Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's 1974 epistolary novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and produced by Paul Monash, with a screenplay by Lawrence D. Cohen. The film received 2 Academy Award nominations, one for Sissy Spacek in the title role and one for Piper Laurie as her abusive mother. The film featured numerous young actors including Nancy Allen, William Katt, Amy Irving, and John Travolta whose careers were launched or escalated, by the film. It also relaunched the career of Piper, who had not been active in show business since 1961. Carrie was the first of more than 100 film and television productions adapted from or based on, the published works of Stephen King.
The shy, unpopular, and bullied 15 year old high school student Carrie White experiences her first period as she showers with her fellow female classmates after gym class. Unaware of what is happening to her, she panics and desperately pleads for help, believing she is bleeding to death. The other girls, led by the arrogant, popular and beautiful student Chris Hargensen who frequently bullies Carrie, gleefully respond to this by pelting her with tampons, laughing and chanting "Plug it up! Plug it up!".The Gym teacher Miss Collins breaks up the commotion and slaps Carrie in the face in an attempt to calm her down. A light bulb mysteriously breaks as Carrie reaches the height of her panic. Miss Collins manages to console Carrie and tell her what menstruation is. Later, the school principal seems uncomfortable as Miss Collins expresses bewilderment that Carrie is so uninformed about menstruation. As he dismisses Carrie from school for the afternoon, she becomes frustrated at both cigarette smoke emanating from an ashtray, and the principal repeatedly referring to her by the name "Cassie", causing the ashtray to flip from his desk and shatter. On her way home, a young boy teases Carrie, and she makes him fall off his bicycle simply by glaring at him. At home, Carrie is abused by her fanatically religious mother, Margaret, who rants about menstruation being the result of sinful thoughts. Carrie is dragged and locked in a small specially decorated “prayer closet” and forced to pray for forgiveness. When she is finally allowed to return to her room, she gazes into her reflection, causing the mirror to shatter. Carrie's classmate Sue Snell feels guilty for participating in the locker room incident, so she asks her handsome and popular boyfriend Tommy Ross, to invite Carrie to the upcoming Prom in her place to atone for her cruelty. Carrie is reluctant, but Miss Collins convinces her to accept Tommy's invitation. During Miss Collins’s after school detention, Chris furiously throws a tantrum and defiantly skips her detention for tormenting Carrie. Miss Collins responds by violently shaking Chris and slapping her in the face, then informing her she is suspended from school and banned from the Prom. Swearing vengeance, Chris recruits her delinquent boyfriend Billy Nolan to play a prank on Carrie. they slaughter a pig from a nearby farm and place a bucket of it's blood above the stage at the school’s gymnasium, where Chris plans to dump it on Carrie at the Prom. Margaret discovers Carrie's Prom plans and attempts to abuse her again. Having researched her telekinesis, Carrie asserts her power and defies her mother, flinging her away simply by yelling at her. Margaret responds by accusing Carrie of being a satanic witch. At the Prom, Carrie finds acceptance among her peers and shares a kiss with Tommy. Chris's best friend Norma Watson rigs the election and Carrie is crowned Prom Queen. Carrie’s joy is cut short when Chris pulls a rope to dump the pig's blood on her. Chris and Billy escape through a back door, while the bucket falls on Tommy's head, knocking him unconscious. The blood soaked Carrie hallucinates that everyone in the gymnasium, including Miss Collins, is laughing at her and soon unleashes telekinetic fury upon the crowd, guilty and innocent alike. The doors slam shut, a high pressure water hose assaults faculty members and students including Norma, who is knocked unconscious, the principal is electrocuted, and Miss Collins is crushed to death. As the gym catches fire, Carrie calmly walks out and locks the remaining students inside with her powers. Chris and Billy attempt to run over Carrie as she walks home, but Carrie causes their car to flip and explode, killing them both by burning them alive. At home, Carrie is comforted by her mother, who strokes her daughter's hair as she tenderly comforts her in her arms. She reveals her guilt about having conceived Carrie through her only act of sexual intercourse with Carrie's drunken father, a marital rape that she had both loathed and enjoyed. As they pray together, Margaret stabs her daughter in the back and pursues her through the house with a delirious smile on her face. Defending herself, Carrie telekinetically causes kitchen utensils to fly through the air and crucify Margaret. Distraught over her mother's death, Carrie loses control of her powers and causes the house to crumble and burn down with Carrie and her mother still inside, leaving them both dead. Sometime after Carrie’s death, Sue, the sole survivor of the Prom massacre, is seen laying flowers on the charred remains of Carrie's home next to a "For Sale" sign vandalized to read "Carrie White Burns In Hell!". A bloody arm reaches from the rubble and grabs Sue, causing her to awaken from this recurring nightmare, screaming.
