Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 98 mins | Comedy-drama, Romance, Fantasy | 12 February 1993

Director:

Harold Ramis

Cinematographer:

John Bailey

Production Designer:

David Nichols

Production Company:

Columbia Pictures
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HISTORY

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Bill Murray, co-screenwriter Danny Rubin, and first assistant director Mike Haley attended a Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney, PA, but filmmaker Harold Ramis claimed the town “didn’t have the kind of town center we needed for the film." Instead, Ramis chose “the tiny village of Woodstock, IL,” which he called “the classic small town of the imagination.” For the exterior and interior of the "Pennsylvanian Hotel," the production used Woodstock’s opera house. Production designer Dave Nichols built the "Tip Top Café," used prominently in the film, on the town square, and constructed the "Gobbler’s Knob" set using local children’s art for decoration. Randy Rupert sculpted ice figures, including a bust of Andie MacDowell’s character, “Rita.” “Scooter,” the groundhog that portrayed “Punxsutawney Phil,” had at least three stand-ins. Principal photography began 16 Mar 1992 in Woodstock and ended 10 Jun 1992 in Chicago, IL. A bedroom interior for Bill Murray's character was built and filmed in a warehouse in Cary, IL, and a second unit shot exteriors in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. The 1 Jun 1992 DV reported the budget was $28 million. Harold Ramis told both the 6 Aug 1992 HR and 8 Feb 1993 LAT that Scooter the groundhog bit Bill Murray twice during a scene in which Murray’s character, “Phil Connors,” kidnaps the animal: “The groundhog will do whatever you want as long as you keep feeding it bananas. When it ran out of bananas, it started eating Bill.”
       In a short film included on the 2008 “Special 15th Anniversary Edition” DVD of Groundhog Day, Ramis recalled that Danny Rubin’s ... More Less

