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Readers’ Poll: The 20 Greatest Bill Murray Movies

See how ‘Groundhog Day,’ ‘Caddyshack’ and ‘Lost In Translation’ measured up

Touchstone/Courtesy Everett Collection

Is there a more beloved actor alive than Bill Murray? The Saturday Night Live veteran can steal a movie by appearing in only a single scene, and the public is happy to instantly forget flops like The Monuments Men and Mad Dog and Glory as long as he keeps churning out things like Moonrise Kingdom and popping up at random Williamsburg parties. We asked our readers to select their favorite Bill Murray movies. Click through to see the results. 

​Little Shop of Horrors

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

20. ‘​Little Shop of Horrors’

Even near the commercial height of his career, Murray was still happy to shoot short cameos in movies he truly believed in. For 1986's Little Shop of Horrors he shot an amazing scene where he played a man that loved going to the dentist. Much of his dialogue was improvised. 

Larger than life

Courtesy of United Artists

19. ‘Larger Than Life’

One might think that a movie featuring Bill Murray, Matthew McConaughey, Janeane Garofalo and an elephant couldn't be all that bad. Think again. This is a terrible, terrible movie. The fact it made this list proves that even the crappiest Bill Murray movie has a tiny cult around it. 

Hyde Park On The Hudson

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

18. ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’

Bill Murray's portrayal as FDR in this 2012 film was absolutely stellar. Too bad the picture, about the president's brief affair with his distant cousin over a couple of crazy days in 1939, failed to really go anywhere. 

Meatballs

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

17. ‘Meatballs’

This 1979 summer camp classic featured Murray in his first leading role in a major film. It was also directed by Ivan Reitman, paving the way for an amazing string of movies by the duo in the 1980s. Stay away from the many Meatballs sequel. You've been warned. 

Quick Change

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

16. ‘Quick Change’

Bill Murray's first and last movie as a director is 1990's Quick Change. It's about a group of bank robbers that dress up as clowns, but can't manage to find their way out of New York City after a heist. It deserved a wider audience. 

What about Bob?

Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

15. ‘What about Bob?’

Legend has it that Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss got into terrible fights on the set of What About Bob? If true, the tension probably fueled their amazing work in the movie about a deeply-disturbed, but kindly man that becomes obsessed with his therapist and his family. It's an oddly dark comedy, culminating in a crazy scene where a murderous Dreyfuss ties Murray to a tree with a bomb strapped around his neck. 

Rushmore

Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

14. ‘Rushmore’

Bill Murray could have probably made $20 million for a third Ghostbusters movie in the late 1990s, but instead he agreed to take on the role of Herman Blume in Rushmore for a mere $9,000. It was a bold move, but it opened up the door for a lot of exciting projects over the past fifteen years, including a string of movies with Wes Anderson. 

Tootsie

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

13. ‘Tootsie’

After a huge run of hits in the early 1980s, Bill Murray could have easily passed over this tiny role in Tootsie as Dustin Hoffman's playwright roommate, but he signed on anyway and established a parallel career as a character actor in top-shelf films.

Ed Wood

Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

12. ‘Ed Wood’

He may be billed underneath Max Casella in Tim Burton's Ed Wood biopic, but Bill Murray completely steals the show as Bunny Breckridge. His monologue about going to Mexico in a failed quest for a sex change should have won him an Oscar. 

Zombieland

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

11. ‘Zombieland’

In the middle of a zombie apocalypse, Bill Murray – playing himself – was smart enough to dress up like a zombie so he could go around town in peace. Sadly, it didn't stop Jesse Eisenberg from killing him after thinking he was the real deal.

Razor's Edge

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

10. ‘Razor’s Edge’

One of the main reasons that Bill Murray agreed to star in the original Ghostbusters was to get Columbia to green light this adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 about a World War 1 veteran searching for the meaning of life. It was a commercial disaster, but Columbia more than made up for the loss with Ghostbusters

Kingpin

Courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

9. ‘Kingpin’

The Farrelly brothers' follow-up to Dumb & Dumber cast Bill Murray as an obnoxious bowling champ who clashes with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid. As usual, he makes a great villain. 

Scrooged

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

8. ‘Scrooged’

This Christmas Carol for the 1980s featured Bill Murray as a heartless TV executive that learns the true meaning of the holiday with a little help from David Johansen as the ghost of Christmas past. 

Where the Buffalo Roam

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

7. ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’

Most Hunter S. Thompson fans feel that Johnny Depp played a superior version of the gonzo journalist in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, but Murray was there first in this 1980 flick about the writer's insane life. 

Life Aquatic

Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

6. ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’

The Life Aquatic was initially seen as Wes Anderson's disappointing follow-up to The Royal Tenenbaums, but multiple viewings reveal the hidden soul of this 2001 oceanic adventure. It also has an amazing soundtrack featuring Seu Jorge covering David Bowie songs in Portuguese. 

Lost in Translation

Courtesy of Focus Features

5. ‘Lost in Translation’

Murray plays a washed-up actor that spends an intense few days with a teenage Scarlett Johansen in Japan when he's in the country to film commercials. Eleven years later, people are still dying to know what exactly he whispered in her ear at the end. 

Caddyshack

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

4. ‘Caddyshack’

It's thirty-four years later, and people are still having conversations consisting entirely of dialogue from Caddyshack. This is a movie that holds up to repeat viewings about as well as The Big Lebowski, and that is high praise. 

Stripes

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

3. ‘Stripes’

Bill Murray and Ivan Reitman were on an insane roll in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Right after filming Meatballs and Caddyshack, the duo began work on this hysterical military comedy. Most people don't feel it's better than Caddyshack, but our readers have spoken. 

Ghostbusters

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

2. ‘Ghostbusters’

No matter what Bill Murray accomplishes over the next few decades, his obituary will probably mention his role as Peter Venkman in the first paragraph. It's a movie that launched a cartoon series, action figures, Murray's only live action sequel and endless Internet speculation about a third movie that's never going to happen. 

Groundhog Day

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

1. ‘Groundhog Day’

Groundhog Day was widely praised when it first hit theaters in 1993, but over the past twenty years its reputation has risen considerably. The movie has been embraced by everyone from hipsters to deeply committed Christians, who see it as a parable about the virtues of altruism. It also has that hysterical scene where he lets the groundhog drive the truck. 

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