It's been four decades since "Caddyshack" opened in theaters on July 25, 1980. The golf comedy was a major breakthrough for Bill Murray, who was best known for his work on TV's "Saturday Night Live" at the time. In honor of the 40th anniversary of the iconic Harold Ramis-directed film, which ESPN once called "perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made," Wonderwall.com is counting down Bill's best movie moments. Keep reading to see where "Caddyshack" and more of the beloved actor's best projects rank…
No. 20: "Meatballs"
We're starting our list off with the first film in which Bill Murray had a lead role. The 1979 summer classic "Meatballs" was directed by Ivan Reitman and tells the story of camp counselor Tripper Harrison (played by Bill). The movie was well-received by critics and audiences and paved the way for a string of Bill-and-Ivan comedies in the 1980s.
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No. 19: "Space Jam"
We couldn't create a list of the best Bill Murray flicks and not include this childhood favorite! Bill stars as a fictional version of himself in the 1996 classic "Space Jam." The movie — which also starred Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes characters — was an instant hit, earning more than $230 million worldwide. Today, "Space Jam" stands as the highest grossing basketball film of all time.
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No. 18: "Little Shop of Horrors"
Bill Murray only had a cameo in "Little Shop of Horrors," but his scene is one of the most memorable and entertaining of the whole film. The iconic actor plays Arthur Denton, a hyperactive masochist who visits the dentist for "a long, slow root canal." Bill improvised much of his dialogue in the 1986 film, which grossed more than $38 million worldwide.
No. 17: "Quick Change"
"Quick Change" is the only film Bill Murray has ever directed, and he did an amazing job. The 1990 flick is about a group of bank robbers who dress up as clowns, which seems like it would be cheesy, but it's actually hilarious. "Quick Change" received rave reviews from critics and viewers though only grossed $15 million at the box office.
No. 16: "What About Bob?"
Bill Murray was truly a master of comedy in 1991's "What About Bob?" But he and co-star Richard Dreyfuss reportedly did not get along on set and engaged in terrible fights. That tension contributed to their amazing work in the film, which is about an obsessive patient who constantly bothers his psychiatrist. "Bob" made more than $63 million worldwide and was beloved by critics and viewers.
No. 15: "Rushmore"
Bill Murray was only paid $9,000 for his work in "Rushmore" opposite Jason Schwartzman, but the benefits were worth the financial sacrifice. The 1998 film — which marked his first of many collaborations with filmmaker Wes Anderson — showed his acting range and helped establish Bill as more than a broad comedic actor. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work in the quirky indie, and in 2016, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
No. 14: "Hyde Park on Hudson"
"Hyde Park on Hudson" wasn't a big moneymaker, but Bill Murray's performance as President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nothing short of flawless in the 2012 film, which also starred Laura Linney as Franklin's cousin Margaret Suckley. Bill's take on the former president was so noteworthy that he was nominated for a Golden Globe for best actor.
No. 13: "Tootsie"
Jessica Lange, Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Teri Garr… honestly what else could you ask for? "Tootsie" is another classic '80s film that made our list thanks to its amazing all-star cast, humorous storyline and subtle social commentary. Bill's very small role in the 1982 movie helped to build his reputation as a character actor. "Tootsie" was a huge success: It earned $177 million worldwide and received 10 Academy Award nominations.
No. 12: "Ed Wood"
"Ed Wood" is another Academy Award-winning film in which Bill Murray starred. The 1994 flick about cult filmmaker Ed Wood (played by Johnny Depp) was a huge critical success that earned widespread praise for its ingenuity, quality acting and entertaining dialogue. Bill steals the show in every scene in which he appears as John "Bunny" Breckinridge, and many have argued that he should have received an Oscar nomination.
No. 11: "Zombieland"
Who says zombies have to be terrifying? "Zombieland" flips the typical horror trope on its head and makes zombies funny — with the help of Bill Murray, of course. Bill had a hilarious cameo in the 2009 zom-com playing a fictional version of himself. "Zombieland" was a critical and commercial success, earning more than $102 million worldwide and spawning a 2019 sequel. (Bill also made a cameo in an end-credits scene in "Zombieland: Double Tap.")
