Who doesn’t love Bill Murray? The comedic actor, who eventually became known for his dramatic chops as well, has more than 80 acting credits spread across five decades of work in TV and movies. A beloved cult figure, Murray has starred in popular television, indie films, summer blockbusters, and Oscar bait. He's appeared in partially animated movies alongside some of the most famous athletes of all time and had roles for which he improvised more or less all of his dialogue. Here are the best scenes in Bill Murray’s filmography.
Murray got his first crack at a lead role in whacky camp comedy Meatballs in 1979. The classic motivational speech and “it just doesn’t matter” chant from that movie is one of Bill Murray's best scenes. After Meatballs, it only took the SNL alum about a year to grab his star-making role as golf groundskeeper Carl Spackler in Caddyshack, a part that made Murray one of the biggest comedic stars of the 1980s.
A few iconic bits from Caddyshack appear on this list of Bill Murray's greatest movie scenes, but it's not all '70s and '80s Murray. Lest you forget, he has appeared in every Wes Anderson movie except Bottle Rocket, and a certain Coppola was responsible for turning him from a comic actor into an Academy Award-contending dramatic thespian. There’s a secret whisper and karaoke scene from that Oscar winning film.
These are just 20 of Bill Murray's best film scenes. This list could easily have a 100 scenes, and it still wouldn’t be enough. Be sure to make your voice heard and vote up for your favorite best Bill Murray scenes.
The Famous "Well, that's what I heard" from Ghostbusters
Comedy is nothing without timing. Bill Murray nails this dis with the driest of deliveries: "Yes it's true, this man has no d*ck," he quips in Ghostbusters (1984), pretending to misunderstand something another character says. When melee breaks out, Murray's wisecracking Dr. Peter Venkman follows it up with, "Well, that's what I heard."
The Cinderella Story in Caddyshack
The Cinderella story monologue (is it a monologue or the rambling of a lunatic?) is perhaps the most iconic scene from a movie filled with iconic scenes. What golfer hasn't done a take on Carl Spackler's commentary while stepping up to the tee? Murray improvised the scene, spinning comedic gold from ambitions of a bumbling groundskeeper who envisions himself becoming the Augusta champion while hitting the heads off chrysanthemums.
"It's in the hole, it's in the hole!"
Big Ern's Victory in Kingpin
Big Ern's victory scene in Kingpin could make this list solely by virtue Murray's horrific comb over and puddy face, though also deserves a spot for the comedic delirium on display. It breaks our hearts to see Roy (Woody Harrelson) lose the bowling tournament by one pin to villainous Ernie McCracken (Murray). However, Ern's celebration (especially the weird, old man breaking dancing) and total disregard for Roy's prosthetic hand (which he accidentally pulls off then tosses away) is hilarious.
What's Big Ern going to do with the $1 million prize? Buy his way out of anything!
It Just Doesn't Matter in Meatballs
Counselor Tripper (Murray) must motivate his less-than-athletic campers for an annual Olympiad in Meatballs (1979). Tripper's crew from Camp North Star facec the richer, better looking, more athletic crew from Camp Mohawk. After the first day of competition, Tripper's camp is getting crushed. He lights a fire under his campers with a rousing, totally honest, speech: "It just wouldn't matter because all the really good looking girls would still go out with the guys from Mohawk because they've got all the money! It just doesn't matter if we win or we lose. IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER!"
What makes this scene pure, brilliant Murray is the way in which he turns what might otherwise be a generic, inspirational sports movie diatribe into an insane spectacle involving red-faced shrieking while he pounds a log from the fireplace on the floor. It's made all the sweeter by the inability of a lot the actors (look for them in the background as Murray speaks) to stop themselves from cracking up at the insanity.