Can Bill Murray do no wrong? I mean really, even in his worst movie, he is the best. That is certainly not the case for the film about to be discussed, all that just had to be said. Back before Happy Gilmore, there was an even funnier film all about golf. Well, the film is about golf and gophers. We are talking about the classic comedy, Caddyshack. Caddyshack arguably has one of the more revered Murray characters as he portrayed the eccentric groundskeeper, Carl Spackler. Murray was joined by plenty of the best comedians of the era, which in turn made this film one of the funniest comedies of all time.
Caddyshack came out in 1980 and boasted some of the world’s best comedians all in one film. Besides Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Ted Knight were a part of this hilarious ensemble cast. This was Harold Ramis’s directorial debut. Ramis is famous for portraying none other than Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2. On top of the high-level talent that was part of the writing and star power of the film, it remains a highly rated comedic venture. Caddyshack currently holds a “certified fresh” 73% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an even higher 87% audience rating. Simply put, this is a classic comedy of the highest degree. The film grossed $40 million worldwide, making it the 17th highest-earning film of 1980. While that may not seem like a ton of money, $40 million equates to $145 million in 2022 via Dollartimes. Not bad for a comedy.
Caddyshack follows the life of Danny Noonan as he tries to make a name for himself while caddying for some of the best golfers at the Bushwood Country Club. Should Noonan win the Caddie Day golf tournament, he will win a scholarship from the club’s president, Judge Elihu Smails (Knight). However, hotshot golfer Ty Webb (Chase) and the rich real estate investor Al Czervik (Dangerfield) think that the judge is up to something and do what they can to expose his dealings. All the while, the unstable groundskeeper, Carl Spackler (Bill Murray), is attempting to hunt down a gopher that has been wrecking the course. Some of the best exchanges of the film are between Spackler and the gopher who has a personality all its own.
While Caddyshack is the quintessential 1980s comedy, there are loads of stories that made the film that much more special. Apparently, a ton of the plot came from Harold Ramis, Brian-Doyle Murray, and Douglas Kenney recalling the times they spent at country clubs and caddying for rich benefactors. The same is said about Billy Murray and the character that he provided. He had been a groundskeeper, caddy, and owned a hot dog stand at a country club when he was younger, so Ramis brought his experiences into the film as well. Murray allegedly showed up for only six days of filming and most of his lines were completely ad-libbed. This also includes his legendary “Cinderella Story” scene. You can see the scene below:
While Bill Murray was only meant to make a cameo, his oddball character was so well-liked that Harold Ramis told him to stick around the production so that he could be added to further scenes. While it was only six days of shooting, Murray’s character would go on to be a staple in the film. The above scene was also part of AFI’s greatest movie quotes of all time. The famous “Dali Lama” speech was also something that Murray made up on the spot. Both these scenes are equally hilarious and further drive home why the man is one of the most beloved comedic actors in the history of cinema.
Caddyshack is currently streaming on Netflix until April 1st. Meaning you have until March 31st to watch the film. Without the early genius of Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield, there would be no slapstick comedies like Superbad, Happy Gilmore, and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. Films like Caddyshack paved the wave for the raunchy and slapstick comedy to blend in the most genius of ways. For anyone who enjoys contemporary comedies of this nature, go check this classic film out on Netflix. You will not be disappointed.