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Groundhog Day (1993) Poster

(1993)

Trivia

Harold Ramis was surprised to find that his film was attracting a lot of attention from various religious groups, meditative gurus, and other parties who were into metaphysics. Ramis was particularly surprised, as he was expecting a backlash against him.
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Jump to: Spoilers (20)
Bill Murray was bitten by the groundhog twice during shooting. Murray had to have anti rabies injections, because the bites were so severe.
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The scene where Phil picks up the alarm clock and slams it onto the floor didn't go as planned. Bill Murray slammed down the clock, but it barely broke, so the crew bashed it with a hammer to give it the really smashed look. The clock actually continued playing the song like in the movie.
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Harold Ramis originally wanted Tom Hanks for the lead role, but decided against it, saying that Hanks was "too nice".
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According to Director Harold Ramis, most of the time, when he tried to explain a scene to Bill Murray, Murray would interrupt and ask, "Just tell me - good Phil or bad Phil?"
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Bill Murray and Harold Ramis have both been honorary Grand Marshals for the Groundhog Day celebrations in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.
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All the clocks in the diner are stopped, mirroring Phil's predicament.
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Bill Murray was offered a spit bucket for the diner scene where he gorges himself on pastries, but he refused. The angel food cake, in particular, caused him to feel sick soon afterward.
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The idea of Phil reading to Rita while she sleeps came from Bill Murray. His wife drank too much champagne on their wedding night and fell asleep early, so Murray read aloud to her until he too fell asleep.
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On the DVD, Harold Ramis states that the original idea was for Phil to live February 2nd for about ten thousand years. Later, he says that Phil probably lived the same day for about ten years. A breakdown of this day count and Ramis' thoughts can be found here: youtu.be/swJ-kNdtrdQ
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Harold Ramis directed the kids in the snowball fights to hit Bill Murray as hard as they could. Murray responded by throwing snowballs back as hard as he could.
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Not filmed in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, but actually in Woodstock, Illinois (just fifty miles from Bill Murray's hometown of Wilmette, Illinois). There is a small plaque that reads "Bill Murray stepped here" on the curb where Murray continually steps into a puddle. There is another plaque on the building wall at the corner that says "Ned's Corner" where Phil was continually accosted by Ned Ryerson.
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In the original version of the script by Danny Rubin, Phil Connors was already trapped inside Groundhog Day at the start of the story. We joined him on a typical day, with the audience wondering how he knew everything that was going to happen. Harold Ramis promised not to change this aspect of the script, but ultimately decided to do so.
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Bill Murray was undergoing a divorce at the time of filming, and was obsessing about the film. He would ring Harold Ramis constantly, often in the early hours of the morning. Ramis eventually sent Writer Danny Rubin to sit with Murray, and iron out all his anxieties, one of the reasons why Murray stopped speaking to Ramis for several years.
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Harold Ramis makes a cameo in the film as the neurologist that assures Phil that he is okay, but should perhaps talk to a psychiatrist.
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Chosen to be preserved by the National Film Registry in 2007.
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Since the film's release, the town of Punxsutawney has now become a major tourist attraction.
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Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis both said that they avoided exploring the truly dark side of Phil's time lapsing, in which he could do truly horrible things without consequence (for example, murder, torture, et cetera).
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There are exactly 38 days depicted in this film, either partially, or in full.
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Phil at the piano teacher's house, when he is fumblingly playing Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini", is actually Bill Murray playing. He does not read music, but he learned that much of the song by ear. The same rhapsody, specifically its 18th Variation, was also used in another time fantasy movie, Somewhere in Time (1980).
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In order to get the scenes to look alike, many different takes were filmed in different weather conditions. Eventually Harold Ramis chose the bleak Wisconsin look for the film.
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Supposedly, Paul Lynde was the inspiration for one of the film's more famous lines. After a high-speed chase through the San Fernando Valley one night when he was driving recklessly while intoxicated, Lynde crashed his car into a mailbox. The police came to the car, guns drawn, and he lowered his window and said, "I'll have a cheeseburger, hold the onions, and a large Sprite." Another account has the scene inspired by an incident involving comedian Shecky Greene in Las Vegas. One night, while intoxicated, he drove his car into the big fountain in front of Caesar's Palace. As bystanders pulled him out, with water from the fountain raining down onto his car, he shouted, "Clean the floor mats and no hot wax!"
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Shaun Chaiyabhat, who played the boy in the tree, grew up to become a local television news reporter.
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Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned "The Head" Reyerson the Insurance Agent) was the honorary Grand Marshal in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on February 2, 2010. During his speech on stage, he performed the "whistling belly button" act to which he refers in the film.
