Classic Rewatch

Groundhog Day

Feel like you’re repeating the same day over and over again? You’re not alone. 

If ever there’s a film that sums up the monotony of this current situation it’s today’s LockdownRewatch ­– Groundhog Day – the 1993 comedy classic about Phil the grouchy, narcissistic weatherman (Bill Murray) stuck in a time loop and forced to relive the same day over and over again whilst covering the annual Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The film premiered in UK cinemas on this day in 1993.

Directed by Murray’s fellow Ghostbuster alum Harold Ramis, the comedy – their fifth and final collaboration – would go onto introduce the phrase ‘Groundhog Day’ for those days that just feel so repetitive. Like… now…

But did you know…

1) Bill Murray, despite being the obvious choice to play the weatherman-in-a-time-loop Phil Connors, wasn’t always the first in line for the role. Ramis originally wanted nice guy Tom Hanks to play the part, but Hanks was hesitant; “Audiences would have been sitting there waiting for me to become nice, because I always play nice. But Bill’s such a miserable S.O.B. on and off-screen, you didn’t know what was going to happen.” Michael Keaton was also offered the role and has expressed regret for not taking the part, stating he didn’t “get it”. He seems like a fan of the finished piece though, noting that, “you can’t do it better than Bill Murray did it.”

2) Despite being set in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania where the actual Groundhog Day holiday is celebrated, the bulk of the film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois. This was due to Punxsutawney’s lack of a town square which was important to the film. Producer Trevor Albert commented on this, “Obviously, Punxsutawney was the original model, but the town itself didn’t quite look like the town we had imagined.” 

3) According to Stephen Tobolowsky, who plays Ned Ryerson in the film, the film takes place over 10,000 years “based on the Buddhist principle that it takes 10,000 years for the human soul to be perfect.” That’s a lot of time to punch Ned Ryerson in the face!