Ask someone what their favorite baseball movie is and they could give any number of responses. Switch the sport to golf, however, and the most likely response will be Caddyshack. Thanks to the unforgettable performances from the likes of Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Chevy Chase, Caddyshack has taken on a cult status over the years as one of the most beloved and funniest sports comedies ever produced.
The posh and exclusive Bushwood Country Club has its share of snooty members, as well as struggling caddies trying to make something of themselves. One such person is underprivileged Irish teen, Danny Noonan, who hopes that his tips and the potential connections Bushwood provides might eventually pave the way to a college degree. And when Danny learns that a caddy scholarship is available, he begins sucking up to the club’s co-founder Judge Smails. The good judge is a little distracted at the moment, however, as his beloved golf course has been infested by a couple of nuisances – a pesky gopher and an extremely rich golfer named Al Czervik (Dangerfield.) Groundskeeper Carl Spackler is in hot pursuit of the gopher, attacking with everything from high-powered water hoses to explosives. Al, on the other hand, is proving much more difficult to get rid of, especially considering that to most observers, he is the life of the party – with a never-ending stream of hilarious one-liners aimed point blank at the judge.
Exasperated, the Judge challenges Al to a $20,000 round of golf, hoping that ace player Ty Webb (Chase) will partner with him. Webb, who doesn’t like the judge much, decides to play with Al. And poor Danny is forced to be Smails’ caddy, a difficult decision considering that Webb has been serving as his unofficial life mentor for some time now. As the game possesses the stakes are raised higher until Al feigns an injury. Forced to choose a replacement for his team, Ty picks Danny and the pressure is on for the youngster to win, considering that he just lost his chances at that coveted scholarship.
Released in 1980, and directed by Harold Ramis (his first film), Caddyshack relied on its stellar cast to deliver the non-stop laughs. Bill Murray has some truly priceless moments as the unbalanced and inebriated groundskeeper, but it is Rodney that steals the movie – offering a barrage of truly priceless one-liners such as “The last time I saw a mouth like that, it had a hook in it.” Memorable quotes like this have been repeated millions of times over the years from fans that can quote dozens of them from memory. The film also put Dangerfield on the map as an actor, leading to over a dozen supporting roles, both comedic and serious, after a long and successful stand-up career.
A sequel, Caddyshack II, was released in 1988. But although it boasted its own impressive cast of characters including Jackie Mason, Randy Quaid, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase reprising his role as Ty Webb, the film failed to capture the same charm as the original, which may just go down in history as one of the funniest golf films ever made.
If you have fond memories of this classic comedy, maybe can even recite a handful of lines at a moment’s notice, we welcome your memories in our comments sections, as we give a rousing golf clap to this endearing film.