Bill Murray, as Carl, confronts the gopher who has been tearing up the golf course.

“Some ill-placed whimsy with a gopher puppet” was how a Chicago film critic described “Caddyshack” when it was released in 1980. That puppet has gone on to be a favorite of golfers and non-golfers alike as “Caddyshack” remains among the top comedies on every list.

The original storyline was meant to be a coming-of-age of two caddies. Writers Harold Ramis and Brian Doyle-Murray based it on their experiences working as caddies when they were teenagers.

As comedians Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray were added to the cast and given freedom to improvise, the story changed considerably. Their improvisations created some of the most memorable and highly quoted movie lines ever. The “ill-placed” gopher was added late in production to tie the story together.

The Sunrise Theater will be showing “Caddyshack” under the stars on the Sunrise Square Sept. 11-13, weather permitting. The box office opens at 7:15 p.m., and the film starts at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person.

Seating is limited and is first come, first served. Masks are required. Guests are ushered to their assigned circle, which can seat up to four people. When seated in the circle, movie goers may remove their masks and enjoy the Sunrise concessions and Southern Pines Brewing Company’s Together We Are Moore draft beer. Custom Sunrise chairs will be available for purchase. Groups larger than four should contact the Sunrise in advance for information on special seating options.

Full concessions will be available including the Sunrise’s Amish Country popcorn with real butter, locally made candy bars, assorted boxes of candy, sodas, beer, wine, and hard cider. Camp or beach chairs and/or blankets are recommended. No pets, coolers, or outside food permitted.

“Please note that Caddyshack is rated R for sex and nudity, profanity, and drug use,” says a spokesman.

The Sunrise Theater is located at 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Call (910) 692-8501 or visit for further information.

Movie Trivia

• ESPN describes “Caddyshack” as "perhaps the funniest sports movie ever made."

• Tiger Woods is a fan of the movie and played Carl Spackler (Bill Murray’s character) in an American Express commercial.

• First-time director Harold Ramis told Bill Murray to imagine his own sports fantasy moment, which resulted in the highly quoted and completely improvised “Cinderella Story” scene in the film.

• Bill Murray filmed all his scenes in six days. It took 11 weeks to film the entire movie.

• Harold Ramis was a writer on “Animal House,” “Meatballs,” “Groundhog Day,” “Stripes,” “Back to School,” “Ghostbusters and “Caddyshack,” which was his directorial debut. He later directed “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Groundhog Day,” “Multiplicity” and numerous other comedies.

• “Caddyshack” was Rodney Dangerfield’s first acting experience and the last film for Ted Knight.

• Harold Ramis could barely watch the movie after completion, mostly bothered by the poor golf swings made by everyone except for Michael O’Keefe (Danny Noonan).

• The famous Babe Ruth candy bar pool scene was an actual story from Doyle-Murray’s caddying days.

• Ramis wanted Pink Floyd to create the soundtrack but settled for second choice, Kenny Loggins. “I’m Alright” was released weeks before the movie and became a top ten hit in 1980.

• Bill Murray narrated the film “Loopers: The Caddies Long Walk,” which screened at the Sunrise Theater in 2019.

The Sunrise Theater is located at 250 NW Broad St., Southern Pines. Call (910) 692-8501 or visit for further information.

The Sunrise Theater is a thriving entertainment center featuring first run and independent films, music concerts, local theater, and live broadcasts of the Met Opera and Bolshoi Ballet. The Sunrise Theater continues to be the cornerstone of theater arts and entertainment in the North Carolina Sandhills dedicated to serving the community.

The Sunrise Theater (The Sunrise Preservation Group, Inc.) is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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