- Unknown as Mary Blake
- Unknown as Mary Lila Grace
- Unknown as Pollack
- Unknown as Alice Litten's boyfriend
- Unknown as Dale Norbert
- Unknown as Tim Winkless
- Unknown as Elenor Richmond
- Unknown as Pete Tabor
- Unknown as Prom Girl
- Unknown as Miss Finch
- Unknown as Mr. Snell
- Unknown as Sue Snell's sister
- Heatwave by Martha and the Vandellas
- Education Blues by Vance or Towers
- Born To Have It All by Katie Irving
- I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me by Katie Irving
- Theme from Carrie
- And God Made Eve
- The Closet
- Cracking the Mirror
- Card Catalogue/Telekinesis
- You Can Trust Me
- Pig Pen
- Hanging the Bucket
- Tuxedo Shop
- Per-prom Jitters
- At The Prom
- Contest Winners
- Bucket of Blood
- They're All Gonna Laugh At You
- School in Flames
- Mother at the Top of the Stairs
- The Bath
- For the Last Time, We'll Pray
- Collapse of Carrie's House
- Sue's Dream
- End Credits
Carrie was the first Stephen King novel to be published and the first to be adapted into a feature film. In an interview in Port Charlotte, Florida at a public appearance near his home on the Gulf coast on March 20th, 2010, Stephen said he was 26 years old at the time and was paid just $2,500 for the film rights, but added "I was fortunate to have that happen to my first book." Brian told Cinefantastique magazine in an interview in 1977:
"I read the book. It was suggested to me by a writer friend of mine. A writer friend of his, Stephen King, had written it. I guess this was almost 2 years ago. I liked it a lot and proceeded to call my agent to find out who owned it. I found out that nobody had bought it yet. A lot of studios were considering it, so I called around to some of the people I knew and said it was a terrific book and I'm very interested in doing it. Then nothing happened for, I guess, 6 months"
Lawrence D. Cohen was hired as the screenwriter and produced the first draft, which had closely followed the novel's intentions. United Artists accepted the second draft but only allocated Brian a budget of $1.6 million, a small amount considering the popularity of horror films at the time. The budget eventually rose to $1.8 million. Certain scripted scenes were omitted from the final version, mainly due to financial limitations.
Many young actresses auditioned for the lead role, including Melanie Griffith. Sissy Spacek was persuaded by husband Jack Fisk to audition for the title role. Jack then convinced Brian to let her audition, and she read for all of the parts. Brian's first choice for the role of Carrie was Betsy Slade, who received good notices for her role in the film Our Time. Determined to land the leading role, Sissy backed out of a television commercial she was scheduled to film, rubbed Vaseline into her hair, didn't bother to wash her face, and arrived for her screen test clad in a sailor dress which her mother had made her in the 7th grade, with the hem cut off and was given the part. Nancy Allen was the last to audition, and her audition came just as she was on the verge of leaving Hollywood. She and Brain later married.
Brain began with director of photography Isidore Mankofsky, who was eventually replaced by Mario Tosi after conflict between Isidore and Brain ensued. Gregory M. Auer, assisted by Ken Pepiot, served as the special effects supervisor for Carrie, with Jack Fisk, Sissy's husband, as art director. The White's house was filmed in Santa Paula, California. To give the house a Gothic theme, the director and producers visited religious souvenir shops to find artifacts to decorate the set location. A wraparound segment at the beginning and end of the film was scripted and filmed, which featured the White's home being pummeled by stones that hailed from the sky. The opening scene was filmed as planned, though on celluloid, the tiny pebbles looked like rain water. A mechanical malfunction botched filming the night when the model of the White's home was set to be destroyed by stones, so the filmmakers burned it down instead and deleted the scenes with the stones altogether. The original opening scene is presumed lost. The final scene, in which Sue Snell reaches toward Carrie's grave, was shot backwards to give it a dreamlike quality. This scene was inspired by the final scene in Deliverance. Rather than let a stunt double perform the scene underground, Sissy insisted on using her own hand in the scene, so she was positioned under the rocks and gravel. Brian explains that crew members "had to bury her. Bury her! We had to put her in a box and stick her underneath the ground. Well, I had her husband bury her because I certainly didn't want to bury her".
