5 Harold Ramis movies that defined his legacy

02/25/14 by Rennie Detore

"Ghostbusters" was the first movie I saw at a drive in theater. I was five years old.
I fell asleep about halfway through the movie, but that was more a product of being a kid than what I was actually watching.
As an adult, I've grown to appreciate the 1984 blockbuster that was "Ghostbusters," and the iconic status it enjoys 30 years after its release.
This is a rare piece of work that at the time was considered silly and forgettable, but eventually grew into a classic, the kind of movie you can watch every day or can't help but quote whenever you get the chance.
Some would argue that the driving force behind the "Ghostbusters" movies was the onscreen brilliance of Bill Murray. That fact was hard to argue. But behind the scenes, the creativity and writing acumen of Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis told the story from start to finish.

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Ramis penned some of the more irreverent and hilarious comedies both before and after "Ghostbusters."
Ramis passed away February 24 from complications of a disease that causes swelling of the blood vessels known as autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.
He was 69.
Ramis leaves behind family and friends that love him and miss him. For fans of his writing, directing and acting, he'll also bestow a legacy of outstanding work that, much like "Ghostbusters," will never grow old or outdated.
Even after his passing, he'll continue to influence directors and writers, much the way he did with the likes of Judd Apatow and the Farrelly Brothers.
That's what legends do.

Pairing down only five Ramis related movies to acknowledge isn't easy, but basking in just how witty, intelligent and influential he was to millions of people is effortless.
1. "Ghostbusters": What more can you say about a movie that was panned by critics and then adored and revered by the masses? It's a classic, and so was Ramis' performance as Egon Spengler, seemingly the only one of the trio of original "Ghostbusters" that actually knew an inkling about science. He was demure, sarcastic and delivered some of the more memorable lines of the film. Remember, the Twinkie.
2. "Analyze This": Ramis directed and wrote the screenplay of this spoof comedy that came out right around the time "The Sopranos" and provided a comedic take on a mobster (Robert Deniro) seeing a therapist (Billy Crystal). It was a perfect foil to the violence and intensity put forth by "The Sopranos" and audiences loved it.
3. "National Lampoon's Animal House": The prototype for every college fraternity movie, "Animal House" was written by Ramis and starred the late John Belushi. When you watch movies like "American Pie" or "Old School," you can't help but see Ramis' screenplay from "Animal House" bleed through into today's modern collegiate or high school comedy.
4. "Caddyshack" - Voted one of the best sports movies of all time, Ramis co wrote and directed this film that included a who's who cast of Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Billy Murray. "Caddyshack," much like "Ghostbusters" didn't seem like it was destined for much more than a $.99 VHS bin at a local video store. But the performances, laughs, quotable lines and hilarity that ensured turned this would be slice into the woods into a hole in one.
5. "Groundhog Day" - Murray and Ramis teamed up for this dark comedy of sorts that saw Murray play a Pennsylvania weatherman who relives the same day over and over again. Ramis wrote and directed "Groundhog Day" and the pairing of he and Murray was golden. The premise of this movie worked but only because of the way Ramis pieced the story together and gave Murray more than adequate material to work with.
Ramis will be sorely missed. His work will never be forgotten.

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