Groundhog Day

Introduction

Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical TV weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive February 2 repeatedly. The film also stars Stephen Tobolowsky, Brian Doyle-Murray, Marita Geraghty, Angela Paton, Rick Ducommun, Rick Overton, and Robin Duke.

Rubin conceived the outline of Groundhog Day in the early 1990s. He wrote it as a spec script to gain meetings with producers for other work. It eventually came to the attention of Ramis who worked with Rubin to make his original idea less dark in tone and more palatable to a general audience by enhancing the comedy. After being cast, Murray clashed with Ramis over the script; Murray wanted to focus on the philosophical elements, whereas Ramis had concentrated on the comic aspects. Principal photography took place from March to June 1992 almost entirely in Woodstock, Illinois. Filming was difficult, in part because of bitterly cold weather, but also because of the ongoing conflict between Ramis and Murray.

Groundhog Day was considered a box office success on its release, if a modest one, earning over $70.9 million to become one of the highest-grossing films of 1993. It also received generally positive reviews. Reviewers were consistent in praise for the film's successful melding of overly sentimental and deeply cynical moments, and for the philosophical message beneath the comedy. It received multiple award nominations and won a BAFTA award for Best Original Screenplay. For all its success, the film marked the end of Ramis and Murray's long collaborative partnership that had produced films like Caddyshack (1980) and Ghostbusters (1984). The pair did not speak after filming until shortly before Ramis's death in 2014. The film was a showcase for Murray; previously seen only as a comic actor, his performance led to more serious lead roles in critically acclaimed films.

In the years since its release, the film has grown in esteem and is often considered to be among the greatest films of the 1990s and one of the greatest comedy films of all time. It also had a significant impact on popular culture; the term "Groundhog Day" became part of the English lexicon as a means to describe a monotonous, unpleasant, and repetitive situation. The film has been analyzed as a religious allegory by Buddhists, Christians, and Jews, who each see a deeper philosophical meaning in the film's story. Groundhog Day is also credited with the mainstream acceptance of comedy films featuring fantasy genre elements. In 2006, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry, finding it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". Groundhog Day has been adapted into a 2016 musical and a 2019 video game sequel, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son.


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