friedkin, who was his choice for director, had trouble casting it. After rejecting down, or being rejected down by, prominent stars of the day, they cast Burstyn, a relative unknown, as well as unknowns Blair and Miller (author of a popular play with really no movie acting experience); studio bosses at Warner Bros. Pictures were vehemently opposed to the casting selections. It was extremely tough to photograph the main characters. A fire destroyed the majority of the set, while on-set mishaps left Blair and Burstyn with long-term injuries. In the end, the manufacturing took twice as long as expected and cost more than twice as much as anticipated.
In late December 1973, The Exorcist was released in 24 cinemas across the United States and Canada. Scenes wherein the protagonist suffers a genuine cerebral angiography and afterwards forcefully masturbates with such a crucifix caused some viewers to have bodily symptoms such as fainting or vomiting. There have been reports of heart attacks and miscarriages, as well as a psychiatric magazine has published a study on “cinematic neurosis” prompted by the movie.
Many children were permitted to view the picture, prompting accusations that the MPAA ratings body bowed to Warner Bros. by awarding it an R-rating rather than the X-rating it merited in order to assure its economic success. Several localities sought to outright prohibit it or make it illegal for minors to attend.