All 5 Exorcist Movies Ranked: A Guide to the Chronological Order

The Exorcist is a classic Horror movie franchise that has captivated audiences for decades with its chilling plot and iconic imagery.

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or new to the series, you may have wondered which of the movies is the best of the bunch.

In this blog post, we will be ranking the Exorcist movies from worst to best, taking into consideration factors such as plot, acting, and overall impact on the horror genre.

From the groundbreaking original film to the prequels and sequels that followed.

We’ll be breaking down the entire series and offering our thoughts on which movies are must-sees and which ones can be skipped.

So grab some popcorn and join us as we dive into the world of The Exorcist and rank the movies in the series.

What is the Best Order to Watch The Exorcist?

When it comes to watching The Exorcist, there are a couple of ways you can go about this. You can choose the same order that everyone else in the world has watched the series – the order of release – or try to follow a chronological timeline instead. 

Here is the list of all Exorcist movies in order of release, aka the best order to watch the exorcist films.

  1. The Exorcist (1973)
  2. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)
  3. The Exorcist III (1990)
  4. Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)
  5. Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

1. The Exorcist (1973)

  • Director: William Friedkin 
  • Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb
  • Writers: William Peter Blatty
  • Runtime: 2h 2min

And in the first place is The Exorcist released in 1973 and directed by William Friedkin with a screenplay by William peter lady adapted from lady’s 1971 novel of the same name.

The Exorcist (1973)

It follows the demonic possession of a 12-year-old girl and her mother’s attempt to rescue her through an exorcism conducted by two priests.

This will always be a classic and iconic film Linda Blair gives one of the most incredible performances only made more incredible when you factor in her age at the time.

Also can’t forget her early deets who not only did the face of Pazuzu she also did many of the scenes um playing Reagan being possessed by pazuzu so.

She did a brilliant job in those scenes so full credit to her even though she has she’s an uncredited role in the film which is such a disappointment because she plays a very crucial part in that film that’s the nature of the industry I guess.

There are a handful of scores that have become famous even among those who haven’t seen their films the score for this film by jake Nietzsche is just pure perfection.

You hear that melody and you know exactly what film you’re watching and it just gives you chills I’ve seen this film so many times and it never fails to be a hell of a watch.

2. Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

  • Directors: John Boorman, Rospo Pallenberg 
  • Stars: Richard Burton, Linda Blair, Louise Fletcher, Max von Sydow
  • Writer: William Goodhart
  • Runtime: 1h 57min

In third place is Exorcist II The Heretic released in 1977 and directed by john Gorman and written by William Goddard it is the second installment in the exorcist franchise.

Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977)

The film is set four years after the original film and centers on the now 16-year-old Reagan McNeil who is still recovering from her previous demonic possession.

I never hated it like so many do I think the plot is a bit overloaded and could use a few fewer characters but on the whole.

I get a kick out of it mostly because it tries to create more backstory mythology to the demon of the series and I like when films do that.

I like that the demon has an agenda beyond just possessing and up little girls that ending is admittedly not so great and goes up being off the edge for my taste but before you hate me for liking it just know.

Bansko says you like the film almost more than the first film so if I have tasted sodas, hey but with the whole marvel debate thing I guess a lot of people Think that right now.

But that’s neither here nor there I also believe the score for this film is kind of awful it uses so many different styles and tones and they never really sync together.

it’s a shame to go from a fantastic score from the first film to this and part of the score sounds like it belongs in kill bill also I really want Reagan’s apartment because that looks awesome.

3. The Exorcist III (1990)

  • Director: William Peter Blatty 
  • Stars: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif, Jason Miller
  • Writers: William Peter Blatty
  • Runtime: 1h 50min

In second place is the Exorcist 3 released in 1990 and written and directed by William peter blady based on blades 1983 novel legion it is the third installment in the exorcist franchise set 17 years after the original film and ignoring the events of exorcist 2 the heretic.

The Exorcist III (1990)

It follows a character from the first film lieutenant William f Kinderman who investigates a series of demonic murders in Georgetown that have the hallmarks of the Gemini a deceased serial killer.

I do enjoy this film and think it has a very interesting plot however I think the studio was wrong to force this film to be connected to the first film and I think it was wrong to bring carry back from the dead just to be possessed.

I think all the elements of the story involving Pazuzu were a bad choice and then including the exorcism stuff was also bad simply.

