Harold Ramis: One of the people who created the 80s

It could be argued¬†(by me ūüėú) that the 80s started in 1978 with Animal House and ended in 1993 with Groundhog Day, and Harold Ramis was the writer on both those movies and many other iconic 80's films.


Animal House Movie Poster

National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) Writer

Harold Ramis was a writer for the National Lampoon's Animal House (directed by Ivan Reitman)... one of the movies that set the standard for college comedies and paved the way for '80s humor in media.  Whereas some of the humor may not meet social standards for today (but what college movie from the era does (I'm looking at you, Revenge of the Nerds), it was groundbreaking and is still incredibly funny today. Animal House was John Belushi's first major film role, along with Tom Hulce (Amadeus, Slam Dance), Stephen Furst (Babylon 5),  Bruce McGill (Hey, it's that guy from that other thing!) and Kevin Bacon (everything).   It led to a lackluster and short-lived TV series Delta House (1979) which kept many of the original movie's actors, but recast some of the crucial main roles.   We have Bluto's College Sweatshirt available in our store (also in a tee, in case it's too warm out).  



SCTV TV (1976-1979) Writer & Head Writer

Ramis was also a writer, then head writer, for a time at SCTV the Canadian sketch show that brought us stars of the '80s like John Candy, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Andrea Martin, Dave Thomas, and more. 


 Meatballs (1979) Writer

In Meatballs, also directed by Ivan Reitman, Harold Ramis began writing for Bill Murray, in a partnership that would span the '80s and many great movies. Meatballs was Bill Murray's first starring role as the smart aleck underdog,  Tripper, who was a camp counselor at a less-than-average summer camp.

Caddyshack Poster

Caddyshack (1980) Writer & Director

In His first outing as Director, National Lampoon's Caddyshack, Ramis writes again with the National Lampoon staff (including Brian Doyle-Murray), another outsider, underdog comedy, this time in a Country Club, starring Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, along with Rodney Dangerfield helping a young caddy (Michael O'Keefe) stick it to "the man" personified by Ted Knight.  Unfortunately the film was a box office flop at opening, but has become a very quotable cult classic film on video. 

We have two products from Caddyshack in our store, the Bushwood Country Club Golf Hat and the Bushwood Country Club Shirt


Stripes (1980) Writer & Actor

With Stripes (directed again by Ivan Reitman), Ramis wrote and acted in this two-hander with his friend Bill Murray as older, smart aleck, outsider underdogs who join the Army, who are left to train themselves when their drill instructor is injured in a totally avoidable accident caused by an inept Captain, played, delightfully, by a young John Larroquette.  This movie begins as a fish out of water story and ends as a cold war caper movie. Stripes also features John Candy, P.J. Soles, Judge Reinhold, and Sean Young. 

We have Judge Reinhold's iconic Death Before Disco sweatshirt (also in a tee) available in our store!


National Lampoon's Vacation

 1983 Director

Ramis directed National Lampoon's Vacation, written by John Hughes, and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, with SCTV alums John Candy, Eugene Levy, and Brian Doyle-Murray. This underdog film spawned four sequels (so far) of various quality (with various Griswold kids), but this one really shone.  Vacation featured Anthony Michael Hall and Jane Krakowski in very early roles. 



Ghostbusters (1984) Writer & Actor

Harold Ramis joined with SNL alum, Dan Aykroyd, and SCTV alum Rick Moranis to write and star in one of the most iconic '80s movies, Ghostbusters, directed by Ivan Reitman. Along with Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson, Ramis and Aykroyd, starred as smart mouthed underdog¬†parapsychologists¬†who discover the actual existence of ghosts and how to them, just in time to save New York from Zuul the Gatekeeper (Sigourney Weaver) and the Keymaster (Rick Moranis) opening the gate to Gozer (known as¬†Gozer the Gozerian, Gozer the Destructor, Gozer the Traveler, Volguus Zildrohar and Lord of the Sebouillia) but we know the real villain in this movie is the EPA. ūü§£

The cast also includes great performances by Annie Potts and William Atherton.

Back To School

Back to School (1986) Writer

After his role in Caddyshack as a rich dude with no class, Rodney Dangerfield's career had a bit of a renaissance, allowing him to star in Back to School, screenplay by Harold Ramis,  as a rich dude trying to get go from crass to class, by deciding to go to college with his son. This movie is still a kind-of underdog story because the educated look down on the simple rich guy who just wants to party. 

With Sally Kellerman (M.A.S.H.),  a young Robert Downey Jr, Sam Kinison, and a wonderful appearance by Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo.


Club Paradise

Club Paradise 1986) Writer & Director

Club Paradise was a Film originally written for Bill Murray and John Cleese (Monty Python's Flying Circus) and to be directed by John Landis, but ended up starring Robin Williams and Peter O'Toole and directed by Harold Ramis.  This film should have worked, but somehow it fell flat, despite the talent of its cast and director. Club Paradise also cast many SCTV alums including Andrea Martin, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Joe Flaherty, Robin Duke, and writer Brian Doyle-Murray.


Armed and Dangerous

Armed and Dangerous (1986) Writer

Starring John Candy and Eugene Levy as a fired Policeman and a useless lawyer, respectively, who become security guards. This was another film that fell flat despite its cast, which also included Meg Ryan and Robert Loggia.

Caddyshack II

Caddyshack II (1988) Writer

 Oof!  Sometimes there shouldn't be sequels...

Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II (1989) Writer & Actor

...and sometimes there should.  While not as good as the original Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, written by Ramis and Ackroyd and directed by Ivan Reitman, was a hit.  Starring the original main cast and adding Peter MacNicol as the acolyte of the (painting of) evil Vigo the Carpathian. 

The Ghostbusters have lost their status and credibility, despite having defeated Gozer in the form of the Staypuffed Marshmallow Man and saved the day. The people of New York have disbelieved their own eyes and blame the Ghostbusters for covering much of New York with marshmallow fluff.   Paranormal activity begins again in the form of an underground river of psycho-reactive ectoplasm.   

To save the city and their reputation they have to bring good vibes back to New York with a walking icon of the city, featuring an excellent cover of Jackie Wilson's Higher and Higher by Mint Juleps


Groundhog's Day

Groundhog Day (1993) Writer & Director

While technically not a 1980s movie, I believe this bookends the decade nicely. This film, directed by and co-written by Harold Ramis, is the last time that he and Bill Murray worked together, and disagreements over the film contributed to the ending of their longtime friendship. 

Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell can be considered a masterpiece, while not the first in the time-loop genre, the history repeating itself film has become known as a "Groundhog Day" film. 

Despite Murray's dislike of the film, I think it'll be the movie that both he and Ramis will be remembered for. 

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in Stripes

Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters

Harold Ramis wrote, directed, and acted in many more films and tv shows (Analyze This, Bedazzled, Analyze That, , ,  )  before his death in 2014, but can you imagine the '80s without his contribution to movies?

Harold Ramis

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