Bill Murray’s Top 10 Sarcastic Remarks

Bill Murray has played some of the great comic characters since he rose to fame on Saturday Night Live in the 70s. Sarcasm has featured strongly in his comedy. Here’s ten of his best lines.

Bill Murray has made a name for himself playing conceited individuals always prepared with their latest critique. The Illinois-born comic became popular after joining Saturday Night Live which led to film roles in Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Where The Buffalo Roam and Tootsie.

Murray would experience box office success and failure almost at the same time with his film The Razor’s Edge (which he co-wrote) disappointing audiences following the worldwide smash-hit Ghostbusters in 1984. He would take a break from acting before returning in the late 1980s to star in a string of commercial and critical successes including Scrooged, Quick Change, Ghostbusters II, What About Bob and Groundhog Day.

His quick-wit and sharp-tongue became a prominent feature of his comedic roles, playing characters with chips on their shoulders who find their ego’s tempered by circumstance. His two finest comedy roles – in Scrooged and Groundhog Day – played on this notion of the big-shot who learns his lesson.

Concentrating on more dramatic characters over the last decade, Murray did recently parody himself in the excellent horror-comedy Zombieland. Throughout a long career where comedy has played a significant part, Murray has provided audiences with some wonderful moments of sheer comic joy. Looking back over a career spanning several great movies, Top 10 Films picks ten great sarcastic remarks from some of Murray’s most conceited and yet oddly lovable characters.

10. Zombieland – Bill Murray: “I was never a very good practical joker.”

zombieland, quotes,
Film: Zombieland (Fleischer, 2009)
Character: The perennial egotist Bill Murray as an egotistical version of Bill Murray

Bill Murray sends himself up in the fun horror-comedy Zombieland. After being accidentally shot when pretending to be a zombie he says, “It was my bad. I was never a very good practical joker.”

He’s asked: “So do you have any regrets?”

His reply: “Garfield, maybe.”

9. Scooged – Frank Cross: “I never liked a girl well enough to give her twelve sharp knives.”

frank cross, scrooged, quotes,
Film: Scrooged (Donner, 1988)
Character: Egotistical, conceited and cynical television executive Frank Cross

During a brief moment of tenderness, he is overly pleased to give his only love a Christmas present. When she opens it she finds a pack of kitchen knives.

He says, pleased with himself: “I never liked a girl well enough to give her twelve sharp knives.”

8. Ghostbusters 2 – Peter Venkman: “She is French. You know that.”

ghostbusters 2, peter venkman, quotes,
Film: Ghostbusters 2 (Ivan Reitman, 1989)
Character: Egotistical parapsychologist turned ghost catcher Dr. Peter Venkman

While standing at the foot of the Statue of Liberty before covering her in pink slime and walking her across New York to save the day.

Venkman says, “Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Whether she’s naked under that toga. She is French. You know that.”

7. Stripes – John Winger: “All the plants are gonna die!”

stripes, quotes
Film: Stripes (Reitman, 1981)
Character: Egotistical slacker John Winger who quits his job to join the army in order to meet girls

When his girlfriend is leaving him he says, “But you can’t leave. All the plants are gonna die!”

6. Where The Buffalo Roam – Hunter S. Thompson: “I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity…”

where the buffalo roam, hunter s thompson,
Film: Where The Buffalo Roam (Linson, 1980)
Character: Real-life egotist and the creator of Gonzo journalism Hunter S. Thompson

Thompson is speaking to a group of students and one asks whether drugs make people better writers.

Thompson says “that’s a good question” while lighting a joint. “I hate to advocate drugs or liquor, violence, insanity to anyone. But in my case it’s worked.”

5. Scooged – Frank Cross: “You paid for the women.”

scrooged, quotes,
Film: Scrooged (Donner, 1988)
Character: Egotistical, conceited and cynical television executive Frank Cross

Frank is visited by the decomposing corpse of his mentor Lew Hayward, who lectures him on his conceited ways.

Lew says: “I was a captain of industry; feared by men, adored by women.”

Frank laughs, replying: “Adored! Come on, let’s be honest, Lew. You paid for the women!”

4. Groundhog Day – Phil: “At sunset, we made love like sea otters.”

groundhog day, characters, comedy,
Film: Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993)
Character: Phil, an egotistical weatherman who has to live the same day over and over again

When Phil finally realises he is stuck in a dreary town having to live the same boring day over and over again he reminisces about the day he met a girl in a tropical paradise.

He says, “I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over, and over, and over…”

3. Scooged – Frank Cross: “I’m sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples.”

frank cross, scrooged, best lines,
Film: Scrooged (Donner, 1988)
Character: Egotistical, conceited and cynical television executive Frank Cross

During an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic tale A Christmas Carol, Frank declares he wants to see the female dancing girls’ nipples.

“I want to see her nipples,” he declares.

A lady on set in charge of television censorship replies: “But this is a Christmas show.”

Frank retorts: “Well, I’m sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples.”

2. Kingpin – Ernie McCracken: “Was I talking out loud?”

kingpin,
Film: Kingpin (Farrelly brothers, 1996)
Character: An egotistical ten-pin bowler named Ernie McCracken

One of Bill Murray’s most eccentric characters appears in the Farrelly’s brother brilliant Kingpin. Woody Harrelson plays one-armed ten-pin bowler Roy Munson. Billy Murray is his chief rival and the man responsible for Roy losing his hand.

During a face-off between the warring twosome Ernie tries to put Roy off his turn. As Roy prepares to bowl Ernie says: “It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he’s the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He’s got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst.”

Roy replies: “Hey. Do you mind? I wasn’t talking when you were bowling.”

Ernie is surprised: “Was I talking out loud? Was I? Sorry. Good luck.”