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While filming the "Kidnapping Phil" scene, Bill Murray spontaneously improvised the line "Don't drive angry, don't drive angry!" to cover the fact that the groundhog (which he was holding on his lap) was agitated and trying to escape by climbing over the steering wheel. A moment later, the groundhog bit Murray's hand so badly he had to seek medical treatment.
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Originally, Phil was supposed to hunt down the groundhog in his lair. This was changed, however, since it seemed too much like Caddyshack (1980).
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Andie MacDowell asked Harold Ramis if she could speak with her normal (and rather heavy) North Carolina accent.
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A family of groundhogs was raised for the production.
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A scene was shot in which Phil destroys his room, slashing pillows, spray-painting the walls, et cetera. He also shaves his head, then the camera pulls back from his face to show that his hair and the room were back to normal the next morning. But Harold Ramis had trouble making the dissolving shot match, so the scene was changed to Phil breaking a pencil instead.
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After its release, several writers emerged, claiming that the story was stolen from their idea. Science fiction Author Richard Lupoff claimed that it was a rip-off from his short story "12:01 p.m.", while Ken Grimwood, Author of "Replay", was another. However, Danny Rubin said his only jumping off point of inspiration for this film was the 1892 story "Christmas Every Day" by William Dean Howells.
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In the penultimate encounter between Connors and annoying insurance salesman Ned Ryerson, Bill Murray was ad-libbing when he tells Ned, "I don't know where you're headed, but can you call in sick?" and causes Ned to run away.
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The groundhog ceremony is depicted as occurring in the center of town. Gobbler's Knob, where the ceremony takes place in real-life, is a rural, wooded area, about two miles outside of Punxsutawney.
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Danny Rubin said that one of the inspirational moments in the creation of the story, came after reading "Interview with the Vampire", which got him thinking about what it would be like to live forever.
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The song that greets Bill Murray every morning, "I've Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher, was in Danny Rubin's original script from the beginning.
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Brian Doyle-Murray (Buster Green) is the elder brother of Bill Murray (Phil Connors).
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The interiors of Bill Murray's room, at the bed and breakfast, were filmed in an empty warehouse in Cary, Illinois.
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In the 1880s, some friends in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania went into the woods on Candlemas Day to look for groundhogs. This outing became a tradition, and a local newspaper editor nicknamed the seekers "the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club." Starting in 1887, the search became an official event centered on a groundhog called Punxsutawney Phil. A ceremony still takes place every year.
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Harold Ramis considered Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and John Travolta for the role of Phil Connors, but he considered them as "far too nice" compared to Bill Murray.
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Michael Shannon's movie debut.
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Rita's favorite drink is sweet Vermouth. This was Harold Ramis's idea, because it is his wife's favorite drink.
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Ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Fantasy" in June 2008.
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Unlike the scenes for the bed and breakfast, the scenes at the piano teacher's house were filmed inside the actual house, in the front room as it appears in the film.
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Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
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The scenes showcasing Phil (Bill Murray) filming his weather predictions at the news station, along with the introduction of Rita (Andie MacDowell), were not conceived until the editing process. They had to go back and shoot them to be edited in later.
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The Swedish title of this movie translates as "Monday the entire week". The movie, however, does not specify what day of the week it is supposed to be, and Groundhog Day in 1993 was actually on a Tuesday.
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The French poem Phil recites in the German restaurant is quoted from the 1957 Jacques Brel song "La bourrée du célibataire" or "Bachelor's Dance". "La fille que j'aimera / Sera comme bon vin / Qui se bonifiera / Un peu chaque matin." This has translated into English as: "The girl that I will marry / Will be like a fine wine / that will become better / a bit every morning."
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In one scene, Connors throws himself from the bell tower of a high building. This building is actually an opera house in Woodstock, Illinois. Local legend has it that a ghost of a young girl haunts the building since a girl once fell off of the balcony section inside the opera house and died.
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The store "Lloyd's", always seen in the background in the scenes where Phil encounters Ned Ryerson, tried to sue the production for several thousand dollars for lost business. They were unsuccessful.
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Bill Murray quotes lines from a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Work Without Hope": "All Nature seems at work; slugs leave their lair, The bees are stirring; birds are on the wing, And winter, slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring; And I, the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing."
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The ice sculptures featured in the movie (called Winged Victory) were carved by Randy Rupert, a.k.a. The Chainsaw Wizard. Randy is actually a Punxsutawney resident, and has a shop downtown. He can be found in the city park every Groundhog Day carving and selling his wooden sculptures.
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Harold Ramis kept Bill Murray's overcoat.
