My mother wouldn’t let me see this movie when I was a kid. She did, however, give the local rental store permission to allow me to rent rated R films. This was mostly for action pictures and such. One time, when I was about twelve years old, I went to the rental store with my friend Tiffany to rent movies for her birthday party and we all wanted to see The Exorcist, but it was rated R. Needless to say, I rented it for her. We watched it. It scared the shit out of us. My mother found out that I rented it and was very angry. That was my first experience with the movie. I didn’t see it again until I was 18 and I went to see it as a midnight movie the night before Halloween. That was one of the worst decisions I ever made in college. So many nightmare that night. I’d only seen it those two times, so I decided to rewatch it again in order to write about it now. After the cut are my thoughts. The film became the first horror film to be nominated for Best Picture, racking up 10 Academy Award nominations, winning two: Best Sound (won), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay (won), Best Supporting Actor Jason Miller, Best Supporting Actress Linda Blair, Best Actress Ellen Burstyn, Best Director William Friedkin and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were: American Graffiti, Cries and Whispers, A Touch of Class and winner The Sting.
I remember distinctly the first time I saw this film: it was about two days before I was moving away from San Francisco (that story is a whole other kettle of fish) and it came on PBS and I decided I would watch it. I was blown away. At that point I think I’d only seen about 8 other Woody Allen films (I’ve seen 31 now) and I just loved this film to pieces. I rewatched it again Saturday as part of TCM’s The Essentials and I fell in love with it all over again. Woody Allen won his only sole Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this film (his only other writing win was for Annie Hall, which he shared with Marshall Brickman). The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three: Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Supporting Actor Michael Caine (won), Best Supporting Actress Dianne Wiest (won), Best Original Screenplay (won), Best Director, Best Picture. The films also nominated for Best Picture that year were Children of a Lesser God, The Mission, A Room with a View and winner Platoon.