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Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Stellan Skarsgard , James D'arcy , Renny Harlin  |  R |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)

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Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition) + Dominion - Prequel to the Exorcist + Exorcist II: The Heretic (Snap Case Packaging)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Stellan Skarsgard, James D'arcy, Izabella Scorupco, Remy Sweeney, Julian Wadham
  • Directors: Renny Harlin
  • Writers: Alexi Hawley, Caleb Carr, William Wisher
  • Producers: James G. Robinson, Guy McElwaine, David Robinson, David C. Robinson
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, DTS Surround Sound
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 1, 2005
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00065HKLG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,538 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Exorcist - The Beginning (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Theatrical trailer

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

The sparse special features on the DVD release of Exorcist: The Beginning are a commentary track by director Renny Harlin and a brief making-of featurette. Together they give scant insight to a movie that should have been better received in its theatrical release, if only for the pedigree of its franchise. The best thing about the movie is its ambitiously art-directed period plotline that shows Father Merrin's (Stellan Skarsgård) first brush with the demon that would bedevil the same character in William Friedkin's 1973 masterpiece, The Exorcist. Skarsgård is believable as a younger version of the older movie's Merrin, Max von Sydow, and he discusses his apprehension about filling such famous shoes in the documentary. But there are precious few behind-the-scenes details related in interview segments with Harlin and the film's producer. It's a typically run-of-the-mill DVD extra, heavy on clips and with nary a word about the infamous version filmed by Paul Schrader, then scrapped by the studio in favor of one with more gore and overt frights. (There were rumors of a DVD release containing both versions, but that plan was apparently scuttled.) Harlin's commentary is only slightly more enlightening--he talks a lot about the delights and logistics of shooting in Rome's famed Cinecitta Studios--but again, he's mum on being called in late to render an alternate prequel to one of the '70s all-time-great movies. The famous Exorcist curse did stay with him, however. He was hit by a car early on in the production and directed most of the movie on crutches. --Ted Fry

Product Description

Prequel. Exorcist: The Beginning traces the story of Father Merrin back to his first encounter with the Devil during his missionary work in Africa.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not As Bad As Some Say September 24, 2006
Format:DVD
I was involved in the making of this film back in 2003/2004. I was hired as a wardrobe supplier. In fact, I still own the famous violet dress Izabella Scorupco(Dr.Sarah)wore in the final showdown with Lankaster. So, I feel the need to explain some things to the public. It's been two years now and I'm very upset with all the bashing this film has taken since it's release on home video/cable. Most of these reviews I've been reading on the internet are not only harsh but very cruel and also very ignorant. One even said they could not believe Izabella as a demon because she is "too prettty." Another one wrote they couldn't believe Stellan Skarsgard as the younger Father Merrin beause he is "too fat" to have lived long enough to be the old priest in 1973. People like this have no business writting reviews for anyone. I will remind them and all of you that don't already know. This was the only "Exorcist" film since the original to go to #1 at the box office. The second film couldn't do it even with Linda Blair. The third film couldn't do it with George C. Scott and Jason Miller. This should tell you something. It was not a great film but it is not that bad. There were many problems for sure, that is why the making of "Prequel" came about. Directors, writers and studio heads will not always agree on things. The original director, John Frankenheiemer died and Paul Schrader was brought in to make the film. The studio executives at Morgan Creek (the studio)liked the insightful story-line but felt a "Exorcist" film should be more intense and exciting. Renny Harlin was then brought in to give them just that. In the end, I don't blame them. The Exorcist films are horror and shock, not a story of a man and his personal demons for two hours with a bald devil that is more shrink than devil. Read more ›
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising March 5, 2005
By Sappho
Format:DVD
I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about watching this movie, and have to confess that I never liked the original Exorcist. I always have bad reviews about these movies because they look false or don't have a real storyline, but this movie really impressed me. Stellan Skarsgård gives a strong performance, in my opinion, as Father Merrin, with a good supporting cast to back him up. Though quite gory at times, the movie keeps you interested, and the end has a nice twist. Overall, I enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone interested in The Exorcist movies series.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie August 7, 2005
Format:DVD
I don't see why people didn't like this movie. It's good. It has a good story and interesting characters. Stellan Skarsgård is great as the younger version of Father Merrin, the exorcist from the first film. The sets are beautifully constructed. Renny Harlin's direction is spectacular even under certain difficulties (learn about them with his commentary track). This film has some disturbing images. The acting and story are really good and there's a big surprise near the end. The only problem I had was a scene with CGI animals but it ends pretty quickly. My second favorite out of the Exorcist films, the original being my first. Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "God is not here today priest" 2 1/2 stars March 6, 2005
Format:DVD
It's said that the devil is in the details and director Renny Harlin ("Die Hard 2", "Cliffhanger") gets many of the details right in this prequel to "The Exorcist". Although it doesn't compare to the original film (nor the third sequel directed by William Peter Blatty), "Exorcist: The Beginning" features a number of memorable performances and some startling imagery. While it may lack depth, the film does attempt to create something different and original from the original film and the tepid sequel that followed. Father Merrin (Stellan Skårsgard) has buried his faith along with a terrible incident from his past. Merrin has been hired by a mysterious man named Semelier (Ben Cross in a cameo appearance) to go to a Kenyan dig. It seems that Semelier feels that Merrin's skills as an archeologist will come in handy in helping a team uncover the mystery of a church dating back a thousand years before any Christian set foot in Kenya. The area seems cursed as the original archeologist has gone insane; the area has a history of plagues and death associated with it. What Merrin uncovers exhumes his faith breathing new life into it but also shakes him to his very core. Accompanied by Father Francis (James D'Arcy) sent by the Vatican as an observer and assisted by Sarah (Izabella Scorupco) a visiting physician , Merrin must uncover the mystery at the heart of this ancient church before disaster strikes. Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Exorcist: The Beginning (...And Hopefully The End). December 12, 2005
Format:DVD
Enough already! THE EXORCIST is one of the greatest horror flicks ever made and all of these sequels, prequels... they will always come up short in comparison.