According to production notes in AMPAS library files, actor Bill Murray, co-screenwriter Danny Rubin, and first assistant director Mike Haley attended a Groundhog Day festival in Punxsutawney, PA, but filmmaker Harold Ramis claimed the town “didn’t have the kind of town center we needed for the film." Instead, Ramis chose “the tiny village of Woodstock, IL,” which he called “the classic small town of the imagination.” For the exterior and interior of the "Pennsylvanian Hotel," the production used Woodstock’s opera house. Production designer Dave Nichols built the "Tip Top Café," used prominently in the film, on the town square, and constructed the "Gobbler’s Knob" set using local children’s art for decoration. Randy Rupert sculpted ice figures, including a bust of Andie MacDowell’s character, “Rita.” “Scooter,” the groundhog that portrayed “Punxsutawney Phil,” had at least three stand-ins. Principal photography began 16 Mar 1992 in Woodstock and ended 10 Jun 1992 in Chicago, IL. A bedroom interior for Bill Murray's character was built and filmed in a warehouse in Cary, IL, and a second unit shot exteriors in the Pittsburgh, PA, area. The 1 Jun 1992 DV reported the budget was $28 million. Harold Ramis told both the 6 Aug 1992 HR and 8 Feb 1993 LAT that Scooter the groundhog bit Bill Murray twice during a scene in which Murray’s character, “Phil Connors,” kidnaps the animal: “The groundhog will do whatever you want as long as you keep feeding it bananas. When it ran out of bananas, it started eating Bill.”
       In a short film included on the 2008 “Special 15th Anniversary Edition” DVD of Groundhog Day, Ramis recalled that Danny Rubin’s original script “started in the middle,” after Phil Connors had already been trapped in Groundhog Day for an indefinite period of time. However, associate producer/development executive Whitney White suggested the audience might feel cheated if it could not watch Phil’s initial reaction to being caught in a time loop. Also, in deleted scenes hinting at how Phil spent his “eternity” in Punxsutawney, he is shown bowling a perfect 300 game, clearing a pool table with elaborate shots, and pulling a girl from the path of a speeding automobile.
       The movie grossed more than $14.6 million on its opening weekend and $28 million during its first two weeks, according to the 17 Feb 1993 HR and 8 Mar 1993 Newsweek.
       The 12 Dec 1995 HR reported that U.S. District Judge Denny Chin threw out a $15-million lawsuit that claimed Groundhog Day was based on a 1981 novel by Leon Arden called One Fine Day. Though both stories were based on the idea of a man trapped in a repeating day, Chin stated in Arden v. Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., that “copyright laws do not protect ideas, but only particular expressions of ideas.” The novel was “dark and introspective,” with “tragic events,” whereas the film “is essentially a romantic comedy.” Another writer, Richard Lupoff, complained publicly that his 1973 short story, “12:01 PM,” and a 1990 short film adaptation, 12:01 PM, inspired Groundhog Day, but he was not part of the lawsuit. In Lupoff’s story, a New York City office worker relives his lunch hour over and over. Perhaps the earliest movie about a time loop was Turn Back the Clock (1933, see entry), in which the protagonist relives the first three decades of the 20th century and tries to correct the mistakes he made the first time, with disastrous results.
       According to the 18 Nov 2002 HR, Groundhog Day was being remade by an Italian film company under the title Il Giorno della cicogna, or Stork Day. The $4.5 million film was set to be shot in Rome, Italy, and the Canary Islands.
       The 2 Feb 2012 LAT noted that Groundhog Day was inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 2006, and that it ranks #8 and #34, respectively, on AFI’s lists of best fantasy films and best comedies.
       The 31 Jan 2013 Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, IL, reported that Woodstock, IL, where Groundhog Day was filmed, began its own annual Groundhog Days festival, which runs from 27 Jan to 3 Feb. On 2 Feb, the town’s own groundhog, “Woodstock Willie,” is awakened at 6 a.m., the moment in the film that Phil Connors begins each Groundhog Day, and conducts his weather prognostication on “Woodstock Square,” where much of the film’s action was located.
       According to the 3 Apr 2015 NYP, Groundhog Day creator and co-screenwriter Danny Rubin wrote the “book” for a Broadway play based on the film. Previews were scheduled for 23 Jan 2017. Composer Stephen Sondheim was involved with an earlier Groundhog Day project, but it did not come to fruition.
       Because of the film’s popularity, the term “Groundhog Day” has entered the English language as a catchphrase for repetitive situations.
       Groundhog Day marked the feature film debut of Michael Shannon.
       End credits contain the following information: “Special thanks to: The members of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club and the Citizens of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania; The community leaders and citizens of Woodstock, Illinois; Illinois Film Office.” Other acknowledgements include: “Tape material from Jeopardy! courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.”; “‘Trees,’ a poem by Joyce Kilmer used by permission of Jerry Vogel Music Co., Inc. All rights reserved”; and, “Animal action was monitored by the American Humane Association with on set supervision by the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago. Prosthetic animals were used in some scenes. No animals were harmed in the making of Groundhog Day. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Herald
31 Jan 2013
Neighbor, p. 1.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1992
p. 2.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1993
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Apr 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
6 Aug 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
8 Feb 1993
p. 5, 13.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
