Caddyshack is a 1980 American sports comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It was released 33 years ago today, and stars Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray. This was Ramis' first feature film and was a major boost to Dangerfield's film career; previously, he was known mostly for his stand-up comedy. Grossing nearly $40 million at the domestic box office -- 17th highest of the year -- it was the first of a series of similar comedies. The film has garnered a large cult following and has been hailed by many publications, such as Time and ESPN, as one of the funniest sports movies of all time. The rowdy, improvisational atmosphere around the filming, created by Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield, didn't sit well with all the members of the cast. Ted Knight, widely regarded as a very nice man, got fed up with the constant shenanigans. Initially, Murray's, Chase's, and Dangerfield's roles were to be cameo appearances. But their deft improvising caused their roles to be expanded much to the chagrin of Scott Colomby and some of the other cast members whose roles were reduced as a result.
Bill Murray improvised the "Cinderella story" sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to emulate a kid announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of 'mums and did the scene in one take. The movie's line "Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac...It's in the hole! It's in the hole! It's in the hole!" was voted as the #92 movie quote by the American Film Institute, out of 100.
The famous scene that begins when Ty Webb's golf ball crashes into Carl Spackler's ramshackle house was not in the original script. It was added by director Harold Ramis after realizing that two of his biggest stars, Chevy Chase and Bill Murray -- who did not get along due to a feud dating back to their days on Saturday Night Live -- did not have a scene together. The three met for lunch and wrote the scene together. Although it has nothing to do with the plot, it is widely regarded as the funniest scene in the movie. This is the only time that Chase and Murray have appeared in a movie together, since this scene had been cut from the final release.
Cindy Morgan did not want to appear topless in the movie. While director Harold Ramis was amenable to changing the scene, producer Jon Peters asked to talk to her while Ramis had her on the phone. When the call ended, Peters informed Ramis that Morgan would do the topless scene - because Peters had told her she would never work in Hollywood again if she didn't. In the lovemaking scene, Cindy Morgan was so uncomfortable that Harold Ramis ordered a closed set for it. Michael O'Keefe asked all the cast and crew to take off their shirts for the scene to make her feel more comfortable.
A big hill was built from scratch for the climactic 18th hole scene because the country club did not want their course blown up. They used too many explosives, which completely destroyed the hill and caused planes flying by to report the explosion as if a plane had crashed there.
After filming wrapped each day, most of the cast and crew spent the nights partying, which eventually took its toll before the end of filming as cast and crew began to show up late for morning calls, holding up filming for hours at a time. The movie turned out to be Ted Knight's last, and his performance as Judge Elihu Smails ranks as one of the greatest sports movie villains of all time. Unsurprisingly, Caddyshack is a huge favorite among golfers and golf fans. Tiger Woods so adores the movie, he played Carl Spackler in an American Express commercial that included references to many of the movie's most famous scenes.
You'll no doubt celebrate today's 33 year anniversary by watching Caddyshack on your new 55 inch curved HDTV, but for the rest of us, if the making of doesn't tide you over and you have an hour and a half to spare, you can watch the entire movie, and if for some reason -- perhaps you've lost abet with Bishop Pickering -- here's Caddyshack 2.
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