Groundhog Day is a modern classic. I think everybody has finally come around to that point of view. It’s hilarious, it’s dark, it’s sweet, it’s honest and it takes its own concept all the way, something too few high concept comedies do. And it has an all-time great Bill Murray performance. Smart, funny, true - this is what makes a classic comedy.
And since today is Groundhog Day (I’m hearing we get an early spring), people are talking about Groundhog Day. And the folks at Obsessed With Film have proven how obsessed they are and have calculated just how long Phil was in that loop.
On the DVD commentary Ramis estimates at least ten years; one early version of the script had Phil looping for 10,000 years (he’d barely be a human being after that, one assumes). A website calculated it out to 8 years, 8 months and 16 days recently, but Ramis himself then commented on that, contradicting his own original number and saying it had to be at least 30 or 40 years.
Obsessed With Film got really, really technical about it; I don’t agree with all of their numbers (I don’t think Phil has to worry about getting carpal tunnel from piano practice, as I think his body resets every day), but I think this could be the definitive statement on how long Phil Connors looped.
So how long was that? You’re going to have to click here and read Obsessed With Film’s treatise on the subject. No fair spoiling it here!