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Film / Caddyshack

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"Hey everybody! We're all gonna get laid!"
Al Czervik

A 1980 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, and Ted Knight. Bill Murray also had a small part in it, but his improvised stuff was so great he became one of the stars.

Danny Noonan (Michael O Keefe) is a young caddy at Bushwood Country Club who has no idea about where his future will lead. His best chance at getting his life on track is to earn a caddy scholarship from Judge Elihu Smails (Knight), the owner of Bushwood. Al Czervik (Dangerfield) is a rude and eccentric millionaire who has an interest in purchasing Bushwood. Judge Smails discovers an instant dislike towards Al and soon there is conflict between the Judge and Al, the Judge and Danny, and the Judge and Ty Webb (Chase), the charming golfer who is helping Danny figure out his real goals. Meanwhile, Carl Spackler (Murray), Bushwood's Assistant Groundskeeper, battles a rampaging gopher who is chewing holes throughout the course.


A sequel, Caddyshack II, was released in 1988, starring Jackie Mason and Robert Stack, with Chevy Chase the only major carryover from the original cast. Being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute to the original, right down to its characters and gags, it regularly shows up on critics' compilations of the worst movies ever made.

Tropes featured include:

  • Accidental Pervert: In the opening scene Danny is accused of being one by his preteen sister after accidentally walking in on her in the bathroom.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the scene where the Bishop (played by veteran actor Henry Wilcoxon) is having his best round of golf ever during a thunderstorm, he misses an easy putt, looks skyward and yells "rat farts!", and is immediately struck down by a bolt of lightning. The background music in this scene was from The Ten Commandments, in which Wilcoxon played the part of Pentaur.
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    • In the sequel, Jackie Mason plays a character named Hartounian.
    • During the scuffle between Al and Smails, Al mutters, "I don't get no respect." Obviously, that was Rodney Dangerfield's catchphrase in his stand-up act.
  • All There in the Script: According to the original script and specials on the making of the movie, the character Maggie is an exchange student from Ireland. This explains her thick accent which goes unexplained in the final movie.
  • And Starring: And Bill Murray as Carl.
  • Angry Chef: The chef in the club kitchen grabbing a cleaver to attack after his cooking is dismissed by Al Czervik as "low-grade dog food".
  • Animal Nemesis: Carl first tries to drown the gopher, then kill it with a sniper rifle, before finally settling on plastic explosives. The gopher still wins.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Fooling Around on the Course, Bad Language, Smoking Grass, Poor Caddying."
  • Artistic License – Sports:
    • With the exception of Michael O'Keefe as Danny, none of the actors use proper golf swings and their characters would not be able to hit the ball as well as they're shown doing in the film.
    • Under PGA rules (which the club is mandated to adhere to if they're recognized by the PGA; it's not made clear if they are), Smails would have won the game. When Danny putts, the ball stops at the edge of the cup. Under the rules, it counts as holed if it drops in the time it takes Danny to walk to the cup (it looks like an 8-foot putt, so figure 2-3 seconds), plus an additional ten seconds. Nearly a minute passes before the explosions drop it into the cup. Doesn't count, Smails wins. In addition, the explosions are an outside event affecting the area of play, so the explosions dropping the ball into the cup would also negate the hole.
  • Author Avatar: Danny for Brian Doyle-Murray. Not only did he work as a caddy, he had multiple siblings, including Bill.
  • Award-Bait Song: While not included in the movie itself (aside from a short instrumental version of it), the soundtrack has "Lead the Way" by Kenny Loggins.
  • Ax-Crazy: Carl.
  • Berserk Button: Initially, Ty wants nothing to do with the conflict between Czervik and Smails. But then when Judge Smails invokes Ty's late father's memory to sway him to his side, Ty immediately sides with Czervik.
  • Big Bad: Judge Elihu Smails' Jerkass nature drive the film's conflicts.
  • Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: Ty's specialty.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The main conflict is about grumpy, elitist pricks vs. funny, likable assholes.
  • Blindfolded Vision: Ty hitting over the water onto the green whilst blindfolded.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: The high-voltage cap-off to the poor Reverend's almost-perfect game; enough to make him renounce God.
  • Bookends: The gopher dancing to "I'm Alright".
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: While it has nothing to do with his ultimate downfall, Smails regularly moves his ball from bad lies without taking a penalty stroke.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Carl's attempts to kill the gopher are just comedy. Then towards the end his attempts at dynamiting the rodent shake the course so much, that Danny's ball falls into the hole on the final putt, winning him the game for Al.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Ty and Carl. Never more clear than in the scene that's nothing but the two of them riffing.
