A rejected hockey player puts his skills to the golf course to save his grandmother's house.


Dennis Dugan
406 ( 369)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Sandler ... Happy Gilmore
Christopher McDonald ... Shooter McGavin
Julie Bowen ... Virginia Venit
Frances Bay ... Grandma
Carl Weathers ... Chubbs
Allen Covert ... Otto
Robert Smigel ... IRS Agent
Bob Barker ... Bob Barker
Richard Kiel ... Mr. Larson
Dennis Dugan ... Doug Thompson
Joe Flaherty ... Jeering Fan
Lee Trevino Lee Trevino ... Self
Kevin Nealon ... Potter
Verne Lundquist Verne Lundquist ... Announcer
Jared Van Snellenberg Jared Van Snellenberg ... Happy's Waterbury Caddy


A Hockey player wannabe finds out that he has the most powerful golf drive in history. He joins the P.G.A. tour to make some money to save grandma's house. The downside is that his hockey player mentality doesn't really go on the P.G.A. tour. Especially with the favorite to win the championship. Written by Kevin Mitchell <kevin@mitchell.mdn.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He doesn't play golf... he destroys it.


Comedy | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language and some comic sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


In a 2011 interview with the AV Club, Christopher McDonald claims he originally turned down the role of Shooter several times because he was growing tired of being typecast as an antagonist. He reconsidered playing the role, as he had enjoyed Adam Sandler's previous film Billy Madison (1995) and while he was playing a golf tournament in Seattle while taking a break from filming his previous movie in Vancouver. Realizing that he was playing an antagonist in a comedy, and having been satisfied with the script, he asked for an arrangement to be made so he could meet with Adam Sandler to discuss the movie. Upon their first meeting, McDonald ultimately decided to accept the role and has said it remains one of the best decisions of his career. See more »


The opening scene shows the slap shot which supposedly killed Happy's father. You hear the slap, then the glass breaking, and the camera falls but with out any break in the glass. See more »


[first lines]
[opening narration voice over]
Happy Gilmore: My name is Happy Gilmore. Ever since I was old enough to skate, I loved hockey. I wasn't really the greatest skater though. But that didn't stop my dad from teaching me the secret of smacking his greatest slap shot.
[Young Happy, hits a hard plastic ball into his father's forehead]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The End appears before the end credits roll. See more »

Alternate Versions

The version aired on Fox has all featured product placements removed. For example, "Sports Illustrated" becomes "the pros", "free Subway for life" becomes "Free sandwiches for life", and Happy's T-shirt has the Subway logo digitally removed. See more »


Referenced in Destroy All Humans: Path of the Furon (2008) See more »


Written by David Paton, Billy Lyall (as William Lyall)
Performed by Pilot
Courtesy of EMI Records
Under License from CEMA Special Markets
See more »

User Reviews

Prototypical Sandler movie. Well blended comedy with memorable characters.
22 March 2015 | by CinematicInceptionsSee all my reviews

Although it isn't the most incredible cinematic work to ever come out of Hollywood, it is understandable how Happy Gilmore is one of the mostly widely enjoyed comedies out there. It lacks a good story and has all of the trademarks of a standard Sandler movie, but it hits several areas of comedy that can please a lot of people with different comedic tastes.

The storyline is structured much like Billy Madison with Sandler starting off as a burnout and going through some trials to achieve a goal and beat a villain that comes up partway through. Several points of the story feature rather far-fetched outcomes to hopeless scenarios. The plot is pretty weak in its gradual development with Shooter McGavin, and the movie might have been better off without any plot, but even in comedies, there has to be some kind of plot.

None of the characters, like the storyline, have a whole lot of depth. Sandler's character has a much different personality from Billy Madison, but he, as always, has some goofy remarks, witty remarks, over the top antics, and spats of anger. Happy Gilmore is pretty much the character that all other Sandler characters are based off of. Grandma, Virginia, Chubbs, and Shooter McGavin have personality, but not arcs. Grandma losing her house is basically the driving force of the story, and we can see that she matters a lot to Happy. Virginia is primarily present to keep Happy from letting his hockey instincts get out of hand, and ends up as his girlfriend without realistic reason. Chubbs is a pretty likable character and is a rather pivotal besides. Shooter McGavin, while not an interesting villain like Heath Ledger's Joker or action movie villains, is still a great antagonist because of his ability to be such a hateable and passive-aggressive jerk. There are also a lot of small but memorable characters that Happy plays golf with or around, such as Bob Barker, his two caddy's, the obnoxious fan at the celebrity tournament, Mr. Larson, and the guy that talks about the golf ball's energy.

As I said before, the comedy reaches several regions, though it maintains a constant goofy and blatant feel. Some of it's crude, but not as much as in, say, Anger Management. There is a good balance of situational and verbal humor. Basically every character, big and small, that has a line brings some kind of comedy in their screen time. Even the golf channel announcers, who are scripted like real sports announcers, contribute humor. Probably what sets this movie apart is its ability to bring a diversity of comedy into each individual scene. Not everything in every scene will strike you as funny, but there will probably be a couple of laughs in each.

A quick word on the execution. The visual quality and cinematography with Happy's insane shots are nothing special, but somehow add to the general mood. The acting and scripting are debatable, as in most comedies, but you can tell that every actor fits their respective character.

Again, this is pretty much the prototypical Sandler comedy so if you have liked any of his other movies, apart from maybe Airheads, this should be at least somewhat enjoyable. It doesn't take a high IQ to appreciate, and can be seen under almost any circumstances. I would recommend watching it on a road trip if the audience isn't too young. If you don't mind a little ridiculousness, it's worth a rental. Overall Rating: 8.2/10.

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Release Date:

16 February 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adam Sandler's Happy Gilmore See more »


Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,514,125, 18 February 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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