The score for Carrie was composed by Pino Donaggio. In addition, Pino scored 2 pop songs "Born to Have It All" and "I Never Dreamed Someone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me" with lyrics by Merrit Malloy for the early portion of the Prom sequence. These songs were performed by Katie Irving. Pino would work again with Brain on Home Movies, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Body Double, Raising Cain, and Passion. The soundtrack album was originally released on vinyl in 1976 from United Artists Records. A deluxe C.D. edition containing a few tracks of dialogue from the film was released by Rykodisc in 1997, and a 2005 C.D. re-release of the original soundtrack was available from Varèse Sarabande. In 2010, Kritzerland Records released all 35 cues of Pino's score for the film on a 2 disc C.D. set which was presented as the complete score. Also included in this edition were the versions of "Born to Have It All" and "I Never Dreamed Somone Like You Could Love Someone Like Me" which were heard in the film, as well as instrumentals of both songs, and hidden at the end of the final track, a version of the "Calisthenics" cue with Betty Buckley's studio recorded voice over from the detention scene. The second disc was a remastered copy of the original 13 track album. The Kritzerland release was a limited edition of 1,200 copies. Kritzerland re-released the first disc as "The Encore Edition" in February 2013, this release was limited to 1,000 copies.
Release and Reception
Carrie received largely positive reviews and is widely regarded as one of the best films of 1976. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated the film was an "absolutely spellbinding horror movie", as well as an "observant human portrait", giving 3 and a half stars out of 4. Pauline Kael of The New Yorker stated that Carrie was "the best scary-funny movie since Jaws a teasing, terrifying, lyrical shocker". Take One Magazine critic Susan Schenker said she was "angry at the way Carrie manipulated me to the point where my heart was thudding, and embarrassed because the film really works." A 1998 edition of The Movie Guide stated Carrie was a "landmark horror film", while Stephen Farber prophetically stated in a 1978 issue of New West Magazine, "it's a horror classic, and years from now it will still be written and argued about, and it will still be scaring the daylights out of new generations of moviegoers." Quentin Tarantino placed Carrie at number 8 in a list of his favorite films ever. Nevertheless, the film was not without it's detractors. Andrew Sarris of The Village Voice commented, "There are so few incidents that two extended sequences are rendered in slow-motion as if to pad out the running time..." In addition to being a box office success earning $14.5 million in theater rentals by January 1978 Carrie is notable for being one of the few horror films to be nominated for multiple Academy Awards. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie received nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards, respectively. The film also won the grand prize at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival, while Sissy Spacek was given the Best Actress award by the National Society of Film Critics. In 2008, Carrie was ranked number 86 on Empire Magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. The film also ranked number 15 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies, and No. 46 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Greatest Cinema Thrills, and was also ranked 8th for its famous ending sequence on Bravo's The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. In a 2010 interview, Stephen replied that he thought, although dated now, Carrie was a "good movie."