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The lines Rita (Andie MacDowell) quotes in the café - "unwept, unhonoured, and unsung" - are from Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last Minstrel", Canto vi, Stanza 1.
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Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl was asked by Harold Ramis to be the radio announcer at the beginning of every day, but his radio partner didn't understand the movie, and didn't want to do it.
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The German title of the movie is "Und täglich grüßt das Murmeltier", which can be translated as "The groundhog greets every day". The title has been adapted in Germany as a humorous proverb, which is often used when something is frequently repeated, especially annoying or awkward things.
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Early drafts of the script explained the cause of Phil Connors' weird experience: a disaffected ex-lover named Stephanie cast a spell on him, to teach him a lesson, to make sweet love to groundhogs all over the land while reading Charles Dickens, while covered in shame. It was decided that leaving it out made it more magical.
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The scene where Bill Murray gets out of the news van and talks to the State Trooper, was filmed on the Amstutz Expressway under the Grand Avenue overpass, just outside of downtown Waukegan, Illinois. You can see the Waukegan business district in some of the shots. The Amstutz Expressway was also used for the filming of the big chase scene in the The Blues Brothers (1980).
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Harold Ramis has stated that the inspiration for this movie was not the 1905 novel "The Strange Life of Ivan Osokin" by P.D. Ouspensky, but many others think that it was. Ramis made this denial within his contributions to a jacket blurb for one edition of the Ouspensky book. In the book, Osokin is given the opportunity to live his life over again by a magician... and Osokin takes him up on the offer, only to make the same mistakes all over again. Eventually he reaches the point in time where he met the magician, who explains to Osokin that he cannot change the recurring wheel that is "this trap called life", and that Osokin must learn to sacrifice, in order to escape it, to find his salvation.
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The "clocks" restaurant in Woodstock, Illinois, is now a Starbucks.
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The house that was used for the piano teacher's house, is less than a block away from the house used for the bed and breakfast. Though not visible in the film, it is actually located on the street that Phil sees directly proceeding from his room window, just a few houses down on the left-hand side.
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The concept has since been used in other films, including Disney's Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas (1999), the television show Day Break (2006), the comedy 50 First Dates (2004), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and the Egyptian comedy 1000 Congratulations (2009).
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Andie MacDowell was hired on the basis of her performance in The Object of Beauty (1991).
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In the course of the film, Phil endures Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Harold Ramis: "Danny Rubin actually took Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a model - her five stages of death and dying - and we used that as a template for Bill Murray's progress."
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One of Roger Ebert's Great Movies.
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When Phil is explaining to Rita his experiences, he says "I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen" and so on. Those were all methods used by the assassins of Russian mystic Grigory Rasputin, but (with the exception of electrocution) were not seen done to Phil. This could also be a reference to Ghostbusters II (1989), in which similar methods are named as the cause of Vigo the Carpathian's death.
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In 2003, this movie was the opening night film in the Museum of Modern Art's "The Hidden God: Film and Faith" series. A December 7, 2003, New York Times article called "Groundhog Almighty" discussed both the seeming incongruity of Groundhog Day being curated alongside such "serious" films as Luis Buñuel's Nazarin (1959), Federico Fellini's (1963), Ingmar Bergman's Winter Light (1963), and Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev (1966) and the opinions of different clergy-people and religious adherents (including rabbis, Jesuit priests, Buddhists, practitioners of Falun Dafa, and Wiccans) about how the movie is applicable to or actually about their respective religion.
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The interior scenes of the Cherry Street bed and breakfast were not filmed inside the actual house. The only times the crew entered the house at all, were to turn on lamps for the proper lighting effects needed for the exterior shots.
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Bill Murray, Chris Elliott, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Robin Duke are all former cast members of Saturday Night Live (1975). Doyle-Murray and Duke were in the same cast during the 1981-1982 season. Murray hosted an episode that season.
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Tori Amos was considered for the role of Rita.
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At one point in the chase scene, involving the red Cadillac Eldorado, Bill Murray and friends were to race along the sidewalk in front of the movie theater, barely missing the ticket booth, which was still occupied. The scene was filmed, but left on the cutting room floor.
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During the card throwing scene, Phil tells Rita to "be the hat", no doubt a nod to Bill Murray's co-star Chevy Chase in Caddyshack (1980) (Be the ball).
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Michael Keaton turned down the role of Phil Connors because he found the idea to be confusing when he read the script. He and Andie MacDowell would later team up with director Harold Ramis for Multiplicity (1996).
