(LOS ANGELES) — Twenty-five years ago today, the Bill Murray film Groundhog Day hit theaters, and went on to become an enduring classic that redefined the way we think about the holiday.
In the 1993 movie, Murray plays self-absorbed TV weatherman Phil Connors, who travels to Punxsutawney, PA to report on Groundhog Day and winds up re-living the same day uncountable times, in the process transforming into a better man. It went on to become a classic, regarded by many as one of the prime examples of a smart, existential comedy.
Groundhog Day was directed by the late Harold Ramis and co-starred Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott and Stephen Tobolowsky.
It’s not clear in the film how many times Phil repeats Groundhog Day, but there are many theories. Tobolowsky, who plays annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson, told ABC Radio on the movie’s 20th anniversary, “I counted nine days, other people have said it took 100 days, some people have said it took years.”
Tobolowsky noted that Ramis was a Buddhist “and he said the idea in his head was that in Buddhism, for human spirit to elevate to a higher level of consciousness, takes 10,000 years.”
Danny Rubin, who co-wrote Groundhog Day with Ramis, said of the question: “The studio really felt that it should only last about two weeks…because that’s how long it takes to solve a modern-day problem…on a sitcom. I had thought at least more than one lifetime, and they were afraid people’s heads would explode.”
Groundhog Day was adapted into a theatrical musical that had its world premiere at The Old Vic in London in summer 2016. On April 17 of the next year, the production opened at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway.
Many of the movie’s stars attended the show, with Murray famously showing up two nights in a row in August, mirroring the movie’s plot of re-living the same day.
The Broadway show ended September 17, 2017, after 176 performances.
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