The 20 Best of Harold Ramis

by kobe1413 | created - 27 Feb 2014 | updated - 01 Nov 2016 | Public

The twenty best films from writer/actor/director Harold Ramis.

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1. Groundhog Day (1993)

PG | 101 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

72 Metascore

A weatherman finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky

Votes: 549,177 | Gross: $70.91M

Ramis brings Danny Rubin's story to the big screen for this Bill Murray vehicle. A minor classic that is the pinnacle of Ramis' career. This would be the last movie that Murray and Ramis would work on together, supposedly because of some kind of disagreement during the filming, but it doesn't show.

2. Ghostbusters II (1989)

PG | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

56 Metascore

The discovery of a massive river of ectoplasm and a resurgence of spectral activity allows the staff of Ghostbusters to revive the business.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 170,899 | Gross: $112.49M

Ramis and Dan Aykroyd are again the authors, after the original film, was a giant blockbuster. Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, and Rick Moranis also return. Ramis gets some of the movies best lines, especially before most of the action kicks in. His scientific approach to everything is deadpan hilarious and no one does it better than Ramis. While I'm definitely in the minority, I think the sequel is the better of the two movies, it being funnier, spookier, and with better action.

3. Ghostbusters (1984)

PG | 105 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

71 Metascore

Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis

Votes: 330,104 | Gross: $238.63M

Ramis writes with, and stars with, Dan Aykroyd. Bill Murray is the main star as New York is overrun with ghosts and supernatural forces, and the only thing between total destruction is the Ghostbusters. Ramis and Aykroyd's characteristically goofy humor plays against Murray's natural sarcasm. Ramis would never get a better role than Dr. Egon Spengler.

4. Caddyshack (1980)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Sport

48 Metascore

An exclusive golf course has to deal with a brash new member and a destructive dancing gopher.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Ted Knight

Votes: 98,678 | Gross: $39.85M

Ramis makes his directorial debut, as well as co-writing with Brian Doyle-Murray and Douglas Kenney. A major step up from the silly, absurd comedy of Meatballs. Not to say that Caddyshack isn't silly and absurd; just in a much funnier, cohesive way. The movie is great at the beginning while it fizzles somewhere around the caddy tournament, though the film's best moment is the old man's great game in the rain.

5. National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)

R | 109 min | Comedy

79 Metascore

At a 1962 college, Dean Vernon Wormer is determined to expel the entire Delta Tau Chi Fraternity, but those troublemakers have other plans for him.

Director: John Landis | Stars: John Belushi, Karen Allen, Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst

Votes: 106,327 | Gross: $0.20M

A landmark of anarchic, brutish comedy, this film gave the world Bluto, the cannonball played by John Belushi. National Lampoon writers Chris Miller, Douglas Kenney, and Ramis wrote the screenplay for the film, and it was directed by John Landis.

6. Stripes (1981)

R | 106 min | Comedy, War

68 Metascore

Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis, Warren Oates

Votes: 60,264 | Gross: $85.30M

Ramis gets to finally star in one of the films he has written. He stars as Bill Murray's sidekick. Ramis wrote the film with the writing team, Daniel Goldberg and Len Blum, who had worked with him on Meatballs.

7. Vacation (1983)

R | 98 min | Adventure, Comedy

55 Metascore

The Griswold family's cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid

Votes: 88,549 | Gross: $61.40M

Ramis directs, for the first time something, he did not write. John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this ode to cross-country family trips. While poorly received, the film has stood the test of time as one of Chevy Chase's better film roles.

8. SCTV (1976–1981)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The staff of Melonville's TV station put on programming that is unique in its own silly way.

Stars: Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas

Votes: 1,900

Ramis served as head writer as well as an associate producer for first season of the television show featuring the Chicago-based comedy troupe Second City. Ramis also acted in some of the episodes, though he normally played off of the stars of the show, John Candy, Andrea Martin, and Eugene Levy. Except for an appearance as Moe Green, Ramis would step back as a performer on the show to serve as a supervising writer only for season two, as he was working on what would become "Animal House".

9. Analyze This (1999)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Crime

61 Metascore

A comedy about a psychiatrist whose number one patient is an insecure mob boss.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Chazz Palminteri

Votes: 139,500 | Gross: $106.89M

Ramis directs and writes

10. Analyze That (2002)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Crime

37 Metascore

Mobster Paul Vitti is released into Dr. Ben Sobol's care, where only more chaos ensues.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Robert De Niro, Billy Crystal, Lisa Kudrow, Joe Viterelli

Votes: 78,984 | Gross: $32.12M

11. Back to School (1986)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

68 Metascore

To help his discouraged son get through college, a funloving and obnoxious rich businessman decides to enter the school as a student himself.

