The Exorcist

Trivia: In the scene where Regan's mother is supernaturally blasted away from the bedside, she is being yanked by the crew by a length of rope. After dozens of takes director William Friedkin was still unhappy with the look of the shot and ordered the crew to haul her more fiercely. The scream in the shot that made the cut was of genuine pain and required no dubbing for effect.


Trivia: The vomit that Linda Blair spewed was actually split-pea soup. Specifically, the effects crew decided to use Anderson's split-pea soup because Campbell's split-pea soup wasn't green enough.


Trivia: According to writer William Peter Blatty, the shooting of the film was supposed to be about 90 days long. It ended up being shot in about 210 days. He states that 'strange and sinister things happened from the very beginning.'.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Trivia: To do the scenes in the bedroom when it is so cold you can see the air coming out of their mouths, the director had the set built in a huge freezer.


Trivia: Author and writer of the book and script William Peter Blatty has a cameo early in this film. He plays the producer trying to have a word with director Burke Dennings on the movie set before Burke turns his attention to Chris MacNeil. William Peter Blatty is the middle eastern-looking guy with the black hair and moustache, which is natural since his mother is originally from Lebanon.

Allister Cooper, 2011

Trivia: Was the highest-grossing R-rated film for about ten years until it was unseated by "Beverly Hills Cop" on March 1984.


Trivia: The Prospect Avenue apartment where the story takes place was once inhabited by the author, William Peter Blatty, while he was a student at Georgetown University. The house is at the corner of 36th and Prospect.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: The nurse who comes into Dr. Taney's office after the arteriogram is actress Linda Blair's mother.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: The scream of the demon being thrown out of Linda Blair was actually created by recording squealing pigs being driven into slaughter.

Trivia: During production of "The Exorcist," director William Friedkin abandoned the movie's original musical score (by Lalo Schifrin), and he turned to Atlantic Records for replacement music. During a visit to Atlantic Records, Friedkin picked up a random white-label recording, listened to its intro, and immediately wanted it in his movie. That random white-label recording was "Tubular Bells" by 19-year-old musician Mike Oldfield (his very first album). Although Friedkin used just a scant few seconds of Oldfield's music at only two points in the movie, "Tubular Bells" became a popular sensation, selling many millions of copies by virtue of its association to Friedkin's film. The enormous success of "Tubular Bells" made Mike Oldfield a worldwide star overnight. It was also the very first album released by Virgin Records (a young Richard Branson had provided the studio and equipment for Oldfield's work). Ironically, Mike Oldfield said he wouldn't watch "The Exorcist" because he heard it was too scary.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: William Friedkin's first choice for the role of Chris MacNeil was Audrey Hepburn, but she would only take the role if filming would take place in Rome. Anne Bancroft was another considered actress, but once it was known that she was pregnant, she was dropped.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: William O'Malley, who plays Father Dyer, is an actual Jesuit priest who taught at Fordham Prep, a Jesuit high school.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: For the scene in which Father Dyer rushes to give last rites to Father Karras before his death, actor William O'Malley (who played Dyer) was not conveying the urgency, anxiety and grief that director William Friedkin wanted for the scene. According to O'Malley, William Friedkin grabbed O'Malley by the shoulders, screamed and cursed in his face and slapped him before rolling the camera. Thus, O'Malley was authentically shaken up, trembling and on the verge of sobbing in that scene.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: After the demon moves into Father Karras' body, for a few frames you can see the flicker of an image of his mother's face in the window. This is probably what prompts him to leap out the window to save Regan.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Trivia: When Regan vomits on Father Karras, Jason Miller was informed that the vomit would land on his chest. However, director William Friedkin intended the vomit to land in his face so that Miller's reaction would be more genuine. Miller was absolutely furious after this scene and stormed off the set.

Trivia: This was the first horror film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Trivia: While rumors of many deaths and strange events surrounding The Exorcist's production were largely fabricated and/or sensationalized for publicity purposes, two of the film's actors did in fact die before the movie was released. The character of Burke Dennings was killed in the film, and the actor who played him, Jack MacGowran, died of influenza shortly after completing his role. Likewise, the character of Mary Karras (elderly mother of Fr. Damien Karras) died in the film, and the actress who portrayed her, Vasiliki Maliaros, also died of natural causes shortly after completing her role.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: Actress Eileen Dietz doubled for Linda Blair in many of the film's possession sequences, including the infamous projectile-vomiting scene. Dietz, however, received no screen credit for her work, and she later unsuccessfully sued Warner Brothers and the film makers for puking credits.

Charles Austin Miller

Trivia: The Exorcist was filmed before the steadicam had been invented, so to show actors going upstairs toward the demonic bedroom, a makeshift seat-swing was designed using pulleys and rope, and guided by crew. The handheld shot was revolutionary for the time.


Visible crew/equipment: Near the beginning of the movie, the old priest is in Northern Iraq and you can see the shadow of a microphone on his hat.

More mistakes in The Exorcist

Regan MacNeil: You're going to die up there.

More quotes from The Exorcist

Question: What was in the attic if there weren't any rats making the noises?

Answer: It was the demon moving objects around. This is seen later as well when object in Regan's bedroom are manipulated.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Why doesn't the mother freak out when Regan is showing how to use the ouija board and the planchette moves into Regans hands by itself? It magically slides across the board into Regans hands by itself, and the mother isn't particularly startled by it? Doesn't make sense to me.

The movement of the planchette was so fast during Regan's insistence that it can be operated by one person that her mother thought Regan "must" have somehow done it.

Erik M.
More questions & answers from The Exorcist

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.