Carrie was originally released on VHS and LaserDisc formats, for which it received numerous editions throughout the world. In the United States and Canada, Carrie has been made available several times on DVD format from MGM Home Entertainment, debuting on September 29th, 1998, while a "Special Edition" set was released on August 28th, 2001. On December 4th, 2007, the film was released a part of MGM's Decades Collection, which included a soundtrack CD. The film was additionally released within multiple sets via MGM, first with Carrie, The Rage: Carrie 2, and the 2002 TV film of Carrie on January 18th, 2011, and the second, as part of MGM's 90th anniversary, featured with Misery and The Silence of the Lambs. The film was released for the first time on Blu-ray in the U.S. and Canada from MGM on October 7th, 2008, which contained an MPEG 2 codec, with new DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio, while retaining the original English Mono, and included Spanish Audio and French 5.1 Dolby Surround. The only special feature on the set is a theatrical trailer. The film was again released on Blu-ray on July 18th, 2013, when it was available exclusively through Comic-Con in San Diego from MGM and FoxConnect, containing a slipcover with exclusive artwork.Two further editions were made available from MGM in 2014, a "Carrie 2-Pack" set containing the original film and the 2013 remake, released September 9th, 2014, and finally, a re-issue Blu-ray with a collectible Halloween faceplate, on October 21st, 2014. Home distribution rights are currently held by Shout Factory, and the film was released via their subsidiary label, Scream Factory on October 11th, 2016, in a 2-disc "Collector's Edition", now available with MPEG-4 coding, and a new 4K scan. Special features on the set include the theatrical trailer, Carrie franchise trailer gallery, new interviews with writer Lawrence D. Cohen, editor Paul Hirsch, actors Piper Laurie, P.J. Soles, Nancy Allen, Betty Buckley, William Katt, and Edie McClurg, casting director Harriet B. Helberg, director of photography Mario Tosi, and composer Pino Donaggio, "Horror's Hallowed Grounds" Revisiting the Film's Original Locations, "Acting Carrie" featurette, "Visualizing Carrie" featurette, a look at "Carrie: The Musical", TV spots, radio spots, still gallery, "Stephen King and the Evolution of Carrie" text gallery. The set also includes reversible sleeve containing original artwork and newly commissioned artwork from Shout Factory, and a slipcover containing the new artwork. On October 11th, 2016, Shout Factory additionally released a "Deluxe Limited Edition" of 2000 copies, which includes the slipcover contained in the "Collector's Edition", with an additional poster matching the slipcover, and an alternative slipcover and poster consisting of different artwork. In the United Kingdom, the film received it's initial DVD release on February 1st, 2000 via. A re-issue "Special Edition" DVD was made available from MGM on October 22nd, 2001, while a two-disc standard set was released on September 7th, 2006. A DVD set, "The Carrie Collection", consisting of both the original film, and The Rage: Carrie 2, was released from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on October 7th, 2013, while on the same day, a re-issue DVD containing newly commissioned artwork, as well as the first-ever Blu-ray release in the UK was made available from 20th Century Fox. A second Blu-ray edition became available in the form of a steelbook, released on September 29th, 2014, a set which reverted to the previous-style artwork. On September 22nd, 2017, it was announced that Carrie would receive a "Limited Collector's Edition" Blu-ray of 5000 copies from Arrow Films, providing the definitive release of the film. The set will contain a new 4K restoration, with special features, including commentary by authors Lee Gambin and Alexandra Heller Nicholas, recorded exclusively for the release, brand new visual essay comparing the various versions and adaptations of Carrie, "Acting Carrie" featurette, "More Acting Carrie" featurette, "Writing Carrie" an interview with writer Lawrence D. Cohen "Shooting Carrie" an interview with cinematographer Mario Tosi, "Cutting Carrie" an interview with editor Paul Hirsch "Casting Carrie" an interview with casting director Harriet B. Helberg, "Bucket of Blood" an interview with composer Pino Donaggio, "Horror's Hallowed Grounds" a look back at the film's locations, gallery, trailer, TV spots, radio spots, Carrie trailer reel, and 60-page limited edition booklet featuring new writing on the film by author Neil Mitchell, alongside reversible artwork, poster and art cards. The set was released on December 11th, 2017. On most of the later VHS releases and DVD sets, John Travolta's name was included on the artwork alongside Sissy Spacek. Although John only appeared in a minor supporting role in the film, his name was featured only due to his high profile career in his many films following Carrie, therefore possibly increasing sales.
- While speaking at a book event in Fort Myers, Florida in 2010, Stephen King recalled that he was paid just $2,500 for the film rights to Carrie, which may seem like a pittance, but he has no regrets. "I was fortunate to have that happen to my first book" Stephen said.