I don't know what to make of EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING. I didn't hate it but I didn't particularly like it either.
Is it a mystery-thriller? Is it a "sand & desert" action-adventure flick, with British troops pitted against African natives? Or perhaps it's an old fashioned story of love from a distance? I don't know. But it's certainly not a horror flick.

On the plus side, Stellan Skarsgard gives a great performance.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The Exorcist begins (again)....
Like Roger Ebert (see his review on Paul Shrader's Exorcist: Dominion), I find it fascinating to have two expressions of this prequel story. Read more
Published 5 days ago by The Abominable Doctor Phibes
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, scared to church, scared
All I can say is, I watched this alone at night and scared the poop outta myself. I then watched it alone during the day...it wasn't any better. Good movie though.
Published 4 months ago by REGINA S BENNETT
5.0 out of 5 stars Father Marion's Expidition
Here is a story where it all began and how Father Marion put the pieces together to prove an artifact.
Published 6 months ago by Randall Canter
2.0 out of 5 stars Renny Harlin misunderstands the point of Evil as it lives in God's...
"Exorcist: the Beginning" is my least favorite film in the series, partially because it goes for the jugular of the scare factor in the audience (making it the most... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Leslie Karen Rigsbey
1.0 out of 5 stars prequels are absolutely worthless
Both of these prequels are absolutely worthless pictures, they detract from the brilliance and realism of the first film, which is a superb endeavor. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bartok Kinski
5.0 out of 5 stars great
Great dvd. good buy.. enjoyed it very much. I am happy with my purchase. I love horror movies and books.
Published 7 months ago by TERESSA30
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning
Now, let me say that this is nowhere as good as the first movie. That being said, I did/do enjoy this movie. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Brittany Buchanan
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll love it
I love this movie was great the first time and the tenth time! And just keeps getting better! it Great!
Published 13 months ago by Heather Douglas
3.0 out of 5 stars ILHM Reviews Exorcist: The Beginning
Leslie Nielson entertained audiences with the comical REPOSSESSED in 1990, but if ever there was a spoof on THE EXORCIST, it is in Renny Harlin's prequel THE BEGINNING. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carl Manes
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy prequel
Father Merrin (Stellan Skarsgard) is a priest that witnessed terrible things in WWII. He has lost his faith. He joins an archaeological dig in Kenya. Read more
Published 22 months ago by KevinB
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