Parents' Guide to

The Exorcist

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Trendsetting shocker about a possessed child.

Movie R 1973 132 minutes
The Exorcist Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 62 parent reviews

age 17+

A horror classic, but keep it away from kids!

Any parent should keep this movie away from kids. It may be a classic, but it’s a mature classic. This movie is very complex when it comes to religion, but also incredibly scary to some people to this day. When I saw it, I found it shocking after seeing it and thinking about how both the story and the horror develop slowly, bit by bit, which makes it more scary to many audiences. Regan’s look gets worse and worse throughout the film, but what’s more scary is the sound. The demons inside Regan sound scary and Regan even talks to one of the ministers in his mother’s voice, who died during the film. This is one of the incidents that makes it not for the faint of heart. What makes it scary most of all, though, are the scenes involving Regan possessed and lying in her bed not moving or saying anything. The audience members don’t know what she’s going to do next: just talk quietly, make noises, or go on a loud rant. However, it is dated, being from 1973, and therefore may not be exceptionally scary to today’s audiences. The film is very well-made, especially for a early ‘70s film, but it is not for everyone, and it is not like any other film I have ever seen, not only because of its mature and complex themes and the fact that it took a lot of time to get scary and to the story, but also because it is extremely unpredictable.
age 11+

People claim that this is one of the scariest horror movies of all time but for me at least it wasn’t that bad. The gore is much less than in modern horror flicks and it’s not that scary. It is however quite good.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (62 ):
Kids say (163 ):

This shockingly violent film was reported to have made audience members faint when it first came out in the 1970s. Director William Friedkin defined the modern horror genre with The Exorcist, using perversion and brutality as key traits. Thanks in part to Blair's wrenching, Oscar-nominated performance, the film was a huge hit, earning 10 times its $10 million budget -- a then-lavish sum for a horror flick. Movie historians cite it (along with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) as the conclusive end of old-school spook shows featuring Dracula and Frankenstein and bobbing rubber bats. The moans, snarls, and profane words from Regan (most are actually the dubbed-in voice of a well-known older actress, Mercedes McCambridge) amount to some of the most chilling audio ever done for film. And the infamous effects of projectile vomit and blood, blaspheming, and general obscenity remain as disturbing today as ever.

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