(Photo by Touchstone/courtesy Everett Collection)
From tales of crashing bachelor parties and kickball games, to intimate fan pranks that he knows the public will never believe, to his unavailabity outside of a 1-800 number, the antics of lord of chaos Bill Murray could overshadow his actual job as an actor. But this decade alone has seen Certified Fresh hits like Moonrise Kingdom, The Jungle Book, Grand Budapest Hotel, and St. Vincent.
The output compares handsomely even to his ’80s heyday, which saw the likes of Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, and Scrooged put into theaters. The ’90s not only had his lead-starring masterpiece Groundhog Day, but also the zany What About Bob?, and his first reinvention as the patron saint of comedic melancholia, Rushmore. All that paved the way for his towering 2000s output, featuring The Royal Tenenbaums, Lost in Translation, his Best Actor-nominated Broken Flowers, and Garfield…which we’re mentioning because it led directly to his inspired cameo in Zombieland.
All we’re saying is that, despite what it looks like on the outside to us non-Bills, Murray knows exactly what he’s doing. Like when he shows up as a cop in Jim Jarmusch’s zombie comedy (a description that will never cease to astound cinephiles) The Dead Don’t Die, opening this week. Just go with it. And just go with us as we take a look back on the best Bill Murray movies ever (amongst the duds) ranked by Tomatometer.
Adjusted Score: 3.137%
Critics Consensus: Passion Play has a terrific cast, but don’t be fooled – the only real question at the heart of this misbegotten mystery is what its stars were thinking.
Adjusted Score: 12.069%
Critics Consensus: The Shareef don’t like Rock the Kasbah, and neither will viewers hoping for a film that manages to make effective use of Bill Murray’s knack for playing lovably anarchic losers.
Adjusted Score: 12.807%
Critics Consensus: Strictly for (very) little kids, A Tale of Two Kitties features skilled voice actors but a plot that holds little interest.
Adjusted Score: 18.409%
Critics Consensus: When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what’s left is a simplistic kiddie movie.
Adjusted Score: 25.635%
Critics Consensus: Meandering and insubstantial, Aloha finds writer-director Cameron Crowe at his most sentimental and least compelling.
Adjusted Score: 27.122%
Critics Consensus: Its heart is in the right place, but what starts as a promising exercise devolves into an overlong, unevenly directed disappointment.
Adjusted Score: 42.89%
Critics Consensus: Though bolstered by a thoroughly charming performance by Bill Murray in the central role, Hyde Park on Hudson is an FDR biopic that lets down both its audience and its subject.
Adjusted Score: 42.324%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 47.064%
Critics Consensus: While it’s no slam dunk, Space Jam’s silly, Looney Toons-laden slapstick and vivid animation will leave younger viewers satisfied — though accompanying adults may be more annoyed than entertained.
Adjusted Score: 46.533%
Critics Consensus: A minimalist exercise in not much of anything, The Limits of Control is a tedious viewing experience with little reward.
Adjusted Score: 58.133%
Critics Consensus: Get Smart rides Steve Carell’s considerable charm for a few laughs, but ultimately proves to be a rather ordinary action comedy.
Adjusted Score: 51.566%
Critics Consensus: Kingpin has its moments, but they’re often offset by an eagerness to descend into vulgar mean-spiritedness.
Adjusted Score: 45.452%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 57.255%
Critics Consensus: City of Ember is visually arresting, and boasts a superb cast, but is sadly lacking in both action and adventure.
Adjusted Score: 55.456%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to the cast, Ghostbusters 2 is reasonably amusing, but it lacks the charm, wit, and energy of its predecessor.
Adjusted Score: 58.149%
Critics Consensus: The animated portion of Osmosis is zippy and fun, but the live-action portion is lethargic.
Adjusted Score: 62.113%
Critics Consensus: Much like the titular oceanographer, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’s overt irony may come off as smug and artificial — but for fans of Wes Anderson’s unique brand of whimsy it might be worth the dive.
Adjusted Score: 59.708%
Critics Consensus: Stiff performances fail to produce any tension onscreen.
Adjusted Score: 67.023%
Critics Consensus: Episodes vary in quality, but overall this talky film is quirkily engaging.
Adjusted Score: 66.766%
Critics Consensus: Wild Things is a delightfully salacious, flesh-exposed romp that also requires a high degree of love for trash cinema.
Adjusted Score: 72.915%
Critics Consensus: Mixing tongue-in-cheek cheesecake with glossy action set pieces, Charlie’s Angels is slick and resonably fun despite its lack of originality.