- Nancy Allen claims she never realized her character was going to be so evil until she saw the finished film. She thought she and John Travolta were playing such self-centered, bickering morons that they were there for comic relief. Piper Laurie also thought the character of Margaret White was so over the top that the film had to be a comedy.
- The name of the high school is Bates High, a reference to Norman Bates from Psycho. In addition, the 4-note violin theme from Psycho is used over and over in the film.
- The dizzying camera shot during the Prom scene was achieved by placing William Katt and Sissy Spacek on a platform that was spinning in one direction, while the camera was being dollied in the opposite direction.
- This was the first Stephen King novel adapted into a film.
- When Sissy Spacek was preparing for her character, she isolated herself from the rest of the ensemble, decorated her dressing room with heavy religious iconography and studied Gustave Doré's illustrated Bible. She studied "the body language of people being stoned for their sins," starting or ending every scene in one of those positions.
- The success of Carrie at the box-office cemented Stephen King's name as an author. Stephen himself was delighted with the film.
- The Prom scene took over 2 weeks to shoot and required a total of 35 takes.
- Brian De Palma wanted Betty Buckley to really slap Nancy Allen. Because Nancy couldn't get the reaction Brian wanted, Betty ended up slapping her as many as 30 times.
- Adding to the mother's psychotic character is the fact that none of the Bible passages in the film are real. For example, she quotes "Genesis: Chapter 3" to say that sexuality is evil. That chapter is actually the story of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit. The Bible doesn't say anything the mother says it does.
- Originally, Brian De Palma had used the split screen effect extensively during the Prom scene. Disappointed with the results, he re-edited most of the scenes into full frame shots leaving only the few split screen moments that he felt worked.
- Sissy Spacek was 25 years old at the time of filming. Carrie is 15 years old in the novel.
- According to Piper Laurie, she honestly thought her character was too over the top fanatical to be taken seriously. Brian De Palma had to take her to the side and personally tell her it was a horror film and not a "black comedy" as she thought it was. Even so, she would constantly burst out into laughter between takes because not only was her characterization and wardrobe laughable in her eyes, but the dialogue itself was humorous for her. To this day, she still refers to and maintains the film as a black comedy.
- Many of the girls present in the locker room were originally hesitant to appear nude in the film, but after Brian De Palma showed them the nude shots of Sissy Spacek, they became more confident.
- Sue Snell and her mother Eleanor are played by real-life daughter and mother Amy Irving and Priscilla Pointer.
- Sissy Spacek asked Brian De Palma how he wanted her to react when Carrie first realizes that she is bleeding in the showers at the start and Brian told her "It's like you've been hit by a truck." Sissy talked to her husband Jack Fisk the art director, who as a child had been run over by a car when he was standing in the streets looking at Christmas lights a neighbor had put up and used his description of the experience as a basis for the scene.
- For her screen test, Sissy Spacek rubbed Vaseline into her hair and didn't bother to wash her face. She also wore a sailor dress which her mother had made for her when she was in the 7th grade with the hem cut off.
- Sissy Spacek wasn't considered for the role of Carrie until her husband, art director Jack Fisk, convinced director Brian De Palma to allow her to audition. Until that, Brian was wedded to the idea of Amy Irving playing Carrie, when Sissy got the part instead, Brian gave Amy the smaller role of Sue.
- To become Carrie, Sissy Spacek would intentionally avoid socializing with the other actors on and off set. She would stay in her trailer or hide in the corner or behind the set. Also, before this happened, she warned the other actors that although she loved them, she would be avoiding them so she could stay in character. She told them they would have so much fun together after the film was finished.
- Initially, P.J. Soles was only cast for 2 weeks, but after she hit Sissy Spacek over the head with her red baseball hat during the volleyball scene, Brian De Palma decided to keep her around longer.
- Betty Buckley was 28 at the time of filming, only 2 years older than Sissy Spacek and 3 years older than Nancy Allen and P.J. Soles, who played her students.
- A major box office hit for United Artists, grossing over $33 million in the US from a $1.8 million investment.
- The ending of the film is different than the ending from the novel and in fact, Stephen King liked the ending in the film better than the ending of his own novel.
- In Carrie's house, the statue of a religious figure shot with arrows represents St. Sebastian. It is not a crucifix and does not represent Jesus Christ.
