AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Carrie
Director: Brian DePalma (Dir)
Release Date:   16 Nov 1976
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 16 Nov 1976; Los Angeles opening: 17 Nov 1976
Production Date:   began 1 Mar 1976 in Los Angeles
Duration (in mins):   97
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Cast: Starring Sissy Spacek (Carrie [White])  
  Starring Amy Irving (Sue Snell)  
  Starring William Katt (Tommy Ross)  
  Starring Nancy Allen (Chris Hargenson)  
  Starring John Travolta (Billy Nolan)  
  Starring Betty Buckley (Miss Collins)  
  Starring P. J. Soles (Norma)  
  Starring Sydney Lassick (Mr. Fromm)  
  Starring Stefan Gierasch (Mr. Morton)  
  Starring Priscilla Pointer (Mrs. Snell)  
  And Piper Laurie (Margaret White) as
    Michael Talbott (Freddy)  
    Doug Cox (The Beak)  
    Harry Gold (George)  
    Noelle North (Frieda)  
    Cindy Daly (Cora)  
    Deirdre Berthrong (Rhonda)  
    Anson Downes (Ernest)  
    Rory Stevens (Kenny)  
    Edie McClurg (Helen)  
    Cameron De Palma (Boy on bicycle)  

Summary: During a volleyball game in a high school gym, Carrie White, a shy teenaged girl, misses the ball, and her teammates admonish her. As the other girls joke around in the locker room, Carrie showers alone. She sees she’s bleeding, and not realizing that she is getting her first period, Carrie screams for help. Sue Snell, Chris Hargenson, and Norma lead the other girls in pelting Carrie with tampons. The gym teacher, Miss Collins, yells at the girls to shut up. Carrie is hysterical and Collins slaps her to calm her down. Later, Collins is in the principal’s office with a humiliated Carrie. The principal, who mistakenly calls her Cassie, is amazed that a girl Carrie's age doesn’t know what a period is, and asks if she wants to go home. When the principal calls her Cassie for the third time, she yells that her name is Carrie, and an ashtray shoots off the desk as she runs out. As Carrie walks home, a small boy on a bicycle calls her "creepy Carrie." Carrie’s eyes go wide and the boy flies off his bike. Later, Margaret White, Carrie’s mother, comes home from preaching at the neighbors' and gets a call from the school. She hangs up and tells Carrie to come downstairs. Margaret hits Carrie and screams that Carrie bled because she had lustful thoughts. Carrie pleads innocence, but Margaret locks her in a closet. Inside the closet there’s a statue of St. Sebastian with glowing eyes and arrows protruding from his sides. Later, when Carrie cries in her bedroom, she looks at the mirror and it cracks. The next day, a teacher reads a poem by Tommy Ross, the school’s football hero. Carrie says it’s beautiful and the teacher makes fun of her. Tommy insults the teacher under his breath. In gym class, Collins tells the girls that their punishment for taunting Carrie is either to do an hour of calisthenics for three days or not go to the prom. After they pick the calisthenics, Collins works them hard, until Chris tells the teacher to “stick it up her ass.” Collins slaps Chris and the teenager turns to Sue and Norma for support, but Sue tells her to shut up. Collins tells Chris she’s out of the prom and Chris storms off. Meanwhile, in the library, Carrie searches for books on the paranormal and finds a book on telekinesis. After school, Sue asks Tommy, who is her boyfriend, to take Carrie to the prom. A reluctant Tommy agrees. That night, Chris is riding with her boyfriend, Billy Nolan, and alternates between sexual teasing him and calling him stupid. He slaps her and starts to get out of the car, but she pulls him back in and performs oral sex. As Billy nears orgasm, he agrees to help Chris get revenge on Carrie. The next day, Tommy asks Carrie to the prom, but she refuses and runs away. In the gym's stairwell, Carrie tells Colins that Tommy asked her to the prom to trick her. Collins says that Carrie has to change her attitude, telling Carrie she is beautiful, and with a little makeup, everyone will see it. Later, Collins talks to Sue and Tommy, who claim they’re trying to be nice to Carrie. Tommy says it doesn’t matter as Carrie said no, but Sue insists he ask her again. Tommy goes to Carrie’s house, but Carrie tells him to go away as her mother is home. Tommy won’t take no for an answer, and Carrie finally agrees to go to the prom. Later that night, Chris, Billy