Bill Murray top 10



Doug Stanhope once said that if you had the chance to go drinking with any celebrity, nobody would come close to being as much fun as Bill Murray. It’s an obscure yet perfect measure of the status of a man who has come to establish himself as an international treasure. That’s not to say his appeal is universal; he is, for the most part, adored by (and representative of) a certain type of outsider.

Whilst the spotlight these days tends to shine on the most powerful or the best looking, Murray stands in the shadows, casting a wry eye at the absurdity of it all. And on the occasion that the absurdity finds its way into his orbit he always seems to possess the killer line with which to deflate the pompous and claim victory for the Everyman.

When observing Bill Murray through the media of film and popular culture, it’s often hard to distinguish between the man and the characters he plays. However for the most part I feel the point is moot. Over 40 years he has appeared in (and been the cornerstone of) some of the great comedies and indeed some of the great films of cinema.

So with that in mind I invite you to join me as I reminisce about his finest moments and place them in an arbitrary system of ranking!

10. Quick Change We begin with this lesser-known and underappreciated gem. The opening scene has Murray orchestrating a bank robbery dressed in full clown garb. Approached by an unsurprisingly suspicious Guard, our Pagliaccian hero opens his jacket to reveal guns and a bomb strapped to his chest.

GUARD: “What the hell kind of clown are you?!” MURRAY: “The ‘crying on the inside’ type, I guess.” And thus the tone is set.

The film (directed by Murray) is something of a mixed bag, which probably accounts for it’s lack of box office success; there are men jousting on bicycles with garden rakes, and shamelessly obscure references that force the viewer to raise their game (or, alternatively, switch off. Ralph Kramden and Thor Heyerdahl anyone?!).

But there are moments of high comedy, not to mention an excellent cast (Geena Davis, Stanley Tucci, Phil Hartman!) that make it worthy of it’s place in this most prestigious of lists. Oh, and it also contains the greatest Public Transport gag in movie history; the fastidious bus driver who steadfastly refuses to assist with their getaway from the heist because they don’t have the correct fare:

MURRAY: “Jees, just take this” (he hands over a $100 bill from the swag bag) DRIVER: (Indignant) “IS THAT THE EXACT FARE?!” Brilliant!