  • Coitus Ensues: Lacey picks up Danny, takes him to bed and they make love.
  • Cool Old Guy: Al Czervik. Ty acts the part, but is in his late 30's at the most.
  • Dance Party Ending: Right after the page quote.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Carl and Ty.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The film initially focuses on Danny and his need to earn enough money to attend college, but once the club members show up, they take over the film with their own plots and Danny's story becomes just a part of the film.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Happened to Danny over the course of shooting due to the excellent improv material that was generated.
    • Tony got it even worse. The original shooting script cast him as the second male lead and fleshed his character out considerably (being an inner city kid who embraces a working class life in contrast to Danny's angst over college), but it all got cut in favor of the adult stars.
    • Happens to Chase's character Ty, in the sequel.
  • Don't Think, Feel: Ty's method of teaching, yet he drops his own club.
    Ty: Be the ball.
  • Down to the Last Play: The match and the end of the movie is decided by the last putt on the final hole.
  • Drugs Are Bad: "You take drugs, Danny?" "Every day." "Good. Then what's your problem?" "I don't know..."
    • Bowdlerized in an NBC re-airing of the movie in the early 1980s, where Danny answered "No" after Ty asked him if he took drugs.
  • Drugs Are Good: The uncensored version, see above.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Rodney Dangerfield as Al Czervik.
  • Everything Explodes Ending: Carl attempts to take the Gopher out once and for all by rigging its tunnel system with plastic explosives. The Gopher survives, but the shock of the explosions help Danny win the golf match at the end.
  • Evil Old Folks: Judge Smails.
  • Evil Stole My Faith: One of the club members (who happens to be a bishop) has his perfect game of golf (in the middle of a raging storm) ruined by a single bad putt, turns to curse the heavens, and is being struck by lightning immediately. The next day, he's shown as a drunken mess proclaiming that there is no God. To top it off, he has a Beard of Sorrow after one day.
  • Exact Words:
    "What's that sign say?"
    "No bare feet."
  • Gender Flip: Meta example. The part of Joey was originally written for a boy but transportation captain Hank Scelza suggested his granddaughter, Minerva Scelza for the role because she was a tomboy. Minerva improvised the part where she spins around while trying to carry Al Czervik's bag.
  • Golden Snitch: In the final game, Al changes the bet at the last minute to focus entirely on the putt, making the rest of the game pointless (if he hadn't, the game would have been a tie).
  • Groin Attack: Czervik accidentally nails Smails right on the bullseye with a golf ball.
    Czervik: "I shoulda yelled 'two'!"
  • Grumpy Old Man: Judge Smails, though he does cheer up when he's at the yacht club. For a little while, at least...
  • Hanging Judge: Judge Smails, played for laughs.
    "I've sent men younger than [Danny] to the gas chamber. I felt I owed it to them."
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: After Czervik asks Ty to be his partner for the match against Judge Smails, Smails tries to persuade Ty to decline by pointing out how he and Ty's father spent years together in school, the war, and at the club building the establishment to what it is today. Once he's done, Ty agrees to be Czervik's partner and reveals to Smails that his father never actually liked him.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Inverted. People freak out on seeing what appears to be feces floating in the pool (it's actually a Baby Ruth candy bar). While cleaning the pool in a Hazmat Suit, Carl finds the candy bar and eats it. Smails' wife takes this the wrong way. Of course, given that the candy bar had been floating in chlorinated water, it might not have been safe to eat anyway.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ty regularly requests that Danny caddy for him and is happy to chat with and give advice to the lad while they're on the course. He even lets Danny take a few shots himself.
  • Killer Gopher
    • Wait. The gopher never kills anybody. (off-screen THWACK) Okay, except for that guy.
  • Idle Rich: Ty probably takes the cake. He owns a few lumberyards but doesn't seem to know where all of them are, doesn't bother cashing checks he receives because he's already rich enough that he doesn't need them, and spends all day playing golf to amuse himself.
  • Jewish Smartass: Al is a brash fellow, and a walking borscht belt stereotype whose wealth is rivaled by his smart mouth; he is implied to be Jewish himself when he makes a quip to an Asian golfer telling the latter "don't tell 'em you're Jewish".
  • Large Ham: Ted Knight as Judge Smails, who makes Police Academy's Captain Harris look subtle by comparison.
    (Smails to Danny when seeing the latter in bed with Lacey): "OHH-HOOOOOOOO! YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUU!"
    (Smalls to Al when the latter says he might buy the club): "BUY?!?! BUSHWOOD?!?!? YOU-HOO-HOO?!?!? ".