and Billy’s friend, Freddy, break into a pig farm. To Chris’s excited screams, Billy repeatedly smashes in a pig’s head. Meanwhile, Carrie tells Margaret about the prom, and Margaret says she can’t go. Carrie says she’s going and from now on she wants to be a normal girl. Margaret throws water in her face and tells her to get in the closet but Carrie refuses. Margaret gets up to close the windows but they shut by themselves. Carrie tells Margaret that she can move things with her mind, warning that things are going to be different now. Margaret calls her a witch and says she has Satan’s power. Carrie says it isn’t Satan, and Margaret can’t stop her from going to the prom. News spreads that Tommy is going to the prom with Carrie. A group of girls laugh and wonder what Carrie is going to wear. Another girl asks Sue why Tommy isn’t taking her. Sue explains she is helping Carrie. A few feet away, Chris tells Norma her plan to humiliate Carrie. Carrie makes a beautiful gown for the prom, and as she gets ready, Margaret demands that she take off the dress and burn it. When Carrie refuses, Margaret warns Carrie that everyone is going to laugh at her and begs Carrie not to go. When Margaret screams and scratches at her own face, Carrie orders her to sit down and be quiet. Margaret falls into the bed and can’t move. Carrie runs downstairs and a frozen Margaret whispers, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” At the prom, everyone is shocked at how pretty Carrie looks, and Collins, relieved to see that Carrie is having a great time, hugs the girl and tells her she’ll never forget this moment. Tommy tells Carrie everyone’s going out after the prom, and she responds that he can go without her, but he insists that she join them. Tommy then coaxes her onto the dance floor. Carrie stumbles, but Tommy pulls her close and kisses her. She asks why he asked her to the prom and he says it is because she liked his poem. The music stops and everyone fills out the ballots for the prom king and queen. Upon Tommy's suggestion, he and Carrie vote for themselves. When Norma and Freddy collect the ballots, they switch them with fake ones. Meanwhile, Sue has sneaked into the gym, and when Tommy and Carrie are announced as winners, she runs backstage to get a better look. There she notices a rope leading up to a bucket. Sue looks under the stage and sees Chris and Billy. Before she can warn Carrie, however, Collins grabs Sue and marches out of the gym. As the crown is placed on Carrie's head, Chris pulls the rope and pig blood rains down on Carrie. The bucket then falls, hitting Tommy on the head and knocking him out. Hearing her mother’s voice say, “They will all laugh at you”, Carrie imagines that the Principal, Collins and all the students are laughing. Her eyes go wide and all the lights go out in the school gym. Doors and windows slam shut and a fire hose sprays the crowd. A teacher and the principal are electrocuted as they fight over the microphone, and a falling backboard cuts Collins in half. The gym bursts into flames and a blood-soaked Carrie walks out, leaving everyone to burn. Chris spots Carrie walking home and tries to run her over, but Carrie causes the car to catch fire. At home, Carrie finds candles burning throughout the house. She draws herself a bath and cries as she washes off the blood. In the bedroom she finds her mother wearing a white nightgown. Carrie asks Margaret to hold her. Margaret tells Carrie that the first time she had sex with Carrie’s father he was drunk and raped her and she liked it. Carrie was born of sin and Margaret should have killed her at birth. They kneel to pray and Margaret stabs Carrie with a butcher knife. Carrie falls down the stairs, but as her mother approaches, knives fly across the room and impale Margaret in the same position as the St. Sebastian statue. Margaret groans as if in orgasm and dies smiling. Carrie removes the knives as the house catches fire, and drags Margaret into the closet while the house sinks into the earth. Days later, Sue dreams she is wearing a white nightgown and holding flowers. She comes to a pile of black rocks with a “for sale” sign that is shaped like a cross. “Carrie White burns in Hell” is written on it. As Sue places the flowers by the sign, a bloody hand reaches up and grabs her. Sue wakes up screaming and her mother tries to comfort her. 

