'Cradle Will Rock' did not make the cut. Photo credit: Demmie Todd Touchstone Pictures

When he’s not popping up at pubs and golf tournaments, Mr. Murray is making movies. These 12 Bill Murray movies are among the best.


To set your expectations, this is not your usual Bill Murray movie list. You won’t find Meatballs or Caddyshack or Stripes or Ghostbusters or What About Bob? or Groundhog Day here. Of course, those are all Murray classics. You know this, I know this. Yet there’s so much more to Bill Murray’s filmography. That’s what I’ll be digging into here.


Remember, Murray’s background is in comedy. He cut his teeth with The Second City in Chicago, then moved to New York City to be a featured player on The National Lampoon Radio Hour. It was his pal John Belushi who brought him east, and you don’t need me to remind you that the two ended up on Saturday Night Live. With that, Murray’s career as a comedic actor was launched, and he quickly became a star. That short list of the half-dozen movies I shared above are proof of that. But again, that’s not what I want to focus on here. I want to take a look at Bill Murray’s “second act.”


12 Bill Murray Movies That You Probably Forgot Are Great

The late ’90s and early ’00s saw Murray take a turn to the dramatic. And the dramatic roles in those films fueled a resurgence not only interest from directors, but interest from the viewing audience. Those of us who knew Bill Murray from SNL in the ’70s and his funny films from the ’80s got a whole new Bill to fall in love with. And fans who were seeing him for the first time in the films of Wes Anderson (of which there are many on the list below) were in for a surprise when they dug into his back catalog.


So, without further ado, here’s Adam 12’s list of 12 of my Murray faves. Enjoy.

  • Ed Wood (1994)

    Be prepared: You’re going to want to go back and watch a bunch of old, weird Ed Wood movies after you watch this one.

  • Rushmore (1998)

    Bill Murray as Herman Blume. A turning point in his career. And all-time great performance.

  • Hamlet (2000)

    “Wait, Bill Murray was in a production of Hamlet?” Yeah, the early 2000s were weird.

  • The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

    Murray’s second movie with Wes Anderson. The two together can do no wrong.

  • Lost In Translation (2003)

    One of my all-time favorite films. Perhaps Bill’s all-time greatest performance.

  • Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)

    Bill Murray + RZA + GZA = Cinema Gold

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

    Can we just take a moment to appreciate a bearded Bill Murray? Beard goals.

  • Broken Flowers (2005)

    I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’ve never watched this one. Take care of that soon.

  • The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

    Bill’s performance is overshadowed by those of his costars, but it’s still vintage Murray-by-way-of-Anderson.

  • Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

    I love this film and I don’t get why a lot of so-called Anderson fans don’t. And Bill is part of what makes it so good.

  • The Monuments Men (2014)

    It’s not easy to shine in an all-star cast like this one. But Murray does just that.

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

    See? And you didn’t think we’d get to an even dozen. Now go watch as many as you can!

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