July 25 will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of perhaps the greatest golf movie ever made, “Caddyshack.”
OK, not “perhaps.” It is the greatest golf movie ever made.
Has there been a time when you found it on TV and didn’t watch?
The 1980 film grew to legendary status in large part because it produced some of the most-quoted movie lines ever:
“A former greenskeeper … about to become the Masters champion…”
“Well, we’re waiting…”
“Remember Danny: Two wrongs don’t make a right but three rights make a left.”
“Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir, and I never slice!”
And don’t tell us you never uttered “Noonan!” when one of your friends faced a tricky three-footer.
Made for just $6 million
Harold Ramis made his directorial debut with the film, which was reportedly made for $6 million. It went on to gross $40 million at the box office.
(Caddyshack II, released eight years later, made just $11 million and that’s as much as we’ll say about that movie.)
Ramis looked to his youth for inspiration. He once worked as a caddie, as did many of the actors, who would create a legendary cast of characters with this film.
Hungry for some more Caddyshack trivia? Let’s start with where the movie was shot.
A movie poster for the 1980 golf hit Caddyshack.
The on-course golf scenes were filmed at the Rolling Hills Golf Club, now known as Grande Oaks Golf Club in Davie, Florida. It was built in 1959 and chosen for the movie because there are no palm trees, which Ramis wanted so it would look like a course in the midwest. The movie was shot in 1979.
In 1999, Wayne Huizenga, who owned the Miami Dolphins and founded AutoNation and Waste Management and co-owned the now-defunct Blockbuster movie rental chain, purchased the property. The course was redesigned by Raymond Floyd and is now a private club.
Soon after the movie’s release, the club became known as “The Home of Caddyshack”. The Caddyshack and Gopher Invitationals were staged there.
Grande Oaks today is owned by Nova Southeastern University and is home to the Div. II NSU Sharks Men’s and Women’s Golf teams.
‘Oh, he got all of that’
Bill Murray plays Carl Spackler in the film, and Murray was originally supposed to have no speaking parts. Ramis later changed that and even asked Murray to ad-lib some of his scenes.
He famously did that in the “Cinderella story” sequence.
Ramis reportedly asked Murray to imagine himself announcing his own fantasy sports moment. And he did, creating movie magic.
Making it work
Bill Murray lights a cigar for Chevy Chase, who shared just one scene in the movie Caddyshack.
Bill Murray and Chevy Chase were not the best of friends and during the filming of the movie, they really didn’t get along, due to lingering friction from their days as cast members on Saturday Night Live.
As production of Caddyshack got underway, director Harold Ramis realized there were no scenes featuring Murray and Chase together. So the three got together for a working lunch, with the two actors putting their differences aside to write a scene in which the two could share screen time.
The scene is the one where Chase’s character Ty Webb hits a ball into the house of Murray’s Carl Spackler.
Done is six days
Bill Murray eye to eye with a groundhog in a scene from the film ‘Caddyshack’, 1980. (Photo by Orion Pictures/Getty Images)
Bill Murray filmed all his scenes in amazing six days.
The “He got all of that one” is one of the most famous scenes but so were the ones involving the animatronic gopher. Believe it or not, Ramis wanted to use a live animal but that wasn’t going to work out. So they rigged up the robot groundhog and shot most of those scenes towards the end of production.
And the part where Murray blows up the course with dynamite? They actually brought in tons of dirt and built up a hill on the 18th hole because the golf club didn’t want the actual course getting blown up. The pyrotechnic crews then ended up using too many explosives and totally decimated the makeshift hill. The explosions were so big, in fact, that planes flying by reported it all to the local authorities.
‘Do your bit’
Rodney Dangerfield is Al Czervik in the movie Caddyshack.
Chris Nashawaty wrote what is considered the definitive book about the movie. It’s called simply “Caddyshack”.
Thanks to the book, we learned that Rodney Dangerfield earned a mere $35,000 for playing Al Czervik.
We also learned that the long-time comic wasn’t really used to being on a movie set at that time. Ramis would call out “Action!” to no avail, as Dangerfield didn’t respond. This happened a few times until finally Ramis told Dangerfield “Do your bit.”
The first scene they shot was the one in the clubhouse. Dangerfield sprang into action when he heard “Do your bit” and even perfectly ad-libbed the “free bowl of soup” line. From then on, Ramis simply told Dangerfield “Do your bit” instead of saying “Action!”
‘And I never slice’
Ted Knight was cast as Judge Smails and his character is a no-nonsense one.
Apparently in real life, that was true as well. Knight seemingly grew tired of the antics on set as well as the frequent ad-libbing. He also reportedly didn’t get along with Chevy Chase nor Rodney Dangerfield.
The “gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir, and I never slice” scene famously put Knight and Dangerfield together in one of their many memorable scenes.
Caddyshack was the last film Knight would make. He died in 1986.
Best Caddyshack quotes
It has to be one of the most quoted movies of all time.
Here’s a mashup of some of the best lines from Caddyshack. What’s your favorite?