Production Company: Redbank Films  
Production Text: A Paul Monash Production
A Brian DePalma Film
Brand Name:

Distribution Company: United Artists Corp.  
Director: Brian DePalma (Dir)
  Donald Heitzer (1st asst dir)
  William Scott (2d asst dir)
Producer: Paul Monash (Prod)
  Louis A. Stroller (Assoc prod)
Writer: Lawrence D. Cohen (Scr)
Photography: Mario Tosi (Dir of photog)
  Joel King (Op)
  Dusty Blauvelt (1st asst cam)
  Joseph Cosko (2d asst cam)
  Eugene Griffith (Key grip)
  James Dyer (Best boy grip)
  Kenneth Miller (Dolly grip)
  Joe Pender (Gaffer)
  Jerome Posner (Best boy)
  Metro Goldwyn Mayer (Lab processing)
  Deluxe General (Release prints by)
Art Direction: William Kenney (Art dir)
  Jack Fisk (Art dir)
Film Editor: Paul Hirsch (Ed)
  Michael Kirchberger (Asst ed)
  Maria Iano (Apprentice ed)
Set Decoration: Robert Gould (Set dec)
  Gary Seybert (Prop master)
Costumes: Rosanna Norton (Cost des)
  Agnes Lyon (Cost)
Music: Pino Donaggio (Mus)
  Michael Arciaga (Mus supv)
  Natale Massara (Mus cond)
Sound: Bertil Hallberg (Sd mixer)
  David Rust (Boom man)
  Dan Sable Magnofex (Sd ed)
  Lois Freeman (Asst sd ed)
  Dick Vorisek Trans-Audio, Inc. (Rerec supv)
Special Effects: Gregory M. Auer (Spec eff)
  Kenneth Pepiot (Asst spec eff)
  The Optical House N.Y.C. (Titles and opticals)
Make Up: Wesley Dawn (Makeup)
  Adele Taylor (Hair stylist)
Production Misc: Harriet B. Helberg (Casting)
  "Get Set" (Sets by)
  Cinemobile Systems (Loc by)
  Hannah Scheel (Scr supv)
  Gary Littlefield (Transportation)
  Patricia Heade (Prod secy)
  Robert Sinclair (Auditor)
  Wendy Bartel (Secy to Mr. DePalma)
  James L. Carter (Prod asst)
  Angelo Corallis (Craft service)
  Dow Griffith (Loc scouting)
  Carrie's Group (Prod services by)
Stand In: Richard Zeiker (Stunt co-ord)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Carrie," lyrics by Merrit Malloy, sung by Katie Irving; "Born to Have It All," lyrics by Merrit Malloy, sung by Katie Irving.
Composer: Merrit Malloy
Source Text: Based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King (Garden City, 1974).
Authors: Stephen King

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Inc. 21/10/1976 dd/mm/yyyy LP47351

PCA NO: 24688
Physical Properties: Sd:
  col:
  Prints: Deluxe General

 
Genre: Horror
 
Subjects (Major): Adolescents
  Massacres
  Mothers and daughters
  Proms
  Revenge
 
Subjects (Minor): Dances
  gyms
  High schools
  High school principals
  High school students
  Nightmares
  Parricide
  Premarital sex
  Religiosity
  Romance
  Supernatural
  Shyness

Note:        According to an 8 Sep 1975 ^lDV item, Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. originated the project before it was picked up by United Artists.
       As stated in the 19 Apr 1976 issue of Box,^, principal photography started 1 Mar 1976. A 5 Jan 1987 HR news brief estimated the production cost to be roughly $3 million.
       According to a 1977 issue of ^lFantascene,
there were three versions of Carrie’s home used in the film: "a real location house, a full scale interior and a half scale exterior model." All exterior shooting at the real house was done in one day. The house that sinks in the film was the half-scale model, built on an elevator in a field in San Fernando Valley, CA, at the cost of $10,000. The full scale interior was built on a stage at Culver City Studios.
       Originally, as the house sank, a biblical "rain of rocks" was supposed to fall from the sky and bury it. Due to problems with a conveyor belt, the shot had to be cancelled. However, in the dream sequence, "Sue Snell," played by actress Amy Irving, stands in front a pile of rocks where Carrie’s house used to be. Also in the sequence, Irving was shot walking backward, then the scene was printed in reverse to give it a dreamlike quality; behind Irving, a Volkswagen bug can be seen driving in reverse.
       ^lFantascene reported the high school in the film was called Bates High school as an homage to Hitchcock’s Bates motel in ^lPsycho (1960, see entry). The playing field of the school was shot at Pacific Palisades High School, while the back of the gym was filmed at Hermosa Beach High School. All interiors were shot at Culver City Studios.
       A musical version of Carrie opened 12 May 1988 and closed three days later at the Virginia Theatre in New York City; the book was written by Lawrence D. Cohen, with lyrics by Dean Pitchford and music by Michael Gore, and the production cost $6 million according to the 5 Jan 1987 HR brief. The musical inspired Ken Mandelbaum's book, Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops (New York, 1991). As reported in a 9 Sep 2012 LAT article, a remake of Carrie was being produced, with Kimberly Peirce directing and Chloe Grace Moretz set to play "Carrie."
       According to the 8 Apr 1976 HR , ^lCarrie marked the feature film debut of several actors, including Amy Irving, Betty Buckley, William Katt, Edie McClurg, Harry Gold and Anson Downes. Priscilla Pointer who played "Eleanor Snell" is the real-life mother of Amy Irving who played "Sue Snell." Irving reprised the role of Sue Snell in the sequel, ^lThe Rage: Carrie 2 (1999, see entry). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   8 Sep 1975.   
Daily Variety   19 Mar 1976.   
Fantascene   1977.   
Hollywood Reporter   8 Apr 1976.   
Hollywood Reporter   1 Nov 1976   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   5 Jan 1987.   
Los Angeles Times   17 Nov 1976   p. 23.
Los Angeles Times   9 Sep 2012   Section D, p. 1.
New York Times   17 Nov 1976   p. 24.
Variety   3 Nov 1976   p. 27.

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