Director William Friedkin during night filming on Prospect Street. Photo by Professor Clifford Chieffo
In October and November 1972, scenes for the movie, The Exorcist, were filmed at sites on or close to the Georgetown University campus. The Quadrangle, Dahlgren Chapel, Healy Hall, Old North, Kehoe Field, the Lauinger Library steps, and the “Exorcist Steps” (74 stone steps offering a convenient route between Prospect and M Streets, known prior to the film as the M Street steps), all feature in the movie.
William Peter Blatty (C'1950) adapted his 1971 novel of the same name for the screen, winning the Academy Award for Best Screenplay in 1974. He also produced the movie which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in all. His novel was inspired by an exorcism performed in 1949 on a 14 year old boy who lived in Mount Rainier in Prince George’s County, Maryland. This exorcism was reported in the Washington Post and Blatty saw the coverage while a Georgetown student.
This guide highlights primary and secondary sources available in the Georgetown University Archives for research on the filming of The Exorcist movie and also of The Exorcist III scenes for which were also filmed at Georgetown in June 1989. Where these resources are available online, this is indicated. The sources listed can be requested for use in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections via the Aeon request system. Note that Booth also houses the William Blatty papers GTM730327 in its manuscripts unit and these contain typed manuscripts and galley proofs for novels and screenplays by Blatty, including for The Exorcist, as well as research materials.
The Booth Family Center for Special Collections is located on the 5th floor of Lauinger Library. The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Reference inquiries may be made in person, by telephone (202-687-7444), via our online form, or via the chat feature located on Booth's home page. Booth staff are very happy to discuss research projects and to direct researchers to resources both within and outside the Center.
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