- Stephen King was reluctant to send Carrie to a publisher because it sounded to him the least marketable of all his manuscripts at the time. But horror was a hot commodity, with successes like The Exorcist and Rosemary's Baby, so the novel became a sleeper success. To this day, Stephen doesn't know what would have happened to his marriage to Tabitha King and sanity if Carrie had been rejected.
- The ring that Amy Irving wears throughout the film was a gift to her from Stephen King, the author of the novel the film is based on.
- Amy Irving admits that she originally hated the script when she first received it. After seeing the finished film, she thought it was simply "magic" and loved it.
- In a 2010 interview with "The A.V. Club", P.J. Soles said that Steven Spielberg often came to the set at Brian De Palma's invitation because Brian told him that there were "a lot of cute girls down here". P.J. said that Steven asked out most of the women on the set, P.J. included and Amy Irving was the only one who accepted. Amy and Steven were married from 1985-1989 and had 1 son together.
- In real life, Sissy Spacek attended Quitman High School and was Homecoming Queen.
- Bernard Herrmann, who had been nominated for an Oscar for the music to Brian De Palma's previous film Obsession, was slated to compose this score but passed away the December before the film was completed. Bernard's 4 note violin theme from Psycho is used over and over in Carrie.
- Stephen King got the idea for Carrie while working in a laundry. Some of the characters, like Carrie's religious fanatical mother, were based on people who worked there with him.
- Carrie is based on a composite of 2 girls Stephen King observed while attending grade school and high school. Of one of them, he recalled: "She was a very peculiar girl who came from a very peculiar family. Her mother wasn't a religious nut like the mother in Carrie, she was a game nut, a sweepstakes nut who subscribed to magazines for people who entered contests… the girl had 1 change of clothes for the entire school year and all the other kids made fun of her".
- Edie McClurg who played Helen Shyres originally had no dialogue in any part of the film, so she decided to improvise instead. This resulted in everything that we see Helen say in the film being completely made up by the actress, with Brian De Palma's blessing, naturally.
- Piper Laurie had retired from the film business after The Hustler when the script for Carrie came her way. She initially didn't understand the script at all, thinking it rather clichéd, until her husband pointed out that Brian De Palma usually took a comedic approach to his work. When she reread the screenplay with that viewpoint, the part of Margaret White made a lot more sense to Piper.
- George Lucas and Brian De Palma held a joint audition for Carrie and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. There is a long-standing rumor that originally, Sissy Spacek was cast as Princess Leia and Carrie Fisher as Carrie White, but when Carrie refused to appear in nude scenes and Sissy was willing to do them, they switched parts. However, Carrie refuted this story in a Premiere magazine article called "The Force Wasn't With Them", about actors who auditioned unsuccessfully for Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. That article quoted Carrie as saying, "Not only do I love being nude, I would've been nude then… But anyway, it's total bulls**t".
- Amy Irving, who played Sue Snell, originally read for the part of Princess Leia and William Katt, who played Tommy Ross, originally read for the part of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
- Betty Buckley provides the voice over "Creepy Carrie! Creepy Carrie!" for the little boy on the bike that chastises Carrie on her way home.
- Shot over a period of 50 days.
- Stephen King wrote his first novel whilst he was also working for $1.60 an hour at an industrial laundry.
- The book Carrie reads in the library, "The Secret Science Behind Miracles", is in fact a real book, written by Max Freedom Long in 1948, with the ISBN being 0875160476. The telekinesis definition from the book that Carrie reads is actually in the real book.
- Amy Irving's feature film debut.
- According to the DVD extras, Betsy Slade was Brian De Palma's early choice for the role of Carrie White based on the strength of her appearance as a teenage girl seeking an abortion in the film Our Time. Sissy Spacek's screen test was so persuasive, however, she ultimately won the role.
- Sissy Spacek loved to watch audience's reactions to the ending. "When I was in New York and Carrie came out, I would go to theaters just for the last 5 minutes of the film to watch everyone jump out of their chairs", Sisst recalled. "People are all relaxed. The music is really beautiful and relaxing and all of a sudden that comes up and people just go crazy".
