Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

The Exorcist (1973) Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 5.0

    out of 100

    Universal acclaim
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Re-released now in a digitally enhanced, sonically improved and slightly longer version, the movie is even better than it was in 1973.

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    Retains the power to turn heads -- and stomachs.

    Read Full Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Trendsetting shocker about a possessed child.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a mature horror film, not aimed at (or paced for) kids. No rock-music soundtracks or look-out-the-killer-is-behind-you scares, but rather an awful sense of corruption as demonic possession takes over an adolescent girl like a loathsome progressive disease. The infamous makeup effects of projectile vomiting and blood, blaspheming, and gutturally obscene language were meant to disturb the viewer as nothing before seen in movies, and they still convey solid shocks.

  • Families can talk about the film's religious and scientific overtones. Does Father Karras regain his religious faith in the finale, and how does he become almost Christlike? What do you think about the novel's suggestion that this might not be a "real" demon but rather some terrible but explicable mental disorder?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Technically the plot is about the redemption of the doubting Father Karras, who sacrifices himself to save a life, but it's the sense of evil in the film that stays with you. The "good" characters seem bewildered and powerless. Regan's mother refuses to even tell the girl's father what's been happening.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: The demonic Regan punches her mother and other investigators and (offscreen) brutally murders a man. She also mutilates herself, vomits blood, and in a famous moment, rotates her own head completely around. Another character falls fatally out a window and down a flight of steps.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Nothing seductive or titillating, but still intense, as the possessed girl lewdly propositions men, talks about oral sex, and is briefly shown rubbing a crucifix in her groin.

  • language false5

    Language: A little girl taken over by the devil doesn't hold back much in the cursing department.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Soft-drink signs, movie-company logos.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social imbibing, and a character is drunk at a party. Mention of pills and pot.