Because the priest performing them came out of nowhere how did he know where to be and why it made no sense and was a dumb inclusion forced by the studio?

I enjoyed the story of the Gemini killer and how he operates and how he’s back from the dead to continue killing that’s fascinating.

And on top of that, this film has two of the best horror shots more specifically jump scares to appear in a horror film they are freaky as hell even when you know they’re coming they’re still quite scary.

4. Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

  • Director: Renny Harlin 
  • Stars: Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd, Izabella Scorupco, James D’Arcy, Remy Sweeney
  • Writers: William Peter Blatty
  • Runtime:  1h 54min

In fourth place is Exorcist The Beginning released in 2004 and directed by Ronnie Holland from a screenplay by Alexey holly from a story by William wisher jr and Caleb carr it is the fourth installment in the exorcist franchise and a prequel to 1973’s the exorcist.

Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)

Years before Father Lancaster Marin helped save Reagan McNeil’s soul he first encounters the demon pazuzu in east Africa this is the tale of father Mirren’s initial battle with pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith and I swear I just said.

It’s quite an interesting origin story with some great mythological aspects to it but one too many of those aspects contradict the original story and so at that point, it becomes a bit confusing.

There are some good performances and some interesting and disturbing imagery that I liked it’s a decent film but not a very good prequel I like to pretend it has no association with the original film also the film’s use of green screen was kind of funny.

I think my favorite aspect of this film is the whole demonic church the place where lucifer fell from heaven and where the land just creates death centuries ago the catholic church built a church in its place to sanctify the location and use this very clever use of iconography.

But in a reverse way where the symbology speaks volumes, I love that the twists however don’t ever make me go well because I’m confused as to how they actually work.

5. Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

  • Director: Paul Schrader 
  • Stars: Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd, Gabriel Mann, Clara Bellar, Billy Crawford
  • Writers: William Wisher, Caleb Carr
  • Runtime: 1h 57min 

In fifth place is Dominion Prequel to the Exorcist released in 2005 and directed by paul Schroeder and written by William wisher jr and Caleb Carr.

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

Is the fifth installment in the exorcist franchise where in years before father Lancaster Marin helped save Reagan McNeil Seoul he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in east Africa.

Martin’s initial battle with Pazuzu leads to the rediscovery of his faith. I’m aware this film was praised and preferred over Harlan’s version but I liked Harlan’s better with this version.

I felt there were too many unnecessary scenes and some scenes just went on for too long causing me to lose almost all interest in the film.

I also felt a great many of the performances were weak it’s also strange hearing the same dialogue from the other film but given to different characters in this version.

And somehow in this version, those bits of dialogue perhaps due to the actors delivering them just didn’t have the same impact.

This film was two hours but it felt like four I wasn’t enjoying it just felt boring stupid and disinteresting and then was that third act.

Conclusion

And there you have my ranking of the exorcist films which I’m sure at some point I’m gonna have to update. what’s fun about this franchise is that while it’s all the same world and characters and for the most part it’s following the same characters and entity every single film feels like a brand-new film.

But these ones each feel determined to stand out individually but now that you’ve heard my thoughts it’s time to share yours so comment down below how you would rank the exorcist films.

Exorcist Movies In Order: FAQs

Are Exorcist’s Movies Connected?

All of the Exorcist movies are connected. The first movie introduces you to the main characters and the overall plot. The second and third movies continue the story, while the fourth movie is a prequel that explains the origin of the events depicted in the series.

Do You Need to Watch The Exorcist Movies in Order?

In order to fully understand and follow the complex plot of the Exorcist series, it is recommended to watch the movies in chronological order. The series includes two prequels and has a convoluted backstory, so viewing the movies in the suggested order will make it easier to comprehend the story. It is important to watch the Exorcist movies in the suggested sequence in order to fully grasp the narrative.

Will There Be More Exorcist Movies?

Universal Pictures has announced that there will be additional Exorcist movies. The first film in the new trilogy is scheduled to be released in theaters on October 13, 2023. No release dates have been announced for the next two sequels in the trilogy.

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Ben is a professional writer and editor. He was born in the slums of New Jersey and grew up among the skyscrapers of New York. Since then, he has worked as a freelance writer specializing in Entertainment (Movie Reviews, News, Theories about Marvel & DC Films).

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