- After Stephen King wrote the manuscript for Carrie, he shelved it and got to work on his next novel, Salem's Lot.
- During filming of the scene where Miss Collins is chewing out the girls in gym, Brian De Palma was standing behind Amy Irving just off screen and whispering cruel and hurtful things into her ears in order to make Sue's look of misery and guilt on camera look genuine.
- Sissy Spacek would later perform the audiobook for Carrie.
- Stephen King was such a newcomer at the time of the film's release his first name was actually misspelled in the film's trailer, it was written as Steven, not Stephen.
- Linda Blair auditioned for the role of Carrie but turned it down fearing being typecast. Jill Clayburgh also auditioned for the title role, but was passed over. Farrah Fawcett also auditioned for the part, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts from Charlie's Angels.
- Stephen King said that while the film is dated, it is "good. It's much better than the book".
- Sissy Spacek was widely thought to be too pretty for the title role, the character in the novel being described as chunky, mousy-haired and covered in pimples with Sissy being a tall thin redhead with clear skin. The character was then rewritten slightly, saying that she would be pretty if she made an effort to tidy herself up a bit.
- Brian De Palma wanted a screeching music cue for the mirror breaking. It was after making that decision when he realized Psycho had already used the exact music he was looking for, but he went with it anyways.
- There was originally a scene where Carrie as a little girl is caught talking to a woman sunbathing in the backyard by her mother. Margaret drags Carrie inside and Carrie makes stones rain on the house which tied with the original ending of her burying the house in a shower of boulders. The scene was dropped because the stones didn't have the right effect.
- Piper Laurie said that the wounds her character, Margaret White, inflicts on herself toward the end of the film, were not created by makeup.
- The film's original trailer, now available on the DVD, shows an alternate take of Carrie in the shower stall from the beginning and the original voice of the little boy taunting Carrie from his bicycle.
- John Travolta auditioned on a lunch break while filming Welcome Back, Kotter. He showed up for his audition still dressed as Vinnie Barbarino.
- Some of Carrie derived from Stephen King's own experiences as a teacher.
- Amy Irving was the only cast member who reprised her role as Sue Snell in the sequel The Rage: Carrie 2.
- The split screen segment during the Prom massacre was also used in Sisters.
- Amy Irving was originally rather disappointed that many of her larger scenes were cut. A scene featuring her and William Katt in the backseat of his truck was cut, for unknown reasons.
- Although there has been 3 versions of Carrie and a sequel at this point, the 1976 version is the only version Stephen King likes. In fact when they were planning to remake this version in 2013 he openly asked "The question is why? When the original is so good". Stephen even likes this version better than his own novel, he says it's "much better than the book".
- The film that Tommy and Sue are watching on TV when Tommy agrees to take Carrie to the Prom is Duel at Diablo.
- The split screen finale took Brian de Palma 6 weeks to cut together.
- The boy on the bike was played by Brian De Palma's nephew Cameron.
- Nancy Allen later married the director Brian De Palma in 1979 and appeared in several of his films following their marriage, including Dressed to Kill and Blow Out. The latter film reunited her with her co-star John Travolta. Nancy and Brian divorced in 1984.
- This was Brian De Palma's first commercially successful film.
- Sissy Spacek filmed the scene in the locker room shower without any of the other actresses on the set.
- Melanie Griffith auditioned for a role.
- Quentin Tarantino has said this is one of his favorite films ever.
- At the Academy Awards, Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. Piper Laurie was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films nominated the film for a Golden Scroll in the category of Best Horror Film. The Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival gave the Grand Prize to Brian De Palma. A special mention was made out to Sissy Spacek for her acting. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards nominated "Carrie" for an Edgar for Best Motion Picture.
- In the 1976 version of Carrie and most of the other versions of Carrie, Carrie dies in her home after a brutal confrontation with her mother. In the novel she stalks Billy and Chris who attempt to run her down in the road, she blows up the car and then she collapses in a field by the road. Sue finds her there and confronts her, letting her know that she was not in on the prank to embarrass her, after which Carrie dies, in the field by the road.
- Sissy Spacek was invited to audition for the character of Sue Snell or Chris Hargensen, but Brian De Palma wanted her for the lead.