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 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!"
Carl and Ty Share Some Grass in Caddyshack
All Ty (Chevy Chase) wants to do is keep playing the ball he accidentally hits into Carl's shed in this scene from Caddyshack (1980). Carl, trying to be a hospitable host, gets in the way of Ty's desires, offering him a place to sit and some alcohol that would probably take a few years off his life. The groundskeeper also shows Ty his hybrid grass, which serves as sod for the course and herb for the bong. The pair wind up sharing a Bob Marley-sized joint that sends Ty in a whirl with a single hit.
The contrasting comedic styles of Murray, who absent-mindedly mumbles his way through the scene, and Chevy Chase, who always seems balanced on a line between inherent courteousness and coke-fueled ADD insanity, combine for a disorientingly bizarre and hilarious encounter, each trying to outdo the other with his outlandishness.
Phil Steals the Groundhog in Groundhog Day
Tired of living the same day over and over again, bitter weatherman Phil (Bill Murray) captures Punxsutawney Phil, the titular groundhog, and takes him for a wild ride. Several people chase after Phil and Phil, the groundhog at the wheel of an old red pickup. It's a totally insane little sequence, allowing Murray to go full hog. Despite the Thelma and Louise ending, we know Phil and Phil will be perfectly fine in the morning, which is, in part, the genius of this movie.
Daniel Stern, as the cameraman, gets the best line of the scene: "He might be okay," uttered just before Murray's truck explodes in a ball of fire.
The Dentist Scene from Little Shop of Horrors
Bill Murray makes a cameo as Arthur Denton in the 1986 musical comedy Little Shop of Horrors. Unlike most of Dr. Scrivello's (Steve Martin) patients, Denton really likes going to the dentist. In fact, he's completely giddy after learning he may need a root canal. He also brought his own disposable bib and cotton balls, and helpfully turns the light on for the doctor, to save him some time.