The Exorcist is generally considered a classic and one of the most successful horror films made. The 1973 movie stars Ellen Burnstyn as actress Chris MacNeil, and Linda Blair as Regan, her young daughter who is possessed. Jason Miller and Max Von Sydow as priests who perform an exorcism to save Regan. The movie was mostly filmed in Washington DC.
The MacNeil House
Much of the story takes place at the home of Chris and Regan. The house is located in the Georgetown area of Washington DC, at 3600 Prospect Street. In order to film the climax, the production team added a fake wing to the house. This was needed so Father Damien could jump from the window and fall down to the stairs below.
In addition to the house, a couple scenes also take place on the street outside. If you watch the Director’s Cut, the final scene of the movie was also filmed outside the house.
The Exorcist Steps
The steps next to the house also feature prominently in the movie. The 75 steps lead from Prospect Street down to M Street. These steps play a part in the climax, when Father Damien jumps from the house window and tumbles down the stairs. A group of bystanders then gathers around at the bottom of the stairs.
The Gas Station
During the climax, we see a shot of a gas station, where a number of people notice the priest fall down the stairs. They run over to the stairs. The gas station is located right next to the stairs, just as it’s depicted in the film. When I visited in December 2022, the gas station was closed and appear to have been that way for a while.
The Tombs Bar
A brief scene shows Father Damien chatting with Father Tom Kanavan at a bar. He was played by Father Bermingham was a real Catholic priest, who worked as a technical advisor on the movie. This brief scene was filmed at The Tombs, a bar right across the street from the Exorcist house.
Alexandria Aquaduct Footbridge
The Exorcist shows Father Damien and Chris discussing Regan’s issues while crossing a bridge. It was filmed on the Alexandria Aquaduct Footbridge, just a couple blocks away from the Exorcist house.
A number of scenes in The Exorcist were filmed at Georgetown University. The campus is just a few blocks from the house, making it realistic that it would play a role in the story.
The main entrance to the university is Healy Hall. We see this building from the front as Chris and her director discuss a movie scene they are filming.
We also get a look inside Healy Hall, as Father Damien walks through the main area and up a set of stairs. The hall was decorated for Christmas when I visited in December 2022.
The University’s Dahlgren Chapel was used to film church scenes. The chapel was built in 1893 and is located in the main quadrangle courtyard.
Yates Field House
The University’s Yates Field appears in the film when Lieutenant Kinderman tracks down Father Damien as he is running laps on the track. The track has been significantly altered and upgraded in the years since the film was made. The bleachers are gone, and batting cages now stand in their place. The best way to identify the field is with the University’s Astronomical Observatory that can be seen in the distance.
Chris Walks Through Georgetown
After her visit to Georgetown University, we see Chris walking through the neighbourhood. First we see her walk down P street, and turn onto 36th Street.
After we also see Chris pass a local church. This is Christ Church, located a few blocks away on O Street.