The Exorcist and The Rite

Do these movies have accurate portrayals of exorcisms?

Greetings Inquiringperson,

Yes and no. There was much artistic license taken with the Rite and the Exorcist. It would take a long post to explain my answer.

How about reading some books by exorcists? I would suggest reading The Rite, it is far much better than the movie. I was very disappointed with the movie.

God Bless.
Anathama Sit

The original novel, The Exorcist, was based on the Robbie Mannheim incident, but the Author, William Peter Blatty deliberately altered and exaggerated elements of the story.

He also altered the sex of the child to female. The exorcist was really based on the “Chinese whispers” or Heresay version of the real incident.

The film is a very close, very accurate adaptation of the Novel that even itself went one step further into the legend of the event by itself exaggerating the novel’s narrative through the use of state of the art special effects and trick photography.

The was blatty’s interpretation of events, while the film was William Fredrekin’s interpretation of Blatty’s interpretation, and it must be read, and watched with that in mind.

Well “The Rite” was based on a book and the author is a priest who actually did exorcisms and has said it was fairly accurate given a few Hollywood additions. The Exorcist was way too Hollywood.

I think that the Exorcist showed an accurate portrayal of what probably happens during exorcisms. I wouldn’t be surprised if bodies float during exorcisms or if heads spin, even if St. Michael appears visible to the person who performs the exorcism.

I know this may sound crazy, but we really don’t know what happens because there aren’t any videos. From what I read in Malachi Martin’s audio on you tube, some sensational things happen during exorcisms. Some scary things happen during exorcisms for sure. I personally wouldn’t want to know all the details because it is so scary.

It was never intended to be an accurate portrayal, and never truly presents itself in that manner. It is a fictional horror drama based on the various, potentially outlandish, legends that circulated concerning the Robbie Mannheim exorcism rather than an attempt to portray the event in a realistic manner.

The film is itself twice removed from the real events because it was an interpretation of the original novel that “took it to the extreme” using visual effects and various other techniques avaliable to the filmmakers at the time.

I’m sure they sensationalized the film to a large extent. I’m not an expert in the field, but I suspect that if one were to attend an exorcism, there would be clear, undeniable proof of a battle between good and evil. Perhaps heads don’t spin, but I think it is possible for bodies to float during these things.

Greetings Matt1985,

For someone who has assisted at quite a few exorcisms I will say this. You are right, there is a clear and undeniable proof of battle between good and evil. It is clear beyond a shadow of doubt. Bodily levitation is possible but only through the offices of a demon.

God Bless.
Anathama Sit

Are you a priest?

It may have been more “over the top” but it was a way better movie. It’s one of my favorites!


The Exorsist scared the beejeebers out of me when I saw many moons ago. The Rite was more scary as I am more aware of the subject matter than when I was a kid.

Any thoughts on the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”?

The book The Rite, was much better than the movie. If anyone is interested, I reviewed both the book and the movie on my blog.

I also think highly of the Exorcism of Emily Rose that the previous poster brought up. Lots of good theology there on suffering, the devil as an imitator, some of the behavior of the possessed, etc… Also a somewhat rare good portrayal of a priest in that movie.

There’s a post I assembled a while back that collects various articles and MP3s on the subject of the demonic and occult, for anyone else interested.

The Exorcist still scares the dumplings outta me. I really really enjoyed The Rite and also Emily Rose.

Movies that also caused me to learn more about Catholicism! :wink:

Ironically the most enjoyable scenes in that film were the Courtroom sequences… Laura Linney was brilliant in that film, as was Tom Burlinson.

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