The Exorcist script
The Exorcist (1973)
Synopsis: One of the most profitable horror movies ever made, this tale of an exorcism is based loosely on actual events. When young Regan (Linda Blair) starts acting odd -- levitating, speaking in tongues -- her worried mother (Ellen Burstyn) seeks medical help, only to hit a dead end. A local priest (Jason Miller), however, thinks the girl may be seized by the devil. The priest makes a request to perform an exorcism, and the church sends in an expert (Max von Sydow) to help with the difficult job.

EXTERIOR- IRAQ- EXCATVATION SITE- NINEVEH- DAY

Pickaxes and shovels weld into the air as hundreds of excavators

tear at the desert. The camera pans around the area where

hundreds of Iraqi workmen dig for ancient finds. The caption

Northern Iraq appears at the bottom of the screen as the digging

continues. The camera then follows a young boy running bare foot

over the rocky mounds. He comes to a stop and the camera is

positioned in between the boys legs looking at and aging man also

digging.

YOUNG BOY:

(In Iraqi language)

They've found something... small pieces.

MERRIN:

(In Iraqi language)

Where?

YOUNG BOY:

(In Iraqi language)

At the base of the mound.

The boy runs off and the old man pulls himself to his feet to

follow. The old man walks to the base of the mound where another

man who looks in command is there to greet him.

MAN:

(In Iraqi language)

Some interesting finds. Lamps, arrow-heads, coins...

The old man picks up an old pendant and holds it up.

MERRIN:

(In Iraqi language)

This is strange!

The man dusts the pendant and takes a look.

MAN:

(In Iraqi language)

Not of the same period.

The old man reaches into a hole in the rock, moving and re-

arranging small rocks to see what he can find. He grabs a pickaxe

and scrapes out a small sculpted piece of rock crushed into

another. The man takes a dust brush from the man's pocket and

brushes some dust from the sculpted rock. As the dust is swept we

see that it is a face. The old man recognises it and looks

worried. He brakes the sculpted rock away from the ordinary rock

and takes a good look at it.

EXTERIOR- IRAQ- MARKET PLACE- DAY

An Iraqi man walks through the noisy crowd with a tray and up to

the old man's table. He puts the drink on the table and watches

as the old man opens a small pendant full of pills and puts one

into his mouth. The old man is trembling with fear as he downs

his drink. He puts the glass down and looks at the people around

him. The man with the tray comes back to the old man's table and

picks up the glass.

MAN WITH TRAY:

(In Iraqi language)

Something else?

MERRIN:

(In Iraqi language)

No thank you.

The old man stands up and looks at the bus boy. We cut to a group

of workers hitting there hammers on an anvil. The old man walks

in there direction but stops as he sees one of the workers stop

work to wipe his brow. When the worker makes eye contact with the

old man we see that the worker has one eye without pigment,

bleached white as if it has rolled backward. The old man stares

at him and then walks on.

INTERIOR-IRAQ-ARCHAEOLOGIST'S OFFICE- DAY

We see a clocks pendulum swinging, uncovered sculpted rocks of

all kinds and a man sitting at a desk writing up the report on

what they found. The old man picks up the pendant he found and

then the rock head he found and takes a look.

MERRIN:

(In Iraqi language)

Evil against evil.

The man at the table looks confused.

MAN:

(In Iraqi language)

Father...

We then see the clocks pendulum stop over the old man's shoulder.

He turns around and walks toward it. After looking he sits down

beside it. As he sits the man at the desk stands up.

MAN:

(In Iraqi language)

I wish you didn't have to go.

MERRIN:

(In Iraqi language)

There is something I must do.

EXTERIOR- IRAQ- OUTSIDE ARCHAEOLOGIST'S OFFICE- DAY

The two men shake hands and hug. The old man walks away and a

group of people bow in a row.

EXTERIOR- IRAQ- MARKET PLACE - ALLEY WAY- DAY

The old man walks through the noisy, crowded alley way and exits

through the other side. As he exits he approaches a tunnel, in

the distance we can here a bell ringing quite fast. As the old

man gets closer to the tunnel the bell gets louder. When he

reaches the tunnel a horse and cart flies out in front of him,

aboard the cart we see a frightened old women. The old man looks

around as if he was lucky to survive.

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William Friedkin

William Friedkin (born August 29, 1935) is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The French Connection in 1971 and The Exorcist in 1973; for the former, he won the Academy Award for Best Director. Some of his other films include Sorcerer, Cruising, To Live and Die in L.A., Jade, Rules of Engagement, The Hunted, Bug, and Killer Joe. more…

All William Friedkin scripts | William Friedkin Books

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