The sports comedy Caddyshack is a cult classic appreciated by comedy nerds and golfing dads alike. Released in 1980, the crude, vulgarity-laced film launched Harold Ramis’s directorial career and pulled Bill Murray into the spotlight.
Caddyshack behind the scenes also had plenty of dark drama and tragedy, though. As a first-time director, Ramis allowed (or overlooked) rampant cocaine use, which often had the studio execs tearing their hair out and led to a production that was as improvised as it was scripted. There was the requisite tension between Chevy Chase and everyone else with whom he was working. And the crew notoriously even set off a huge explosion on a real-life golf course without getting the owners' permission... all while diverting them with food and booze.
The Caddyshack cast had a killer time shooting this movie and thanks to a room full of drugs (it was the '80s, after all), they left the rest of us with some wild stories, and a solid film to boot.
Caddyshack wouldn’t be Caddyshack if the pristine golf course at a ritzy country club didn’t explode. The film crew had trouble convincing the owners to let them detonate the fairway so they threw the owners a party to create a diversion while they blew up their golf course. Detonate golf courses and ask questions later?
Clearly the Caddyshack bunch were free spirits but, thanks to their impulsiveness, they created one of the most memorable movies of all time.
It takes years of dedication to become known as a legend like Bill Murray. Today, Bill Murray is famous for crashing weddings, parties, and generally being a great light in this world but he was once just a young actor who liked to party so hard he would pass out in sand traps. Luckily, he didn't wander too far away from set and was still able to give a great performance.
In a perfect world, Bill Murray and Chevy Chase would have been the best of friends but instead they did not get along at the time of Caddyshack filming — their feuding became almost legendary. Bill Murray replaced Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live which made them professional enemies. Things were so tense on set that cast and crew were so worried that violence would erupt but somehow cooler heads prevailed.
These two were competitive, and whether it was professionalism or vindictiveness that encouraged them to bring their "A" game to set, it worked. But it wasn't the first time that Chevy Chase would have beef with a colleague — nor would it be the last.
Filmmaking has a magical allure but at the end of the day executives in Hollywood make films to turn a profit, and obviously rampant drug use can hinder their bottom line. Harold Ramis remembered in a Sports Illustrated interview about the wild '70s, saying,
"We shot the movie in 1979. It was a pretty debauched country at the time. The cocaine business in South Florida was mammoth, and everyone was doing everything."
The production manager, Rusty Lemonrade, was unaware that he was hired to be a spy to keep an eye out on the young and wild crew.