Bill Murray's 15 Lesser-known Movies That Are a Must-Watch for Any Fan
While you might know him from classics like Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day, let's talk about some of Bill Murray's lesser-known movies that absolutely deserve more attention.
1. Quick Change (1990)
Imagine you're trying to rob a bank dressed as a clown. That's how this comedy kicks off, with Grimm (Murray), Phyllis, and Loomis successfully pulling off a bank heist in New York City. They've got a solid plan, but getting to the airport to escape turns out to be the real mission. Their getaway is a comedy of errors, filled with crazy taxi drivers, language barriers, and a relentless cop on their tail.
2. The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
Wallace Ritchie (Murray) thinks he's just having fun in an interactive theater experience while visiting London. In reality, he gets mistaken for a hitman and becomes entangled in an actual espionage plot. Oblivious to the danger, he bumbles his way through gunfights, seductions, and betrayals, thinking it's all part of the show. But real people are dying, and international relations are at stake.
3. Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
In this dark comedy about friendship Bill Murray plays a mob boss, Frank Milo, who's also an aspiring stand-up comedian. Wayne, a cop, saves his life, and as a thank you, Frank sends Glory, a young woman, to stay with him for a week. Things get super complicated as Wayne starts to fall for Glory while grappling with the moral dilemma of essentially owning a person. Frank's underworld connections aren't making life easier for anyone.
4. Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
Based on the chaotic life of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Murray portrays this erratic genius during his drug-fueled escapades. From covering the Super Bowl to dodging the police, this movie is a roller coaster of bizarre events. Alongside his attorney, Carl Lazlo, Thompson takes us through a series of misadventures that include explosive hotel rooms and dodging political conventions.
5. Larger Than Life (1996)
In this comedy, Bill plays Jack, a motivational speaker who inherits an elephant from his circus-performer father. Jack plans to sell it to a San Diego zoo for a handsome profit, but the catch is, he has to take the elephant there himself. The road trip that ensues is anything but smooth, including run-ins with a paranoid truck driver and a near-miss with a freight train. How hard could it be to escort an elephant across the country? Very, it turns out.
6. The Razor's Edge (1984)
Adapted from W. Somerset Maugham's novel, this drama follows Larry Darrell, played by Murray, who is a WWI vet struggling with the trauma he experienced during the war. In an attempt to find meaning, he abandons his fiancée and social status and goes on a journey for some sort of spiritual awakening across the world – from the coal mines of France to the Himalayan Mountains.
7. Scrooged (1988)
Christmas movies can be cheesy, but this one's got a twist you won't see coming. Murray plays Frank Cross, a selfish TV exec who couldn't care less about holiday cheer. Planning a live broadcast of A Christmas Carol, Frank is visited by three ghosts who show him his past, present, and what a grim future awaits him. Juggling an estranged family, a lost love, and his deteriorating mental state, Frank must reassess what's important before time runs out.
8. Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
Murray plays a bus conductor who takes the main character, Adam, to the moon. Adam is an aspiring artist living in a dystopian future where Manhattan is run by the Port Authority. To achieve his dream of becoming an artist, he's advised to go to the moon to find his "inner-beam".
9. What About Bob? (1991)
Bill Murray plays Bob Wiley, a multiphobic patient who becomes overly attached to his new psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin. When Dr. Marvin goes on vacation, Bob follows him and ingrains himself into the Marvin family, becoming everyone's favorite guest. This drives Dr. Marvin to the brink of madness, trying to get rid of Bob while not looking like the bad guy.
10. Kingpin (1996)
Murray plays Ernie McCracken, a pro bowler with a pompous attitude and a wild comb-over. Roy, a man tricked by Ernie into a hustle, loses his bowling hand and becomes an alcoholic. Years later, Roy discovers a young Amish man with incredible bowling skills. Seeing an opportunity for redemption, they enter a bowling tournament to beat Ernie and win the million-dollar prize.
11. Meatballs (1979)
In this comedy, Bill Murray plays Tripper Harrison, the head counselor at a low-budget summer camp. The movie follows the misadventures of the camp's counselors and campers, leading up to the Olympiad, an athletic competition against a rival camp. For the underdog team, it's more than a game; it's a matter of pride and an opportunity to prove they're not losers.
12. Ed Wood (1994)
If you're making a movie about the worst director in history; who do you cast? Bill Murray, of course! He plays John “Bunny” Breckinridge, a friend of director Ed Wood. Bunny is an aspiring transsexual and a drag queen. Ed Wood assembles a motley crew, including Bunny and a fading Bela Lugosi, to create the so-bad-it's-good classic, Plan 9 from Outer Space.
13. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
This Wes Anderson movie is a comedy-drama for the books. Murray plays Steve Zissou, an oceanographer set on capturing the elusive "jaguar shark" that ate his partner. He gathers a quirky crew, including his estranged son and a pregnant reporter. As they face off against pirates, debt, and self-doubt, the mission becomes about more than just a fish.
14. Tootsie (1982)
How could we not mention this comedy where Bill Murray takes a backseat but still shines? He plays Jeff, the roommate of Michael, an unsuccessful actor. Michael disguises himself as a woman, Dorothy, to land a role on a popular TV show. As Jeff discovers Michael's secret, the charade gets complicated with love triangles.
15. St. Vincent (2014)
Bill Murray plays Vincent, a grumpy and broke Vietnam War veteran. He agrees to babysit his new neighbor's young son, Oliver, for extra cash. What starts as a way to make a quick buck becomes a life-altering friendship. From taking Oliver to strip clubs to teaching him self-defense, Vincent becomes an unlikely role model in the boy's life.