Director: Alan Metter | Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, Sally Kellerman, Burt Young, Keith Gordon

Votes: 26,060 | Gross: $91.26M

Ramis was one of many writers on this sophomoric comedy. He also served as an executive producer for this raunchy, goofball film featuring stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield.

12. Meatballs (1979)

PG | 94 min | Comedy

60 Metascore

Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp.

Director: Ivan Reitman | Stars: Bill Murray, Harvey Atkin, Kate Lynch, Russ Banham

Votes: 17,667 | Gross: $43.05M

Ramis co-wrote this minor comedy classic with Daniel Goldberg, Janis Allen, and Len Blum. This was Bill Murray's breakout role, with his manic energy as Tripper carrying the film.

13. Club Paradise (1986)

PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy

40 Metascore

A retired Chicago fireman partners with a reggae singer to turn a seedy Caribbean nightclub into a resort for affluent tourists. A crazy comedy co-starring Rick Moranis, Peter O'Toole, Eugene Levy, more.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Robin Williams, Peter O'Toole, Rick Moranis, Jimmy Cliff

Votes: 5,541 | Gross: $12.31M

Ramis and his former TVTV associate Brian Doyle-Murray co-wrote this Robin Williams vehicle. Ramis also handled the directing duties. Unfortunately the film never really adds up to much as the funny jokes are few and far between.

14. Armed and Dangerous (1986)

PG-13 | 88 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

17 Metascore

A fired cop and useless lawyer sign up as security guards and find they've joined a corrupt union.

Director: Mark L. Lester | Stars: John Candy, Meg Ryan, Eugene Levy, Robert Loggia

Votes: 10,079 | Gross: $15.95M

Ramis was in full swing as a successful Hollywood comedy writer by the beginning of 1986. Working with burgeoning producer Brian Grazer, Ramis developed the story for "Armed and Dangerous" for John Candy and Tom Hanks after their successful pairing in the Grazer-produced "Splash". However, when Hanks couldn't commit to the project, Candy and Ramis suggested their SCTV pal Eugene Levy for the sidekick role. Ramis, who also served as an executive producer, however, disliked how the film came out and asked to have his name removed from the credits.

15. Bedazzled (2000)

PG-13 | 93 min | Comedy, Fantasy

49 Metascore

Hopeless dweeb Elliot Richards is granted seven wishes by the Devil to snare Allison, the girl of his dreams, in exchange for his soul.

Director: Harold Ramis | Stars: Brendan Fraser, Elizabeth Hurley, Frances O'Connor, Miriam Shor

Votes: 92,053 | Gross: $37.88M

Ramis directs, co-writes, and produces.

16. The Rodney Dangerfield Show: It's Not Easy Bein' Me (1982 TV Special)

60 min | Comedy

Rodney Dangerfield's first ABC special, featuring stand-up and sketches.

Director: Walter C. Miller | Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, Aretha Franklin, Bill Murray, Valerie Perrine

Votes: 95

Rodney Dangerfield brought in Ramis to serve as his co-head writer for this hour-long special for ABC. Bill Murray and Aretha Franklin both guest star alongside Dangerfield.

17. Super Bowl (1976 TV Movie)

47 min | Documentary, Comedy, Sport

Football like you've never seen it before! This hilarious and insightful documentary featuring Christopher Guest and Bill Murray takes you behind the scenes of the 1976 Super Bowl X between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys.

Stars: Christopher Guest, Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Murray, Terry Bradshaw

Votes: 17

Ramis, the Murray brothers, and Christopher Guest travel to the Super Bowl to do interviews and fool around.

18. SCTV Network (1981–1983)

TV-PG | 90 min | Comedy

Comedy parody about TV.

Stars: John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin

Votes: 1,447

Ramis, having left the original incarnation pretty much after the first season (though he did work on a few episodes for the second season), Ramis returned to help write and guest star on a few of the show's new episodes.

19. Baby Boom (1987)

PG | 110 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

53 Metascore

The life of super-yuppie J.C. is thrown into turmoil when she inherits a baby from a distant relative.

Director: Charles Shyer | Stars: Diane Keaton, Sam Shepard, Harold Ramis, Kristina Kennedy

Votes: 12,871 | Gross: $26.71M

Ramis plays Steven, the boyfriend of high-powered business woman J.C. Wyatt (Diane Keaton), who inherits a baby. Ramis plays Steven very dryly, and very quickly bows out when he finds that J.C. is keeping the baby.

20. The Rodney Dangerfield Special: I Can't Take It No More (1983 TV Special)

60 min | Comedy

Rodney Dangerfield's second ABC special, featuring stand-up and sketches.

Director: Walter C. Miller | Stars: Rodney Dangerfield, Robert Urich, Donna Dixon, Andy Kaufman

Votes: 45

Ramis stops by to play the man who sold Rodney his name. The bit is very much in line with Ramis' usual mode of comedy, understated and pretty funny.

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