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Caddyshack is a 1980 American comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Brian Doyle-Murray, Ramis and Douglas Kenney. It stars Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Michael O'Keefe and Bill Murray. Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray's elder brother, also has a supporting role.
A no-brainer that has become a low-brow classic, this 1980 comedy makes anarchy the rule of the day, unleashing the antics of Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Chevy Chase. Caddyshack is about the scheme of a vulgar land developer (Dangerfield) who wants to build condominiums on the site of a ritzy country club. Director Harold Ramis (who later reunited with Murray to make Groundhog Day) is content to let the comedy follow a variety of wacky detours, most notably Murray's maniacal war with a gopher that has been digging up the golf course. Dangerfield ultimately steals the show, firing off a battery of one-liners, insults, and tasteless gags. Caddyshack is the kind of movie some people have been known to watch several times a year, reciting every line of dialogue like the followers of a bizarre comedic ritual.
The film's story centers on Danny Noonan (O'Keefe), one of many children in a working class Irish Catholic family. Danny aspires to attend college in Nebraska, but his parents can't afford it and his grades are unremarkable, making obtaining a scholarship difficult. Danny works as a caddy at the upscale Bushwood Country Club, where he earns tips to add to his meager college fund.
Bushwood's membership includes: Judge Smails (Knight), a stodgy WASP jurist and the country club's co-founder; Doctor Beeper, an inattentive physician more concerned about his golf game than his patients; Bishop Pickering, a Lutheran minister; and Ty Webb (Chase), the son of Bushwood's other co-founder and a free-spirited playboy, very unlike the other members. Danny often caddies for Ty, who teaches Danny about the finer points in life, usually while showing off random trick shots.
Judge Smails notices the handiwork of a gopher on his way to the course. Smails confronts Bushwood's greenskeeper Sandy McFiddish (Thomas A. Carlin), who then entrusts the task of removing the gopher to Carl Spackler (Murray), his unkempt, unhinged assistant, whose attempts to rid the course of the gopher become a running sub-plot of the main story. Later that day, the flamboyant nouveau riche real estate tycoon Al Czervik (Dangerfield) arrives, along with his Asian business partner Mr. Wang, as a guest of another member. Al first meets Judge Smails in the pro shop as Czervik comments on a hat he sees for sale, which he discovers is also being worn by Smails. Although obnoxious and somewhat immature, Czervik is friendly and affable, and easily endears himself to the caddies and other club members.
Danny's boss Lou (Brian Doyle-Murray) informs the caddies that the country club's caddy scholarship has become available after its previous winner, Carl Lippbaum, died of an anxiety attack while at school. Danny then decides to caddy for Judge Smails in hopes of earning his favor when Smails awards the next scholarship. Judge Smails' foursome, which includes Dr. Beeper, Bishop Pickering and Smails' grandson, Spaulding, begins their round, and is joined by Smails' voluptuous niece, Lacey Underall. While he waits to start his game, Czervik wastes no time in needling Smails as he tees off, which causes Smails to slice his ball into the rough. Czervik's group continues its rowdy behavior, which is of no help to Danny, as he is trying to butter up the increasingly agitated members of Smails' foursome. On one of Czervik's strokes, Czervik's ball accidentally hits Judge Smails in the testicles. Danny is granted a brief respite when the party completes the front nine of the course, and he enjoys lunch with his girlfriend, Maggie, who is working the snack bar. Danny finally enters Judge Smails' good graces when Smails attempts to putt on the final hole. Al loudly wagers $1,000 that Smails will miss his relatively short putt, which draws a crowd of onlookers. Smails does miss the putt, causing him to fling his putter into the air in a blind rage. The putter crashes onto a deck at the clubhouse, striking a woman. Seizing the opportunity, Danny takes responsibility for the incident, claiming the grips on the club were worn and Smails was not responsible, putting him in good standing with the judge.
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 almost $40 million in the U.S. alone (16th highest of the year), it was the first of a series of similar comedies.
A sequel, Caddyshack II, followed in 1988, although it was not nearly as successful or well-received.
In 2000, Caddyshack was placed at number 71 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 funniest American films. In 2005, a line from the movie was chosen by AFI for their list of the top 100 movie quotes from U.S. films. This film is also second on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
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