Adjusted Score: 75.08%
Critics Consensus: With the requisite combination of humor, sorrow and outstanding visuals, The Darjeeling Limited will satisfy Wes Anderson fans.
Adjusted Score: 70.937%
Critics Consensus: A Very Murray Christmas preaches effectively to the converted with a parade of superstar guests and hummable songs that – combined with the host’s trademark presence – adds up to a unique holiday experience.
Adjusted Score: 72.837%
Critics Consensus: Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it’s hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.
Adjusted Score: 78.955%
Critics Consensus: Though unabashedly crude and juvenile, Caddyshack nevertheless scores with its classic slapstick, unforgettable characters, and endlessly quotable dialogue.
Adjusted Score: 88.507%
Critics Consensus: Ghostbusters does an impressive job of standing on its own as a freewheeling, marvelously cast supernatural comedy — even if it can’t help but pale somewhat in comparison with the classic original.
Adjusted Score: 78.414%
Critics Consensus: Meatballs is a summer camp comedy with few surprises, but Bill Murray’s riffing adds a spark that sets it apart from numerous subpar entries in a frequently uninspired genre.
Adjusted Score: 78.795%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 83.989%
Critics Consensus: St. Vincent offers the considerable pleasure of seeing Bill Murray back in funny form, but drifts into dangerously sentimental territory along the way.
Adjusted Score: 85.842%
Critics Consensus: The Royal Tenenbaums is a delightful adult comedy with many quirks and a sense of poignancy. Many critics especially praised Hackman’s performance.
Adjusted Score: 83.774%
Critics Consensus: Quick Change makes the most of its clever premise with a smartly skewed heist comedy that leaves plenty of room for its talented cast to shine.
Adjusted Score: 85.733%
Critics Consensus: Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss’ chemistry helps make the most of a familiar yet durable premise, elevating What About Bob? into the upper ranks of ’90s comedies.
Adjusted Score: 88.801%
Critics Consensus: Subtle to a fault, this perfectly cast ensemble drama is lifted by typically sharp performances from Robert Duvall and Bill Murray.
Adjusted Score: 88.419%
Critics Consensus: A raucous military comedy that features Bill Murray and his merry cohorts approaching the peak of their talents.
Adjusted Score: 93.298%
Critics Consensus: Bill Murray’s subtle and understated style complements director Jim Jarmusch’s minimalist storytelling in this quirky, but deadpan comedy.
Adjusted Score: 94.688%
Critics Consensus: This cult favorite is a quirky coming of age story, with fine, off-kilter performances from Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray.
Adjusted Score: 93.226%
Critics Consensus: Tootsie doesn’t squander its high-concept comedy premise with fine dialogue and sympathetic treatment of the characters.
Adjusted Score: 104.397%
Critics Consensus: The beautifully stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs finds Wes Anderson at his detail-oriented best while telling one of the director’s most winsomely charming stories.
Adjusted Score: 94.585%
Critics Consensus: Remixing Roger Corman’s B-movie by way of the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors offers camp, horror and catchy tunes in equal measure — plus some inspired cameos by the likes of Steve Martin and Bill Murray.
Adjusted Score: 97.849%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly funny and featuring plenty of gore, Zombieland is proof that the zombie subgenre is far from dead.
Adjusted Score: 102.542%
Critics Consensus: Typically stylish but deceptively thoughtful, The Grand Budapest Hotel finds Wes Anderson once again using ornate visual environments to explore deeply emotional ideas.
Adjusted Score: 95.845%
Critics Consensus: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up to fete the life and work of cult hero Ed Wood, with typically strange and wonderful results.
Adjusted Score: 99.454%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal — and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Adjusted Score: 101.855%
Critics Consensus: Warm, whimsical, and poignant, the immaculately framed and beautifully acted Moonrise Kingdom presents writer/director Wes Anderson at his idiosyncratic best.
Adjusted Score: 101.578%
Critics Consensus: Effectively balancing humor and subtle pathos, Sofia Coppola crafts a moving, melancholy story that serves as a showcase for both Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.
Adjusted Score: 107.141%
Critics Consensus: As lovely to behold as it is engrossing to watch, The Jungle Book is the rare remake that actually improves upon its predecessors — all while setting a new standard for CGI.
Adjusted Score: 102.174%
Critics Consensus: Smart, sweet, and inventive, Groundhog Day highlights Murray’s dramatic gifts while still leaving plenty of room for laughs.
Adjusted Score: 102.803%
Critics Consensus: An infectiously fun blend of special effects and comedy, with Bill Murray’s hilarious deadpan performance leading a cast of great comic turns.