No. 10: "Kingpin"
Bill Murray sure does make a great bad guy. In "Kingpin," he starred as an insufferable bowling champion who clashes with Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid's characters. The film is considered one of the most underrated movies of the '90s and has gained a large following since its release in 1996.
No. 9: "Scrooged"
"Scrooged" is an example of a Christmas movie done right. The 1980s "A Christmas Carol" reimagining stars Bill Murray as a heartless TV executive who has to learn the true meaning of the holiday. "Scrooged" received mixed reviews when it was released in 1988 but is now considered one of the best Christmas movies ever made.
No. 8: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Coming in at No. 8 is the beloved Wes Anderson film "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The 2014 movie — which starred Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody and more — earned widespread critical acclaim when it debuted. Reviewers and audiences loved the eccentricities in the plot, the colorful sets and costumes and the amazing acting. "Budapest Hotel" won a best picture Golden Globe and earned three more Globe nominations, as well as nine Oscar nods, which resulted in four wins for best costumes, makeup and hairstyling, production design and original score.
No. 7: "The Royal Tenenbaums"
"The Royal Tenenbaums" is another example of Bill Murray excelling in a quirky, independent film role. The Wes Anderson movie about a dysfunctional and eccentric yet loving family was an immediate hit when it opened in theaters in 2001. "Tenenbaums" received rave reviews from critics and audiences, grossed more than $71 million and earned an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay.
No. 6: "Caddyshack"
Eighties classic "Caddyshack" comes in at No. 6. The golf flick has been hailed as one of the funniest sports movies of all time, thanks in large part to Bill Murray's hilarious performance. "Caddyshack" was not well-received when it debuted in 1980 but is now considered a cult classic and a must-watch '80s film.
No. 5: "Stripes"
We've made it to our top 5! The 1980s really gave us some of the best Bill Murray material, and "Stripes" is no exception. The 1981 war comedy was another successful collaboration between Bill and director Ivan Reitman. Critics loved the film for its fun plot and one-liners, and viewers seemed to agree: "Stripes" grossed $85 million on a $10 million budget.
No. 4: "The Jungle Book"
We absolutely loved "The Jungle Book." The 2016 film is a live action/CGI telling of the classic children's tale starring Bill Murray as the lovable Baloo. Critics and viewers (including us) praised the movie for its amazing imagery, flawless acting and intriguing new details. "The Jungle Book" was so successful that it earned nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
No. 3: "Lost in Translation"
"Lost in Translation" is the film that truly showcased Bill Murray's acting range and led to the accolades and recognition he deserves. The 2003 movie from Sofia Coppola about an aging actor who befriends a young woman (played by Scarlett Johansson) in a Tokyo hotel is regarded as one of the best films of the 2000s. The Oscar-winning project was critically acclaimed and a big commercial success, grossing more than $119 million. "Translation" also gave Bill his first and only Academy Award nomination for best actor.
No. 2: "Groundhog Day"
"Groundhog Day" was seen as an average romantic comedy when it debuted in 1993, but today, its brilliance is fully recognized. The movie is considered by many to be one of the best comedies ever, thanks in part to an amazing performance from Bill Murray. Bill perfectly portrayed egoistical TV weatherman Phil Connors opposite Andie MacDowell and pulled off every joke. "Groundhog" earned more than $70 million at the box office and in 2006 was added to the U.S. National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
No. 1: "Ghostbusters"
Of course our No. 1 pick is "Ghostbusters" — which is literally the perfect movie, in our humble opinion! Bill Murray established himself as an A-lister and Hollywood icon with his portrayal of Peter Venkman in the 1984 film. "Ghostbusters" has it all: paranormal activity, witty dialogue and great action scenes. The movie was an instant hit, grossing nearly $300 million worldwide during a time when movie tickets only cost $3 (we know, it's unbelievable!). It also spawned an entire franchise that included several video games, two television shows, a sequel and a reboot!