  • Likes Older Women: Carl likes to ogle the older lady golfers.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Danny is the eldest of nine brothers and sisters.
    • It is implied that the D'Annunzio's might also be a larger family given the need to have three kids, one of them maybe fifteen, working at Bushwood.
  • Meaningful Name: Lacey Underall.
  • Mistaken for Masturbating: Carl Spackler ... until the camera pans out and reveals that he's washing golf balls.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Danny and Lacey are under a bedsheets that fall to their waists when they're making love.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Beeper. He's not evil, but he often ignores his patient's needs to play a round of golf.
  • Mr. Imagination: Carl spends a great deal of time in daydreams about becoming a Masters champion.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lacey Underall, again.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Danny becomes attracted to Lacey at the Fourth of July banquet. Maggie then informs him of her reputation, but this only makes Danny become even more attracted to Lacy.
  • Never My Fault: The Judge throws his golf club in a fit of rage, and ends up hitting a woman knocking her unconscious. Danny takes the blame (to suck up to Smails) by offering the excuse that the grip on Smails' club was worn down; despite going along with this, Smails offers to pay for the damage he caused. Later, when Al drops the anchor from his yacht, smashing the Judge's sailboat, he exclaims: "Hey, you scratched my anchor!"
  • Nice to the Waiter: One of Al's defining characteristics is that he tips frequently and obscenely high. Smails, on the other hand, tips Danny a whole quarter.
  • Nouveau Riche: Al Czervik.
  • Oh, Crap!: Al, after he drops his anchor right through Smails's boat. A fisherman also has this reaction to Al's huge yacht bearing down upon him while he's out on the water.
  • Oireland: Maggie O'Hooligan is an Irish exchange student working at the club for the summer and has a thick accent.
  • One-Book Author: Serves as such for most of the cast members:
    • John F. Barmon Jr. (Spaulding Smails) who now works as a realtor.
    • Dr. Dow (AKA Tsung-I Dow) who played Mr. Wang, considering that he was not an actor.
    • Elle magazine editor-in-chief Robbie Marshall who, along with two half-sisters, were extras.
    • Debi Frank who played Kathleen Noonan became this.
  • One Judge to Rule Them All: Whatever the official rules are for qualifying for the Bushwood Caddy Scholarship, it's clear that the only criteria that really matters is whether or not Judge Smails likes you, which is why Danny spends much of the film sucking up to him. During the finale, Smails flat out tells Danny that if he plays as Al's substitute in the big match, he can kiss the scholarship goodbye. Danny plays anyway, and it's implied that Al compensates Danny for his loss after the match (possibly out of his winnings from the match).
  • Outrun the Fireball: What the gopher has to do when Carl sets off the explosives throughout the tunnel complex. The gopher makes it.
  • The Pornomancer: Lacey Underall, again.
  • Pregnancy Scare: Maggie has one when her period is late after sleeping with Danny. He offers to marry her, but she refuses on grounds that it might not be his. She's later shown dancing happily after she turns out not to be pregnant after all.
  • Putting the Pee in Pool: Subverted. When a child throws a chocolate bar into the pool, everyone assumes that it is a large turd, causing a major overreaction from everyone. Nevertheless, it's one of the most memorable instances of this trope.
  • Really Gets Around: Lacey Underall, yet again.
  • Samus Is a Girl: While some keen-eyed reviewers may have noticed before based on her voice, the pool scene can come as a chock Joey, the youngest and smallest D'Annunzio suddenly takes off her ever-present baseball cap, suddenly Letting Her Hair Down and giving a better view of her face, and then takes off her shirt to reveal a girls swimsuit beneath.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Judge Smails.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Carl actually does this twice— once when the bishop gets struck by lightning after his Rage Against the Heavens, and the other when he reduces Bushwood to a smoldering wreck in his attempt to kill the gopher.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: When Ty gives Lacey a massage.
  • Shout-Out: The sound effects Ty makes while putting seem to be those of The Six Million Dollar Man.
    • The epic music during the rainstorm golf game is lifted from The Ten Commandments (specifically, the "burning bush" scene).
  • Slippery Swimsuit: During the caddy pool party, one guy gets his trunks yanked off (if one looks closely, he's wearing skin-tone briefs underneath), and a girl ends up losing her bikini top.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs: Used as the film's tagline, no less.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Evidently, "Rat Farts" is the Mighty Smiter's trigger phrase.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Lacey smokes a cigarette in bed after she and Danny have sex.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Animal House. In fact, the film was pitched as Animal House in a country club. Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney co-wrote both films.