17 Feb 1993.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Dec 1995.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 2002.
---
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1993
Section E, p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
12 Feb 1993
Section F, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times
2 Feb 2012
Section D, p. 15.
New York Post
3 Apr 2015
Pulse, p. 30.
New York Times
12 Feb 1993
Section C, p. 3.
Newsweek
8 Mar 1993
pp. 52-53.
Screen International
16 May 2003.
---
Time
15 Feb 1993.
---
Variety
8 Feb 1993
p. 73.
Wall Street Journal
18 Feb 1993.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Columbia Pictures Presents
A Trevor Albert Production
A Harold Ramis Film
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d unit dir
1st asst dir
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
Loader
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Best boy grip
Dolly grip
Still photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
Chief lighting tech, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
Asst art dir
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Addl ed
1st asst ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Apprentice ed
Apprentice ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Const coord
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Prod mixer
Boom op
Sd cable
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
MAKEUP
Key makeup
Key hair stylist
Hair stylist
Spec prosthetic makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Prod coord
Prod accountant
Asst to Mr. Ramis
Asst to Mr. Albert
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Casting asst
Craft service
Animal trainer/Handler
Animal trainer/Handler
Unit pub
Unit pub
Key set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Set prod asst
Prod office asst
Prod office asst
Chicago casting
Loc mgr, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Scr supv, 2d unit
Helicopter pilot, 2d unit
STAND INS
Piano hand double
Bill Murray stand-in
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunt coord
COLOR PERSONNEL
Prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
"Weatherman," written by George Fenton and Harold Ramis, produced by George Fenton, performed by Delbert McClinton, courtesy of Curb Records
"I Got You Babe," written by Sonny Bono, performed by Sonny & Cher, courtesy of Atco Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Pennsylvania Polka," written by Lester Lee & Zeke Manners, performed by Frankie Yankovic, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
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SONGS
"Weatherman," written by George Fenton and Harold Ramis, produced by George Fenton, performed by Delbert McClinton, courtesy of Curb Records
"I Got You Babe," written by Sonny Bono, performed by Sonny & Cher, courtesy of Atco Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
"Pennsylvania Polka," written by Lester Lee & Zeke Manners, performed by Frankie Yankovic, courtesy of Columbia Records by arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
"Take Me Round Again," written and produced by George Fenton, performed by Susie Stevens
"You Don't Know Me," written by Eddy Arnold & Cindy Walker, performed by Ray Charles, courtesy of Ray Charles Enterprises
"Eighteenth Variation From Rapsodie On A Theme Of Paganini," written by Sergei Rachmaninoff
"Phil's Piano Solo," written, produced and performed by Terry Fryer
"Almost Like Being In Love," written by Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe, performed by Nat King Cole, courtesy of Capitol Records by arrangement with CEMA Special Markets
The musical composition: "La Bourree Du Celibataire" (Jacques Brel) ©MCA/Caravelle Music France (Tropicales Catalogue).
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DETAILS
Release Date:
12 February 1993
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 February 1993
Production Date:
16 March--10 June 1992
Copyright Claimant:
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Copyright Date:
8 April 1993
Copyright Number:
PA608003
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo® at Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Filmed in Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
98
Length(in feet):
9,085
MPAA Rating:
PG
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
31714
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, television weatherman Phil Connors stands in front of a blank blue screen, gesturing as he describes the weather while a nearby monitor shows what the television audience sees: a weather map of the U.S. behind him. As he joins Nan, the anchorwoman, at the news desk, Phil barely disguises his disdain as he announces he is driving to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, for the fourth time to cover tomorrow’s annual February 2nd Groundhog Day festivities. Phil watches Rita Hanson, a new producer unfamiliar with the electronic illusion, amuse herself in front of the blue screen. Later, with cameraman Larry at the wheel of the station’s production van, Phil and Rita ride to Punxsutawney. Declaring this trip will be his last, Phil makes fun of the idea that people celebrate a groundhog named “Punxsutawney Phil” that predicts how long winter will last, simply by whether it sees its shadow. However, Rita thinks Groundhog Day is an entertaining tradition. When Phil insists he cannot stay at Punxsutawney’s Pennsylvanian Hotel because it is a "fleabag," Rita informs him that he has been booked into a nearby Victorian home bed and breakfast. The following morning, as Phil’s clock radio changes from 5:59 to 6:00, he awakens to the Sonny and Cher song, “I Got You, Babe.” Two radio announcers joke about the weather and the day’s festivities. Phil looks out the window and sees people walking toward the town square. He has a brief hallway encounter with a jolly tourist, then goes downstairs to the dining room, where the proprietress, Mrs. Lancaster, offers him coffee and mentions the weather. Sarcastically, Phil gives her a weather report with meteorological terms and television gestures. On ... +


