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Groundhog Day

He's having the worst day of his life... over, and over... 

Year: 1993 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: This film is expected to have certain elements which are subtitled, but it is not expected that the entire film will contain them. 
Directed by Harold Ramis 
Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott  
An image from Groundhog Day

In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil who relives the same awful day over and over again until it becomes the best day of his life.

Bill Murray’s character is a weatherman who is forced to do reports on meaningless events and this one is called Groundhog Day, a symbolic festival when a normal groundhog is ‘asked’ whether he sees a shadow, if he does that means there will be a longer winter. The one thing that could make the trip worthwhile for Phil would be his producer, Rita, played by Andie MacDowell. Unfortunately Murray gets stuck in a cycle of reliving Groundhog Day, with no explanation. He lives each new day trying to perfect it in an attempt to break the cycle.

It’s a very funny film and Murray’s character deals with the repetitive days in so many ways. Some websites claim that to achieve everything he does he must have been trapped in Groundhog Day for anywhere between 8 years and 34 years. Over this time he is euphoric about the freedom of never dying or facing the consequences of the next day, however it becomes a curse that he cannot escape from. The film deals with the psychological effects of being stuck in a supernatural loop but is also incredibly humorous and doesn’t take anything too seriously.

Rhiannon Williams

Oft imitated but never matched, this is the story of weatherman Phil Connors and the longest day of his life. In the dead-end hole of Punxsutawney, Philadelphia, Connors is sent to report on the annual waking of the groundhog, a ritual he feels is far below him, and his character�s contempt for, and ridiculing of, the local townspeople is a delight to behold (�Morons, your bus is leaving�). But what starts as a conventional comedy takes a sudden jerk sideways as Connors wakes up the morning after only to discover it�s, once again, Groundhog Day. At first he is confused and suspicious, soon making way for a new lease of life as he starts to use it to his advantage, playing on his God-like knowledge of events, only to eventually become depressed and suicidal realising that this day may never end. The day, like the weather, will not change, and eventually he comes to realise the only change possible is within himself.

The film far surpasses most comedies, for while Murray is brilliantly cynical and bitter, it is the humanity of the film which appeals so much. Seeing him interact with (insult) his co-workers, the charming Rita and the slightly simple cameraman Larry, is a joy, but even more exciting is the way his behaviour subtly changes each day. Fantastic set pieces like the most stylish and effortlessly cool bank heist in cinema history are littered throughout the film but in no way overshadow the rest. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the editing and direction fast and to the point. The film is filled with brilliantly drawn characters like Ned Ryerson (�BING!�) and filled with moments of genius such as Connors� slow seduction of an unsuspecting woman by collecting information about her day after day. Groundhog Day�s legacy can be seen in commercials, music videos, television and numerous films since, including Run Lola Run and Sliding Doors. But Ramis� film is the one which started it all, and the one which beats them all. A day spent watching Groundhog Day is one well worth repeating.

Peter Lefort

Groundhog Day is one of those rare pleasures - a major Hollywood comedy that is both funny and captivating.

It is the story of a cynical TV weatherman, Phil Conners (Murray) who is less than pleased at being despatched to the small town of Punxsutawney to cover the annual Groundhog Day Festival. Anyway, what essentially happens is that Phil wakes up in the morning to find it's February 2nd, as he does the next morning, and the morning after that.

Bill is a little perturbed at being stuck in the same day for the rest of his life and seeks the help of his psychiatrist. But awakening to another February 2nd he soon finds he is able to exploit his situation to his own means, as he no longer has to bear the consequences of his actions. So he begins on a spree of robbing banks, seducing women, and even occasionally killing himself in the most imaginative ways since Road Runner.

Of course the problem with such a wonderful idea is that it so often sounds much better than it actually is; but this is not the case here with Murray and McDowell providing the luaghs at an alarming rate. Indeed the scenes in which Murray draws up a complete pyschological profile of the object of his desires, in order to attempt to get her between the sheets only to be continually frustrated, are amongst the funniest ever. Harold Ramis, writer of Animal House and director of Ghostbusters has once again delivered an hilarious and very clever Hollywood comedy. Murray is his usual excellent self and even McDowell acquits herself most admirably.


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Screenings of this film:

1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Spring Term (16mm)
1994/1995 Spring Term (35mm)
2005/2006 Spring Term (35mm)
2013/2014 Spring Term (35mm)
2018/2019 Spring Term (digital)
2018/2019 Spring Term (digital)