The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 exorcism of Roland Doe, deals with the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother's attempts to win back her child through an exorcism conducted by two priests.
The film features Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb, and (in voice only) Mercedes McCambridge. It is one of a cycle of "demonic child" films produced from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, including Rosemary's Baby and The Omen.
The Exorcist was released theatrically in the United States by Warner Bros. on December 26, 1973. The film earned ten Academy Award nominations, winning two (Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay). It became one of the highest-grossing films of all time, grossing over $441 million worldwide. It is also the first horror film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
The film has had a significant influence on popular culture. It was named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly, Movies.com and by viewers of AMC in 2006, the best horror film of all time by website Time Out, and was No. 3 on Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. In 2010, the Library of Congress selected the film to be preserved as part of its National Film Registry.