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, television weatherman Phil Connors stands in front of a blank blue screen, gesturing as he describes the weather while a nearby monitor shows what the television audience sees: a weather map of the U.S. behind him. As he joins Nan, the anchorwoman, at the news desk, Phil barely disguises his disdain as he announces he is driving to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, for the fourth time to cover tomorrow’s annual February 2nd Groundhog Day festivities. Phil watches Rita Hanson, a new producer unfamiliar with the electronic illusion, amuse herself in front of the blue screen. Later, with cameraman Larry at the wheel of the station’s production van, Phil and Rita ride to Punxsutawney. Declaring this trip will be his last, Phil makes fun of the idea that people celebrate a groundhog named “Punxsutawney Phil” that predicts how long winter will last, simply by whether it sees its shadow. However, Rita thinks Groundhog Day is an entertaining tradition. When Phil insists he cannot stay at Punxsutawney’s Pennsylvanian Hotel because it is a "fleabag," Rita informs him that he has been booked into a nearby Victorian home bed and breakfast. The following morning, as Phil’s clock radio changes from 5:59 to 6:00, he awakens to the Sonny and Cher song, “I Got You, Babe.” Two radio announcers joke about the weather and the day’s festivities. Phil looks out the window and sees people walking toward the town square. He has a brief hallway encounter with a jolly tourist, then goes downstairs to the dining room, where the proprietress, Mrs. Lancaster, offers him coffee and mentions the weather. Sarcastically, Phil gives her a weather report with meteorological terms and television gestures. On his way to “Gobbler’s Knob,” the man-made “groundhog cave” in the town square, Phil passes an old panhandler, then is accosted by Ned Ryerson, an obnoxious life insurance salesman who attended high school with him. Phil steps in a puddle of water. Arriving at the square, he joins Rita and Larry to film his Groundhog Day segment for the evening’s weather report. In an elaborate ceremony, the groundhog, pulled from his cave, "whispers" into the ear of Punxsutawney mayor Buster Greene that he has seen his shadow, and therefore winter will last another six weeks. Phil Connors gives a brief summation of the event, and tells Rita and Larry to pack up for the return drive to Pittsburgh. However, even though Phil predicted on last evening’s weather report that there would be no snow in western Pennsylvania, a blizzard on the highway forces them to turn back. Stuck in Punxsutawney, Phil declines to join Rita and Larry for the Pennsylvanian Hotel’s Groundhog Day party. The next morning, Phil awakens at 6:00 and notices the radio seems to be playing yesterday’s tape. Looking out the window, he sees the same people he saw yesterday. In the hallway, the same man offers the same greeting, and when Phil asks what day it is, the man responds, “It’s Groundhog Day.” Mrs. Lancaster offers yesterday’s pleasantries. On his way to Gobbler’s Knob, Phil passes the same panhandler, meets Ned Ryerson again, and steps in the same puddle. He tries to explain to Rita that something strange is happening, but she brushes him off and hands him the microphone. After the same ritual with the groundhog, again a blizzard traps them in Punxsutawney. Before going to sleep that night, Phil breaks a pencil and leaves both pieces on his nightstand. The next morning, as the radio repeats itself, Phil finds the pencil intact. He meets the same people on the way to Gobbler’s Knob, leaves before the start of the groundhog ritual, and tells Rita to meet him at the nearby Tip Top Café. As Phil and Rita sit at a table, someone breaks dishes, prompting Gus and Ralph, two local customers, to jeer. Phil explains to Rita that this is his third Groundhog Day in a row, and she suggests that he get his head examined. A local doctor finds nothing wrong, and a perplexed young psychologist offers to meet with him again tomorrow. Later, Phil drinks beer with Gus and Ralph at a bowling alley. When he asks the local men what they would do if they “were stuck in one place and everything was exactly the same and nothing you did mattered,” Gus and Ralph confess they share that very problem. With Gus and Ralph too intoxicated to drive, Phil takes the wheel of Gus’s car and asks what they would do if there were no tomorrow. When Gus replies that there would be no hangovers, Phil realizes he can do whatever he wants without consequences. He rams a mailbox, leads police on a car chase, and plays “chicken” with a train locomotive. Police arrest him, but at 6:00 a.m. Phil awakens once again at the bed and breakfast. Walking to Gobbler’s Knob, he punches Ned Ryerson in the nose. Later, at the Tip Top Café, Phil disgusts Rita by eating pastries, pouring coffee down his throat, and smoking cigarettes. Leaving the diner, Phil asks Nancy Taylor, an attractive customer, for her name, her former high school, and her twelfth grade English teacher. The next morning, at the town square, he approaches Nancy, pretends he sat next to her in English class, and arranges to meet her later. That evening, he seduces Nancy by offering marriage. The following day, Phil is able to rob an armored truck because he knows the guards’ movements. He rents a Rolls Royce and a cowboy outfit and takes an attractive woman in a maid’s costume to a movie. The next day at Gobbler’s Knob, Phil invites Rita for coffee at the diner and asks personal questions to discover what she considers an ideal man. Over subsequent days of trial and error, he learns her favorite drink, her favorite drinking toast (“To world peace”), and her love of 19th century French poetry. By degrees, he emulates behavioral and moral qualities she values, but after charming Rita and luring her to his room, Phil breaks the spell by confessing his love. Realizing that the day was an elaborate set-up, Rita slaps him and leaves. Subsequent nights lead to similar rebukes. Discouraged, Phil slips deeper into depression and despair. Each morning he destroys the clock radio. Fed up with the Groundhog Day ritual, he kidnaps the groundhog, drives off a cliff, and crashes in a ball of fire. He wakes up at 6:00, gets a toaster from downstairs, and electrocutes himself in the bathtub. He wakes up at 6:00. He steps in front of a speeding truck, wakes up, and jumps off a building. At the Tip Top Café, Phil informs Rita that he is not only immortal but a god, and predicts various events, like dishes dropping on the floor, moments before they happen. He leads her around the diner, introducing everyone and reciting intimate details of their lives. He writes down what Larry will say when he walks in a moment later. Intrigued, Rita agrees to spend the rest of the day and night with Phil, but by 3:00 a.m. she falls asleep. Phil reads to her, puts a blanket over her shoulders, and tenderly confesses how much he has come to love her. At 6:00 a.m., Phil wakes up alone. He acts kindly toward everyone, takes an interest in the old panhandler, brings coffee to Larry and Rita at Gobbler’s Knob, and delivers a warm speech that wins the admiration of everyone. He takes piano lessons, and trains himself to sculpt figures from blocks of ice. He takes the panhandler to the hospital and witnesses his death, then treats him to a meal before trying to revive him the following night. He performs acts of chivalry around town, and saves Mayor Greene from choking on a piece of meat. When Rita attends the Groundhog Day party at the hotel, she finds Phil at the piano, leading the band. Numerous people thank Phil for his kindness, and two older women advise Rita to “hang onto” him. At a bachelor auction, Rita outbids Nancy Taylor and half a dozen other women to “win” Phil for the night. Outside, he makes an ice sculpture of Rita’s face, and tells her he loves her. They kiss. The next morning, when the clock radio turns on at 6:00, Rita turns it off. Phil is amazed that the time loop has been broken. Looking out a window, he sees a different day. As Phil and Rita leave the house, he suggests they move to Punxsutawney. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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