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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This film and Edge of Tomorrow (2014) have a character called "Rita", and both films are about men trapped in a never ending day. Also, at the climax, Phil pinches Rita to prove that tomorrow has finally arrived, and in the novel that inspired Edge of Tomorrow (2014), the lead character Cage pinches himself when time first resets. In the novel, Cage awakens at 6 o'clock, like Phil Connors, and he gets Phil's line, "same old, same old". Also, anything new terrified Cage, while Phil has the opposite reaction.
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Came in at number 4 in the BBC Culture 100 best comedies of all time.
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In the Jeopardy! (1984) sequence, the second player seen is Jim Scott, a five-time Jeopardy! Champion, who won his fifth game on the October 1, 1990 broadcast. He went on to win the Tournament of Champions contest that season. The segment shown in the movie is from his Tournament of Champions semifinal, broadcast on November 11, 1991.
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Among Phil's books in the coffee shop are "Treasury of the Theatre: From Agamemnon to A Month in the Country" by John Gassner (Simon & Schuster, 1964), and "Johann Strauss: Father and Son, a Century of Light Music" by H.E. Jacob (Greystone Press, 1939). The classical piano piece that draws his attention in the same scene is Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 16 in C major, K. 545.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
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The second time Phil counts down to go on the air (after the groundhog sees his shadow), when he gets to "1" he holds up his middle finger, rather than his pointer.
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Fred and Debbie, the young couple who are supposed to get married that day, are played by Michael Shannon and Hynden Walch. Both would later go on to be better known for playing characters from DC Comics. In both cases, they played superstrong aliens from another planet. Walch voiced Starfire from the planet Tamaran in Teen Titans (2003), while Shannon played General Zod from the planet Krypton in Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
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When Phil gets all five "Lakes and Rivers" responses on the Jeopardy! (1984) episode he's seen numerous times, the other bed and breakfast guests watching with him give him a round of applause. This matches the tradition on Jeopardy to do just that when a contestant likewise "runs" a category.
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During a diner scene, a bumper sticker for "The Spirit" can be seen over Phil's shoulder. This is the name of the newspaper in Punxsutawney.
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The Tip Top Cafe, where many indoor scenes took place, was a set created for the film, but it became an actual restaurant, the Tip Top Bistro, following the movie's success. Later, it became a coffee and Italian ice cream shop, and after that a fried chicken outlet.
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The end credits read "Filmed in Panavision", which is the requirement for films using anamorphic lenses, rather than "Filmed with Panavision Cameras and Lenses", for films that use spherical lenses.
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The song that plays during the montage where Phil tries (and fails) to win Rita is "You Don't Know Me" by Ray Charles. The song itself is about a one-sided love, much like Phil's unrequited love for Rita.
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Phil, after Rita first tells him what she typically drinks to, hastily and resignedly mutters "okay... to world peace," but this can only be caught by reading his lips as there is no discernible audio associated.
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Bill Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky would later work on Garfield (2004).
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George Fenton's music brief was to come up with a Nino Rota type score.
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When Phil says he has some errands to do, one of the people he saves is a man choking on some steak. Phil uses the Heimlich maneuver. Two years earlier, Bill Murray used the same technique in What About Bob? (1991).
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Phil tells Rita in the diner, that Gus wishes he would have stayed in the Navy. Rick Ducommun played a Naval C-2 Greyhound Navigator in The Hunt for Red October (1990).
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Casey Bartholomew, a popular radio talk show host (from KFI in Los Angeles, WDBO in Orlando, and New Jersey 101.5) is in the crowd at Gobbler's Knob during the Groundhog Day festivities, though he has no interaction with the main characters.
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The clock radio that awakens Phil each day with "I Got You Babe" is a Panasonic RC-6025.
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The song "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher, was the number one single in the U.S. for three weeks in August 1965, according to Billboard Magazine.
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The red Cadillac in the "no tomorrow" driving scene is a 1974 Cadillac Eldorado convertible with a non-stock grille. It is a front-wheel drive car, as can clearly be seen in the burnout at the start of the train track sequence. The Eldorado was equipped with rear-wheel drive from 1953 to 1966, then front-wheel drive from 1967 through the end of production in 2003.
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Debbie and Fred's last names are given briefly as "Kleiser".
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In the German restaurant scene, when the waitress behind Phil is walking away from a customer she just served, she touches the customer on the shoulder and leaves some beer suds there. The second time there, she does the same thing, but no suds are visible.
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Groundhog Day is February 2, which written in numeric form is a repeated number (2/2), while the number 2 is also used to refer to doing something again (e.g. "Take 2").
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The blizzard must have been extraordinarily sudden and severe to trap the WPBH News team, as Punxsutawney is less than an 80-mile drive from the nearest part of the Pittsburgh metro area (Wilkinsburg, or even closer if Monroeville is counted).
