How Long Does Bill Murray Spend in Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day

It seems like almost every day someone approaches me and asks, “How long did Bill Murray spend trapped in the film Groundhog Day?” And I always say, “Hmmm, that's not the most timely of questions, but I'll do my best to answer it.”

Actually, Groundhog Day was on TBS yet again and a wave of Geek OCD hit me. I was compelled to count the days and find just how many days Phil Connors spent in Punxsutawney. According to Harold Ramis, on the Groundhog Day DVD commentary, Bill Murray spent 10 years trapped in his own little corner of hell... Punxsutawney (I kid Tawney, I'm sure you're lovely). But this seems like an arbitrary number. We can do better than that.

There are, at least, 36 separate days shown in the movie including his multiple death scenes. There could be more, but it's hard to verify if some moments are simply later in the same day or an entirely different day. Additionally, in the scene where Bill Murray revealed he's a god, he stated, “I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.” Of those the movie only showed electrocution, so that brings it to a base line of 42 accountable days. However, there were many days not shown. We know from the scene when Billy Murray and Andy MacDowell are throwing playing cards into a top hat that it would take, “Six months. Four to five hours a day, and you'd be an expert.” So, we have a bare minimum of six months.

In the first half of the movie, the only other truly time consuming event was the the robbery. Let's give him at least a month to plan a proper bank robbery and memorize when wind gusts. This brings us to roughly 256 days by the time he decides he wants to be a better man. However, becoming a better man is the most time consuming part of Phil's journey! He needs to become an expert pianist, an ice sculptor, and learns French. The tough part about this is that is that no one learns these things at the same rate. He could be a very old piano wunderkind after all. Or it could take him 600 years to become a decent ice sculptor. For the sake of argument let's say it takes an average person 3 years to learn to play the piano. It also would take an average person 3 years to become a professional ice sculptor. However, we don't know how good Phil was at either... maybe, he just learned one song, or just how to sculpt Andy MacDowell's face. But for the sake of argument, let's say three years apiece. And he cannot do both at the same time because an ice sculpture is 8 hours of work, and he only has a small window each day to get a piano lesson. Learning French which is also subjective. It's safe to say it would take him, at least, 2 years to learn enough French to read French poetry.

Which puts us at the grand total of 3176 repeated Groundhog days, or 453 weeks, or 105 months, or 8.7 years. Precisely, 8 years, 8 months, and 16 days. So, in the end Harold Ramis was right and I wasted a Bill Murray length of my time. But I made the hash marks, and I was going to do the math!

Groundhog Day Update
Harold Ramis responded to this blog. You can see the original response at Heeb Magazine or here at Wolf Gnards. Harold Ramis speaks out on Groundhog Day timeline.

  • Nicki
    Comment from: Nicki
    06/17/09 @ 11:06:15 am

    wow this whole post is one of the reasons why you’re awesome

  • A Renowned Harvard Statistician
    Comment from: A Renowned Harvard Statistician
    06/17/09 @ 12:12:27 pm

    You are making a very basic mistake, one which we professional nerds have long since moved past, and that is that the daily window in which a person may take piano lessons is widened considerably by the application of money. As you no doubt recall, Mr. Murray gains entrance to the piano teacher’s home at the expense of a young pupil by offering an incomensurate sum. Therefore, he could obtain significantly longer than standard lessons. Therefore, he could master the piano in seven months. If he and the piano teacher made out during these lessons, he would also simultaneously be learning French.

  • Closet Atheist
    Comment from: Closet Atheist
    07/21/09 @ 09:00:55 am

    “the daily window in which a person may take piano lessons is widened considerably by the application of money.”

    BUT there is only so much a person can learn in a day, and once that limit has been reached any further time investment produces diminishing returns on the investment.

    I can tell you from personal experience, after 2 to 3 hours on the piano all you’re doing is rehashing your mistakes instead of making genuine progress.

  • Ryan
    Comment from: Ryan
    08/16/09 @ 09:03:30 pm

    Actually the most obvious oversight in this article is the presumption that you cannot learn piano, French and ice sculpting and the same time.

  • Jaxtapose
    Comment from: Jaxtapose
    08/16/09 @ 09:13:05 pm

    There’s a rule of thumb: It takes 10,000 hours of operation, on average, to become an expert at something. So, at 8 hours a day, it comes to about 3.5 years to become an expert. This would be expanded by the need to have some time off to do something else - like pursue love interests, attempt to kill himself, or just do nothing.

    In the real world most people work 231 days a year (sick leave, holidays and weekends). So, if Bill had a productivity level of the Average person it would take closer to 5.5 years to become an expert at something.

