"The Exorcist" (1973) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #77 Gem Mint 10.0


“The Exorcist“ (1973) Both Theatrical & Director's Cut

Director: William Friedkin

Writer: William Peter Blatty (screenplay & novel)

Starring: Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, Jack MacGowran, Kitty Winn, Lee J. Cobb

Rated: R for strong language and disturbing images

Runtime: 2h 2min

Genre: Horror

Country: USA

Language: English | Latin | Greek | French | German | Arabic | Kurdish


When a 12-year-old girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her.


You might like this if you like: Horror, Exorcism, Classic Horror Films, William Friedkin('s work), Thrillers, Possessed Movies, Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow, Jack MacGowran, Kitty Winn, Lee J. Cobb


Linda Blair (left) & Ellen Burstyn (right) in "The Exorcist" (1973)


The Exorcist” (1973) might be my favorite horror film of all time. It’s a masterpiece in cinema that set a bar for the genre in more ways than I can explain.

For years I grew up with stories from my late mom who would tell me multiple times about how she had seen “The Exorcist” (1973) in theaters and how terrifying it was to walk home alone that night. She made it out like she had been genuinely traumatized by it and that frightened me for years!


Ellen Burstyn in "The Exorcist" (1973)

When I had finally bared down and watched the film I was blown away! I had was in my late teens and had become a pretty avid fan of the horror genre and was just amazed at how well it still holds up.

Ellen Burstyn I had studied a lot simultaneously in college as my professor, Ed Kaplan, had directed a TV movie with her as the lead called “Trick of the Eye” (1994) which I consistently borrowed his DVD copy of. She’s a star among stars and brings the hammer down as my top choice for best performances in the genre of all time.


"The Exorcist" (1973)

The entire cast is really the magnificence of this movie for me. Just some of the highest caliber of actors you could have for a horror movie. The effects still feel ahead of its time! Linda Blair’s makeup and special effects are out of this world! Seeing how much she went through as a child to make that movie is a feat just to watch.


It was only after watching it did I discover how loved it was by the Academy! Nominated for 10 Oscars?! Including winning Best Screenplay? I was so happy to see a genre film like that be recognized so greatly.


About a year later, after finally watching the film, I’d been working at a Film Society as their projectionist and discovered that I had been working alongside who I thought was truly one of the greatest actress I’d ever seen, co-star of “The Exorcist” (1973); Kitty Winn.


Kitty Winn in"The Exorcist" (1973)


She was the well deserved Cannes Film Festival Award Winner for Lead Actress in “The Panic in Needle Park” (1971) featuring Al Pacino in his very first feature film as well as starting in other notable films and shows like “Kojak” and alongside actor Michael Caine in “Peeper” (1975).


You can see my review for "The Panic in Needle Park" (1971) here:

https://www.samgallmoviereviews.com/post/the-panic-in-needle-park-1971-sam-gall-movie-review-issue-27-gem-mint-10-0


I had only known her as Kitty when working at a Film Society for a few months and upon realizing who she was I began to have to hold back a long time of fandom, respect and appreciation. Especially for her beautiful amount kindness, her lack of boasting and passion for what she does.


When we started working more closely together on a Young Filmmaker’s competition, I began to ask her about her experiences as an actress and in particular; “The Exorcist” (1973).


The craziest thing? Kitty Winn, to this day, has not and will not, see her film “The Exorcist” (1973). I remember her telling me she had gotten a phone call from her brother on opening night saying that he had passed out and it frightened her into wanting to see the film. Both “The Exorcist” (1973) and “The Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977) were acting opportunities for Kitty Winn, especially with director of “The Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977); John Boorman. After doing a few films and work in television in the 70s and 80s, Kitty Winn decided on focusing on building a family and her true love; the theater. As well as helping out young and aspiring filmmakers like me! I had the lovely pleasure of getting to see Kitty in a fantastic theatrical adaptation of “On Golden Pond”.


Kitty Winn

Been such an honor getting to know and work with you, Kitty, for all these years! Thank you for everything you’ve taught me. Hoping for more collaborations soon!

Check out “The Exorcist” (1973) now! A terrifying and fitting watch for October! My favorite horror film hands down! Okay, next to John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1981) but still.. if you haven’t.. go watch this one! If not for me, for Kitty!


Written by Sam Gall on 10/13/20


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"The makeup is still top-notch and spectacularly chilling, paired perfectly with puppetry and repulsive props for several of the most alarming cinematic shots." - Mike Massie, Gone With The Twins


"A finely crafted thriller that benefits immensely from William Friedkin's controlled direction, William Peter Blatty's thematically fruitful script, Owen Roizman's imaginative camerawork and Dick Smith's startling makeup designs." - Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing


"The Exorcist not only tops the horror genre but transcends it, resulting in a profound experience where moviemaking horror, thrillingly dramatic storytelling and deeply felt spirituality of the Catholic kind make for pivotal viewing." - Matthew Pejkovic, Matt's Movie Reviews


"When I first saw The Exorcist, I saw only the literal side of the story. But as I watched it again, I began to view the movie as a dark fairy tale about a parent whose child is experiencing a painful trauma." - Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel


"Without a doubt, "The Exorcist" is a touchstone in horror, seemingly incapable of taking a wrong step. Watching with the lights off is strongly encouraged. Turning them back on immediately afterwards will be a necessity." - Dustin Putman, TheFrightfile.com


Official Trailer:


Wonderful documentary on the behind the scenes of "The Exorcist" (1973) that may deserve it's own review:


Available on various VOD platforms

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