The Day Just Keep on Repeating: 30 years of Groundhog Day.
30 years ago today, Groundhog Day took over the world and its legacy has repeated year after year after year. Bill Murray stars as Phil Connors, a self absorbed, chronically obnoxious Pittsburgh Weatherman who finds himself trapped in a time loop on Groundhog Day in the small town of Punxsutawney Pennsylvania. Along the way Phil starts to fall in love with his producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and points his focus on winning her over.
The film was the last, and maybe even the best collaboration between Bill Murray and director\writer Harold Ramis. The two would cease their working relationship after Groundhog Day due to an unfortunate falling out, but the film was a masterpiece that both men along with writer Danny Rubin and the rest of the cast and crew all created together.
Harold Ramis explains the backstory of the film here:
The fun and drama of the film stems from Phil Connors’ journey from egotistical ass to essentially “Superman”. Bill Murray is simply at his very best in this film. Never before or since had Bill had the chance to really flex his muscles and give us a performance both comically brilliant and emotionally powerful as he did as Phil Connors. The fact that he never won or even been nominated for an Oscar for this film is a crime in my opinion.
At its heart the film is a love story. The courtship between Phil and Rita is a romantic journey that feels very earned by the end as we go from not wanting Phil to get the girl to unbelievably happy that Phil gets the girl. The film’s secret weapon is Andie MacDowell as Rita who gave the film its heart and its soul. The chemistry between Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell is simply magical.
The legacy of Groundhog Day is a big one, but to keep it simple the film stands tall as one of the greatest comedies of all time. It also stands tall as a top film in both Bill Murray’s and Harold Ramis’ long lists of best films. The comedy and poignant heart of the film still resonates with fans 30 years later as well as the overall message of the film that many different religions have claimed as their own including the Buddhists who think that Groundhog Day specifically represents their philosophy as well as Christians etc. The film’s timeless and universal themes resonate with various different groups and that’s what has played a major part in its long lasting success.
Happy 30th Groundhog Day! Thanks for giving us so many laughs and tears over… and over…. and over… and over again. This film just keeps repeating!