When you are so deeply passionate about films, your search for the greatest ever movie is always changing, but for me, The Exorcist is the film I always come back to. I like to describe the film as "pure cinema", in that it does everything a film is meant to do, which is to comletely transport you for the two or so hours and to take you on an emotional, engaging and magical journey.
To me, the film is very much an epic. However, not in the sense of huge sweeping shots and hundreds of extas, Lawrence of Arabia stlye (another fantastic film by the way) but in the sense of subject matter. There are many films themed around good versus evil but never has there been one so deeply religiously rooted, which is why I believe it is the most epic kind of a story you can tell. I am not a religious person at all, but I find the subject to be extremely interesting cinematically, and for those 115 minutes or so, I was a believer!
The plot is simple: Young girl gradually becomes possessed by a demon and the exorcist is called in to drive out the evil spirit. The film is full of magical movie moments such as the rotating head, the levitation and lets not forget one of the most visually striking shots in film history: father Merrin lit by the eerie shaft of light coming from the Mackneil second floor window. I believe a large portion of the films success is due to William Friedkin's direction. He brought a sense of realism to the film which is exactly what it needed, but, at the same time, keeping it a "movie" movie. This is the genius of The Exorcist.
There are some great extra features on the dvd, the best of these being "The Fear of God" documentary. I was dissapointed with the two sequels, but let's hope the fourth will be better. For the meantime however, the greatest film of all time time will do!