The Exorcist – Review

It could be argued that this should not be on this site. Technically, The Exorcist was never banned.  It had been given a full UK cinema release and even had an early video release. But when the Video Recordings Act 1984 came into effect, the film was resubmitted for a certificated video release. Despite the support of a majority of the board, James Ferman, the Director Of The Board, was concerned that even with an 18 certificate, the notoriety of the film would lead children to seek it out. With this being the case, all video copies were withdrawn and the film would not see another release until 1999, the same year that we also got a full uncut release of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The Exorcist is possibly the most famous horror film of all time. It is the story of a little girl called Regan, who becomes possessed by a demon. Her mother, Chris, tries all she can to help her daughter and after medical and psychological attempts fail, she enlists the help of two priests, Father Damien Karras and Father Lankester Merrin to help her save her daughter.

To classify The Exorcist as purely a horror film is possibly doing it a great disservice. There is more to it that that. It is a drama, a meditation on faith and an example of the science vs. religion debate. It has depth, meaning and, if you will pardon the pun, soul. Written by William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the novel on which the film is based, it is a story by a man who is struggling with his faith and used it as a way to present that.


It is also, maybe somewhat surprisingly, a truly beautiful film. In terms of writing, acting and cinematography, the film is a grand production. It is a film that requires your attention. It is  a film that presents characters to you that you will care about. It is shocking, frightening and considering the subject matter, strangely real.

Is it the scariest film ever made? By the standards of today, probably not. But it is more than that. It is a incredibly well made film. It may be slow for some people, but it is necessary. It is vital that the characters go through everything they do so the climax has meaning. This is most certainly one of those films that needs to be seen. It may not hold the power it did for new audiences, but it is still a stunningly well made movie.


Not at all. It is a strong film, but considering that the only reason the film disappeared for 15 years was due to one man worrying about children seeing it. If that idea applied to films now, we would see so many movies banned. The fact that a majority of the board were willing to grant a release shows they were more level headed. The Exorcist is not, and never was worthy of a ban.


One thought on “The Exorcist – Review

  1. […] The Exorcist is an interesting case. Firstly, if I may be allowed to editorialise, it is truly of the best movies ever made. It is smart, well acted, well written and beautifully shot. Is it as scary as some would suggest? Probably not by today’s standards, but that does not stop it from being startlingly effective. Now, back on to the topic at hand. As mentioned, The Exorcist did actually have a home video release in the early 1980s. But, when the BBFC created the Video Recordings Act 1984, it required all home releases to carry an age rating on its packaging. When submitted, The Exorcist was denied a release by then BBFC director James Ferman, despite the fact the rest of the board were willing to grant it an 18 certificate, a rating it rightfully still carries today. […]


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