Ghostbusters

"Extraordinary"

Ghostbusters Review


Films like Ghostbusters are inseparable from the '80s -- self-mocking and smart, yet lowbrow and mainstream, they rescued us from the unfunny film comedies of previous times. (If Ghostbusters had been made earlier, it would have been much less funny. If it were remade today, it would probably be much dumber, like TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Like Bill Murray's other top comedies, the slightly more subversive Caddyshack and Stripes, Ghostbusters passes the most important test of cinematic greatness -- no matter how many times you've seen it, you may end up watching it again when it comes around on TV. Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis are postgraduates in "parapsychology" who pretend to investigate paranormal phenomena (the movie begins with Murray trying to pick up a coed by convincing her she's psychic) until they're kicked off campus. So they start a business and become celebrities when they start capturing real ghosts. This cheesy premise is handled so smoothly that there is never a confusing moment, something screenwriter Ramis would achieve again with Groundhog Day, an equally odd concept which also worked. Unlike Groundhog, Ghostbusters is strictly for laughs -- which doesn't mean that it's dumb.

Ghostbusters is Bill Murray's movie all the way -- Ramis and Aykroyd wrote it and costar, but they mostly serve as straight men for Murray's irony-soaked one-liners. Everything about the movie is goofy but somehow irresistible, from the Ray Parker Jr. theme song to the climactic marshmallow man. The supporting characters are likewise wacky but logical, including Potts as the jaded receptionist who puts the moves on Ramis ("Do you have any hobbies?" "I collect spores, molds, and fungus.") and Moranis' nerdy tax consultant who ends up possessed by a Mesopotamian demigod.

The script is not flawless -- in an unnecessary subplot that stalls the movie in the middle, the boys get busted by the EPA. (Only in the '80s could everything, even ghosts, be blamed on too much government.) Otherwise, the movie is fun from start to finish, when the 'busters destroy the evil Sumerian demigod atop a Central Park high-rise and Ernie Hudson (as the token African-American ghostbuster) jumps in the air and yells "I love this town!" -- reducing the whole movie to a New York City joke.

One of the most popular comedies ever, Ghostbusters inspired many subsequent blockbusters (most obviously Men in Black, which even threw in a couple of NYC jokes itself) plus a children's cartoon. The entire cast reunited for an uninspired, but not bad, sequel in 1989.

Now available on a two-DVD set with the sequel, you get not only a collectible booklet of drawings and errata, but also a commentary, deleted scenes, and various featurettes.

Aka Ghost Busters.



Ghostbusters

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th June 1984

Box Office USA: $3.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $291.6M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Fresh: 62 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Dr. Peter Venkman, as Dr. Raymond Stantz, as Dana Barrett, as Dr. Egon Spengler, as Louis Tully, as Janine Melnitz, as Walter Peck, as Winston Zeddmore, as Mayor, as Female Student, Michael Ensign as Hotel Manager, Slavitza Jovan as Gozer, Steven Tash as Male Student, as Librarian, Jordan Charney as Dean Yager, Timothy Carhart as Violinist, as Library Administrator, Tom McDermott as Archbishop, John Ring as Fire Commissioner, Norman Matlock as Police Commissioner, Joe Cirillo as Police Captain, Joe Schmieg as Police Seargeant, Roger Grimsby as Himself, as Himself, as Himself, Casey Kasem as Himself, as Jail Guard, Rhoda Gemignani as Real Estate Woman, Murray Rubin as Man at Elevator, Larry Dilg as Con Edison Man, Danny Stone as Coachman, Patty Dworkin as Woman at Party, as Tall Woman at Party, Lenny Del Genio as Doorman, Frances E. Nealy as Chambermaid, Sam Moses as Hot Dog Vendor, Christopher Wynkoop as TV Reporter, Winston May as Businessman in Cab, Tommy Hollis as Mayor's Aide, as Louis's Neighbor (as Eda Reis Merin), Ric Mancini as Policeman at Apartment (as Rick Mancini), Carol Ann Henry as Reporter, James Hardie as Reporter (as James Hardy), as Reporter (as Frances Turner), Paul Trafas as Ted Fleming, Cheryl Birchenfield as Annette Fleming, Kymberly Herrin as Dream Ghost (as Kym Herrin), as Reporter, Ruth Oliver as Library Ghost, as Reporter

Also starring:

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