Harold Ramis, A Comedy Great: But Which Was His Finest Movie?
Harold Ramis was not just a 'Ghostbuster' he was also a prolific comedy writer and director as these films show.
Comedy actor and director Harold Ramis sadly passed away last night at age 69. Tributes have been flooding in with many of Hollywood’s biggest names wishing to pay their respects to the ‘Ghostbuster’s’ star. Remis’s career included writing, directing and starring in some of the greatest comedies of the last thirty years. In tribute to Ramis, here’s a look back at 10 of movies he’ll be remembered for.
Harold Ramis Was Part of the Legendary Comedy 'Animal House'
Animal House (1978)
Ramis had been working in comedy since the early 1970s get his start with Chicago’s 'Second City' improvisational group. The group later moved to television and Ramis then became a part of the legendary 'National Lampoon'. He began writing a script with National Lampoon magazine editor Douglas Kenney which drew inspiration from Ramis's college days - it would become ‘Animal House’.The movie became a groundbreaking comedy which signalled a new style of film humor. It went on to break box office records and launched the film career of John Belushi.
Harold Ramis's Directorial Debut was 'Caddyshack'
Ramis’s directorial debut was the 1980 golf comedy, 'Caddyshack', starring Bill Murray, once again, and Chevy Chase. The film was a box office success and has gone on to become a cult classic, being named the 7th best sports movie of all time in AFI’s top 10 list. Ramis also contributed to the script which was written by Murray's brother Brian Doyle-Murray, though many of the film's stars improvised their lines.
Bill Murray Starred in Ramis's 'Stripes'
Ramis's acting break came in 1981 with 'Stripes' where he once again had a co-writing credit. It would also be the beginning of his own screen pairing with friend Bill Murray. Ramis played the straightman to Murray's character, a cab driver who loses his job and joins the army, talking his best friend into enlisting with him.
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
Ramis went back to his 'National Lampoon' collaborators in 1983 to direct ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’, once again working with ‘Caddyshack’s’ Chevy Chase. The film would be another box office success for Ramis with his directorial skills once again being praised, especially due to the performance he coaxed out of star Chase.
Arguably, Harold Ramis's Finest Achievement was 'Ghostbusters'
Undoubtedly the screen performance Ramis will be be remembered for is as Egon Spengler in 1984's 'Ghostbusters'. Ramis wrote the script with fellow star Dan Akyrod and the pair were joined by Bill Murray to play the three ghost catching eccentrics. Ramis played the brains of the ghost catching operation. A serious paranormal scientist who describes his hobbies with the famous line that he collects 'spores, moulds, and fungus'. The film becamea worldwide hit and one of the most fondly remembered comedies of the era. Ramis would would reprise his role in the 1989 sequel ‘Ghostbusters II”
Groundhog Day Was Harold Ramis's Seminal Movie
Groundhog Day (1993)
In 1993 Ramis made his seminal film as a director, ‘Groundhog Day’ with Bill Murray as the star. Along with directing, producing and co-writing the film he also had a small part as a neurologist. 'Groundhog Day' went on to be remembered as one of the greatest comedy films of all time and in 2006 was selected by the National Film Preservation Board for preservation in the US Library of Congress.
Harold Ramis's Biggest Box-Office Hit As Director was 'Analyze This'
Analyze This (1999)
Ramis biggest box office hit as a director was 'Analyze This' starring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal which he also co-wrote. The film played upon the popularity of gangster shows such as 'The Sopranos’, this time casting them in a comedy light. The film grossed $177 million at the box office, doing well enough to spawn 2002's sequel ‘Analyze That’ which was sadly not well recieved and did significantly less at the box office
Harold Ramis Played Seth Rogen's Father in 'Knocked Up'
Knocked Up (2007)
Now an elder statesman of comedy, Ramis gave his support to the younger writers and directors such as Judd Apatow. He made a brief but memorable appearance in Apatow’s 2007 comedy, 'Knocked Up', playing Seth Rogen’s loveable and understanding father.