1. Ghostbusters – Peter Venkman: “Someone saw a cockroach up on twelve.”

ghostbusters, peter venkman, quotes,
Film: Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman, 1984)
Character: Egotistical parapsychologist turned ghost catcher Dr. Peter Venkman

The Ghostbusters arrive at a hotel to kick some butt. They are about to get into the elevator with their proton packs and full Ghostbusting gear on when a fellow elevator user asks: “What are you supposed to be, some kind of cosmonaut?”

Bill Murray as the great Peter Venkman replies: “No, we’re exterminators. Someone saw a cockroach up on twelve.”

“That’s gotta be some cockroach!”

“Bite your head off, man,” replies Venkman.

Your turn – what are your favourite Bill Murray characters, scenes, or films?

Written and compiled by Daniel Stephens.

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About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Scott Reply

    As we all know Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit….but when Mr Murray does it, it sounds great!!

    🙂

  2. Dan Reply

    @Scott: I think it is this sort of humour that turned a lot of people off Bill Murray but he’s managed to win many back with his more dramatic roles of late. Still, it was great to see him return to his 1980s form in Zombieland!

  3. Raghav Modi Reply

    Funny stuff. Favourite would have to be Zombieland. That was a killer cameo.

  4. Castor Reply

    Great idea for a list Dan. Bill Murray has so many of those snarky lines over his career one could make a top 50 😉

  5. Sir Phobos Reply

    ahahaha….Murray is one of my favorite people on this planet. I’ll add this part from Ghostbusters:

    http://youtu.be/N9L7UUp0FxY

    I wanted it to continue to where he’s looking up at her as she’s floating, but that’s good enough.

  6. Marc Reply

    Always loved that line from Ghostbusters II…My favs have to be “we did a little job for the city a while back and got stiffed on the bill by some bureaucratic bookworm like yourself” and “So your alien ahd a room at the Holiday Inn, Paramus?” Awesome idea for a list Dan:)

  7. C.J. Roberts Reply

    My favorite from “Ghostbusters II” Venkman comes home to find that Dana has cleaned up. He asks her about a shirt. She tells him she put it in his hamper. In amazment, he replies,
    “I have a hamper?!”

  8. Rodney Reply

    My favourite line of Bill is “They go up” from Ghostbusters, to Ray’s query as to where a set of stairs go. Such deadpan delivery makes this howlingly funny to me.. love Bill Murray, but that’s the best.

  9. Jim Bath Reply

    See, I don’t think that sarcasm is necessarily the lowest form of wit – it depends on the actual sarcastic comment and how it’s delivered. Bill is the perfect example of sarcasm working as great comedy…

  10. Jack Frake Reply

    “Yes, it’s true. This man has no dick.”

  11. Claire Reply

    Hahaha, I love No 10 and No 4. Fun list, Dan!

  12. Anna Reply

    Hah, such a fun read! This guy is so great, but I keep for some reason forgetting him. Should watch Broken Flowers again, really underrated that one is.

  13. sundryandco Reply

    A really original idea for a blog post!

    I think Groundhog Day and Broken Flowers would probably be my top films, although Ghostbusters has its charms 🙂

  14. Chris Reply

    Good idea for a list, everyone loves bill murray.I found Lost in Translation very funny and think it deserves a mention here: “What kind of restaurant makes you cook your own food? ”

    So long ago I’ve seen Murray’s best films, about time I revisit some of them ( :

  15. Dan Reply

    @Raghav: yeah, loved that cameo!

    @Jack: Oh, good one!

    @Claire: Cheers, Claire!

    @Anna: Broken Flowers is underrated as seems to be the case with so many Jim Jarmusch films.

  16. Andina Reply

    Only watched a few of his movies, but I love Ground Hog Day. I totally forgot he is in Ghostbusters!

  17. Dan Reply

    @Andina: Groundhog Day is so much fun and is one of those films you can re-watch over and over! 🙂

  18. Natasha Reply

    The Man Who Knew Too Little – stumbled upon this gem one afternoon. Was in tears by the dance presentation with the Eastern European Ethnic Dance Troupe at the end – it has to be the best scene ever – he makes it look so easy to appear that he hasn’t learned the choreography. Or maybe he hadn’t? His comedic brilliance is so understated. But Groundhog Day is still my all-time favorite Bill Murray feature.

  19. Dan Grant Reply

    My favourite ones from Murray are mostly from Stripes and Ghostbusters.

    Stripes

    Sargeant Hulka: You’re all in this together. One of these men might save your life one of these days, you understand that?

    Winger: Then again, maybe one of us won’t.

    Stripes:

    Cab passenger: I’ve never gone this way before.

    Winger: I’m sure there’s a lot of ways I’ve gone that you haven’t.

    Stripes:

    Sergeant Hulka: Okay, Mr. Push-ups, let’s hear your story.

    John Winger: Chicks dig me, because I rarely wear underwear and when I do it’s usually something unusual. But now I know why I have always lost women to guys like you. I mean, it’s not just the uniform. It’s the stories that you tell. So much fun and imagination.
    [points to the soldier next to him]
    John Winger: Lee Harvey, you are a madman. When you stole that cow, and your friend tried to make it with the cow. I want to party with you, cowboy. If the two of us together, forget it. I’m gonna go out on a limb here. I’m gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn’t always gonna be here to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe… Sergeant Hulka.
    [the soldiers start clapping]

    And of course Ghostbusters:

    Dr Ray Stantz: Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by dickless here.
    Walter Peck: They caused an explosion!
    Mayor: Is this true?
    Dr. Peter Venkman: Yes it’s true.
    [pause]
    Dr. Peter Venkman: This man has no dick.

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