Groundhog Day writer reveals how long Bill Murray relived the same day

·2-min read
Alamy Stock Photo
Alamy Stock Photo

The time loop experienced by Bill Murray’s character in the classic film Groundhog Day lasted for 10 years, its filmmakers claimed.

While Danny Rubin’s original script for the film indicated that Murray’s character was forced to live the same day for 10,000 years, the film’s director Harold Ramis reportedly said otherwise.

In the New York Times, film critic Manohla Dargis recalled a conversation she had with Ramis wherein he told her Phil’s time loop went on for more like 10 years.

According to Dargis, 10 years “scarcely seems long enough for all that he experiences”. She emphasises that it would have taken much longer for Phil to master his “funny and sweet wooing of Rita”, the character played by Andie MacDowell in the film.

In the film, the only way Phil could get out of the time loop was if he learned to live the day perfectly.

Along the way he learned to play the piano, caught a falling child after he fell out of a tree, saved a homeless man and stopped his town’s mayor from choking on a bit of steak. Perhaps his biggest achievement, however, was transforming over the course of the movie to become the sort of man Rita could fall in love with.

“It’s easy to get caught up in his evolution and to lose sight of what MacDowell and Ramis do with Rita,” Dargis wrote. “As the innocent foil for Phil, she has to retain our sympathies even when we’re giggling at his elaborate, comic ruses. She could have been the film’s dupe, but she’s its soul: the woman the man has to learn to be worthy for.”

Earlier this year on the traditional Pennsylvania holiday of Groundhog Day (February 2), Sky aired the film 13 times in a row for 24 hours.

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