Bill Murray took the dramatic plunge far earlier than many realize, starring in The Razor’s Edge in 1984. The movie flopped, and Murray stuck to what many felt that he did best: comedy. It wasn’t until Murray was directed by a younger generation of filmmakers, such as Wes Anderson and Sofia Coppola, that we saw his serious side really come to the fore. Both comedy classics and dramatic gold appear in this top 10 list of Bill Murray’s best movies.
Quick Change (1990)
Bill Murray’s first, and as yet only, time behind the camera (sharing directing credits with Howard Franklin). It may not be a movie that has made quite the impact as others on this list, but Murray puts in a great performance in this black comedy about three amateur crooks trying to flee the country after a bank job.
What About Bob? (1991)
The casting of Murray may have seemed slightly odd – a needy psychiatric patient would have perhaps more obviously lent itself to a Woody Allen or Nicholas Cage type. Murray, however, rose to the occasion, tamping down the hipness and allowing his character’s neuroses to come through.
Murray’s insouciant, unkempt persona made this something of a no-brainer in a movie set in the strictest of all environments: the army. Besides that, it never hurts a movie when it also features John Candy.
Murray’s mumbling, shambling groundskeeper, with an obsession to remove a gopher from the links, is ’80s comedy gold. It’s also a lesson in improvisation. Caddyshack also features Ted Knight and Chevy Chase, of course.
It was a surprise when Murrary decided to play himself in this film about a zombie apocalypse. Murray appears alongside Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, who both visit his house to escape a zombie epidemic. He appears dressed as a zombie when he lets the two leads take refuge in his home, where they have a great time playing Ghostbusters and generally have fun.
The Jungle Book (2016)
Murray has performed a lot of voice roles in the latter part of his career. His best work was in Jon Favreau’s Jungle Book. As Baloo the bear, Murray steals the show, which is saying something considering Christopher Walken was among his co-stars.
Another project where Woody Harrelson took the lead, but where Murray stole the show. Bill plays the bad guy to great effect in this Farrelly brothers comedy. The role was intended for Jim Carrey, but Murray made the role his own, and now it’s impossible to imagine anyone else as Ernie McCracken; even Carrey.
This supernatural comedy also featured fellow comedy greats Rick Moranis and Dan Akroyd, but it’s Murray’s performance that many remember in this timeless classic. Ghostbusters spawned a sequel, an all-female remake, an animated series, and countless pieces of merchandise, including action figures, mugs, and t-shirts. There have also been a number of video games such as Sanctum of Slime (2011), Paranormal Blats (2012), and even a Ghostbusters slot. Slot themes have become popular, particularly with movies, and it isn’t difficult to see why. After all, if we like the movie, there’s every chance we’ll also like the game.
Lost in Translation (2003)
This is the story of two Americans from very different demographics—a young female (Scarlett Johansson) and a much-older male (Murray)—mingling lives in Tokyo. Murray is seen here sharpening his dramatic teeth to the fullest, showing his character’s cynicism with moments of an emotional resurgence.
Murray plays the boorish, arrogant, and selfish TV exec, Frank Cross. While wildly rich and successful, he’s hollow on the inside. Of course, three ghosts pay him a visit to show him the error of his ways. Murray does what he does best and plays the iconic role for laughs.
What’s your favorite Bill Murray film? Let us know in the comments below!