  • Spoiled Brat: Spaulding Smails, who doesn't even want to be golfing to start (he wanted to go play tennis), but his dad makes him anyway.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Even though he's supposed to be the protagonist, Danny's story arc is quickly overshadowed by the antics of his wacky co-stars (both in-universe and in real life).
  • Status Cell Phone: Al Czervik is shown to be eccentric/filthy rich right from the start. He has a telephone right in his golf bag, which he answers while out on the course. This was not a typical "brick" phone, but from what we could see it was more like a typical 1970s desk phone, complete with an acoustic ringing bell and a coiled handset cord.
  • Stealth Pun: Of the musical variety: Kenny Loggins's song "Make the Move" plays during the sex scene between Danny and Lacey. "Make the move", indeed.
  • The Stoner: Carl is working on a hybrid of marijuana and turf grass, that can be used for both putting and smoking. He shares some with Ty.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The sequel. It's typical for the follow-up to a successful film to try to recapture what made the original a hit, but Caddyshack II went to extremes, with having another theme by Kenny Loggins just the beginning. And it's not just having a similar plot or new characters filling the same roles as those of the original, but the sequel has Suspiciously Similar Substitutes for many of the first film's scenes and gags too.
  • Those Two Guys: Moose and Rocko, Al's friends who help look for Smails' checkbook at the end of the film.
  • Title Drop: Brian Doyle-Murray, who curiously co-wrote the film, speaks the title when he answers the phone in his office, which is in the Bushwood Caddy Shack (the place where the club's caddies hang out while waiting for golfers in need of a caddy).
  • Too Many Halves: In the second movie Jack says his mother was "half Jewish, half English, half Spanish," going on to explain that "she was a big woman."
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Ty and Lacey.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Al Czervik. He throws money around free as a bird, and is quite happy to donate some of his winnings to Danny so he can go to college.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Judge Smails describes his niece Lacey Underall's sexual varietism to Danny:
    "My niece is the kind of girl who has a certain... zest of living."
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Smails losing the match ultimately stems from his first line in the movie - an order to his groundskeeping staff to do something about the gopher.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Spaulding Smails, the Judge's grandson. His very first scene shows that he thinks a high cardiovascular sport like tennis is less of a risk to his asthma than golf.
  • Vanity License Plate: The license plate on Al Czervik's car is CZERVIK.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Danny and Tony frequently trade barbs with each other and even get physical on occasion, but when Danny plays in the match at the end, Tony supports him and celebrates after Danny sinks the winning putt.
  • Vapor Wear: Some of Lacey's outfits leave very little to the imagination, intentionally.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Judge Smails is christening his new yacht, when Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) shows up in his much larger boat. He then shoves his driver out of the way, put its engines into high gear, and tries to park near Smails' party, causing much damage (and hilarity) in the process.
    Al: Hey, Smails! My dinghy's bigger than your whole boat!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Danny's numerous siblings are seen in the first three minutes of the movie but disappear for the rest of the movie.
    • The head greenskeeper, Carl's boss (and the one who assigns him to get rid of the gopher) only has two scenes then just vanishes.
  • Wild Teen Party: The Caddy Tournament after-party at the club's pool is spectacularly unruly.
  • Wormsign: Well, Gophersign anyway — and it gets pretty ridiculous when the gopher starts pushing around pin flags, and then makes them disappear into the ground.
  • When I Was Your Age...: After Tony makes a crack about the weight of Czervik's golf bag, Czervik tells him that when he was Tony's age he used to carry fifty pound bags of ice up several flights of stairs. Unimpressed, Tony asks what that has to do with Czervik's bag being so heavy.
  • Wrong Restaurant: When Chandler Young meets with Tom Everett in Caddyshack II, the latter is driving a food truck and the meeting is conducted under the guise of a food order. Young orders two high class sandwiches and Everett replies "Don't have it" both times. He then makes something of his own choosing.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: In a visual example, Danny's bicycle ride to the country club carries him from working-class to upper-crust neighborhoods. The transition is marked by an overhead shot of him passing through a railroad crossing.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Judge Smails to Danny when he catches him with his niece.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Caddyshack II


Gaggle of Noonan Siblings

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