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Notice the helicopter long shot of the news van at the beginning of the movie. Observe that the news van drives right through (or over) historic star Fort Pitt in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Notice the arrow like bastions on the ground on both sides of the freeway.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the final shot, Phil carries Rita over the gate and then climbs over it. This is because the gate was actually frozen shut.
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According to the website Wolf Gnards, Bill Murray spends eight years, eight months and sixteen days trapped in Groundhog Day. The Movie Truth review series calculated Murray spent 4,576 days (twelve years, six months, and eleven days) stuck in the loop. While the website Obsessed With Film claims he was trapped 12,403 days, just under thirty-four years, in order to account for becoming a master piano player, ice sculptor, et cetera.
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When Phil takes the elderly man to the hospital, and talks to the nurse, a boy with a broken leg can be seen in the background. This is the same boy who falls out of a tree later on in the film, only this time, Phil catches him.
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They shot twenty-five takes of the closing scene when Bill Murray wakes up next to Andie MacDowell, as they were unsure of the tonality of the scene. They were not sure if Phil and Rita should still be in their clothes or not. Ramis had everyone on set, cast and crew, vote as to how it should be played, and the final tally came down on the side of the couple still being in their clothes, as they had not made love yet.
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Danny Rubin's first draft of the screenplay ended with Phil waking on February the Third, to discover that Rita was trapped in a time loop of her own.
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Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis wanted to add another Ned Ryerson scene at the last minute, so Stephen Tobolowsky wrote the scene where he rattles off numerous insurance policies. Tobolowsky based his character on his own Insurance Agent. After the movie's release, the agent called Tobolowsky to thank him for portraying agents so accurately, rather than making fun of them, as most movies do.
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Harold Ramis and Danny Rubin considered including an explanation for Phil being stuck in a time loop. The possibilities included was that Phil had been cursed by a scorned lover or someone he had verbally abused. But they decided it was best to leave it a mystery.
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The last time it is February the Second, and Phil kisses Rita, it begins to snow, foreshadowing that the loop has been broken. The same thing happens at the end of It's a Wonderful Life (1946), where the snow signifies George being back in the reality where he exists.
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The song that plays over parts of the opening and closing credits is "Weatherman", co-written by George Fenton and Harold Ramis.
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According to Harold Ramis' commentary in the DVD, the last scene involving Ned Reyerson involved the line (as it was written) "Oh, let's not ruin it!" from Rita. However, since Andie MacDowell was speaking in her thick native North Carolina accent, the word "ruin" was distorted repeatedly, and Ramis felt viewers would be confused by what she was trying to say. It was at that point where the word "ruin" was changed to "spoil".
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Rita slaps Phil ten times during the course of the film.
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The end party scene where everyone thanks Phil, was originally supposed to take place at Fred and Debbie's wedding, but it was changed for time constraints.
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The old man is the only one to die and stay dead. Phil, the groundhog, and the old man are the only ones in the loop known to have died. The fate of the cops chasing Phil on the railroad tracks is not shown, but since there was no crash as the train went by, it's likely they got off in time.
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The winning bid for Phil Connors in the bachelor auction is $339.88, an amount that to this day appears arbitrary. But there is an interesting coincidence if the decimal is dropped: 33,988 days works out to precisely 93 years and 43 days, minus a minute. From January 1, 1900 (and not counting "leap days"), 93 years and 43 days ends on February 12, 1993 - the day "Groundhog Day" was released in theaters.
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Though Phil Connors almost certainly experiences February 2nd thousands of times (38 of which are said to be actually depicted, noted elsewhere on this page), a careful sorting of "day-isolated" sequences and/or events plus a parsing of Connors' dialogue accounts for at least 42 days - the exact number of days of additional winter predicted by Punxsutawney Phil (6 weeks).
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The song that plays during the final scene is "Almost Like Being in Love". The song is originally from Brigadoon (1954), a musical with a similar theme to this movie.
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At the end of the alley scene in which Phil has given up trying to save the old homeless man, he looks upward and is clearly about to say something. The line was apparently cut for reasons unknown.
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The February 2nd time-loop that Phil is trapped lasts 4,576 days (12 years, 6 months and 11 days).
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The movie S.F.W. (1994), released only a year later, has two minor characters named Phil Connors and his wife Rita.
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At the end. When Phil surprises Fred and Debbie with tickets to Wrestlemania. Fred responds in the lines of "We were going up to Pittsburgh, anyways.." . Although, this is fictional. There has not been a Wrestlemania in Philadelphia, up til 1999
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