  • Bob
    Comment from: Bob
    08/16/09 @ 09:13:59 pm

    How many days would it really take for a normal person to go insane and become so desperately suicidal that he kills himself over and over again? I’m thinking there were many years repetition before Phil decides to kill himself. In the original draft of the script he goes through 10 000 repetitions (27 years).

  • kurt
    Comment from: kurt
    08/16/09 @ 09:15:09 pm

    Ice Sculpting is meant to be random. Surely he had the time and resources to master many, more useful, hobbies before taking on ice sculpting.

    While this does not tell you how long he was there, I am sure those three activities did not take up the majority of his time in the lovely town.

  • Jonathan
    Comment from: Jonathan
    08/16/09 @ 09:21:40 pm

    I agree with Ryan. I think it makes more sense to assume he learned ice sculpting, speaking French, and playing piano in the same time period. Students of all ages often learn multiple disciplines at the same time. I’d say three years rather than 8-9 to learn those activities. He couldn’t have spent more than 4-5 years stuck in the town because there were no visible effects of aging throughout the movie. Albeit, movies do make “mistakes.” Finally, I bet it wouldn’t take long for someone like him to begin contemplating suicide. He was already miserable–that was the point of the movie.

  • sucka
    Comment from: sucka
    08/16/09 @ 09:23:12 pm

    i’m pretty sure it was just one day

  • April
    Comment from: April
    08/16/09 @ 09:26:42 pm

    I was literally debating this with some of my friends yesterday!! Your article is lovely but your only tabulating the things that you KNOW happened. Your calculations dont include days where he simply doesnt do ANYTHING and is just bored. Also, when he first realizes what is going on I’m not sure he would turn directly to suicide….there had to be some down time allowing for depression

  • Tom Buckner
    Comment from: Tom Buckner
    08/16/09 @ 09:27:25 pm

    I think the 10-year figure Ramis gives is a lowball, actually. Phil also learns endless details about everyone in town, and fills his head up with literature. His wild hedonism phase (going to the movies dressed as Clint Eastwood, etc.) probably lasted several years until it cloyed. Becoming truly proficient at piano (considered one of the most challenging instruments) realistically would generally take nearer ten years than five, unless we assume Phil became truly obsessed with it.

    I find the 27 years mentioned from the original script much more believable.

  • Andrewh
    Comment from: Andrewh
    08/16/09 @ 10:01:23 pm

    Jonathon: “He couldn’t have spent more than 4-5 years stuck in the town because there were no visible effects of aging throughout the movie.” Moron - he was repeating the same day - he could spend a 1000 years doing this and not age a day. If it was simply his body being shifted back in time, his corpse would have done the repeating after he killled himself the first time.

    Seriously Jonathon, you need to go to a hospital immediately. You’re brain is severely damaged.

  • David Mayman
    Comment from: David Mayman
    08/16/09 @ 10:08:54 pm

    Guys….guys…you totally left out masturbating. You know how many years we’ve all lost to that? This leads me to double the amount we came to, at least…

  • Cober
    Comment from: Cober
    08/16/09 @ 10:43:07 pm

    The groundhog legend is you get 6 more weeks of winter if the groundhog sees his shadow. I thought that Bill Murry got 6 weeks of the same day - which is 42 days.

  • Cober
    Comment from: Cober
    08/16/09 @ 10:44:20 pm

    The story is that when the groundhog sees his shadow, you get 6 weeks more winter. I thought that Bill Murry got 6 weeks of the same day, which is 42 days.

  • francis
    Comment from: francis
    08/16/09 @ 10:45:19 pm

    Masturbating? why the need? he may have been forcing himself on whatever(yes, does not have to be just females, of any age, but he may think of others… the tree? ) around, but that becomes boring too, and turns to trying the hard way of courting

  • jeff
    Comment from: jeff
    08/16/09 @ 10:51:41 pm

    It seems we’ve overlooked the jeopardy scene. He had memorized the questions so he knew them… before they were asked! How many years of reruns did that take!?

  • William
    Comment from: William
    08/16/09 @ 10:51:59 pm

    This is heaven, how I wish I can do anything and learn everything and not be limited by time, death and the law?

  • Ken
    Comment from: Ken
    08/16/09 @ 11:04:08 pm

    There is one unmentioned factor that would severely increase the time it would take to learn any of those things. With each of the tutors, or help aides, Murphy would have to start from ground zero each day with any supporting character needed to achieve the goal. So, learning French wouldn’t be only a matter of getting tutored by a prof each day. It would also be going to the university, signing up with the registrar, buying any necessary literature, and then taking lessons. And each day, he’d need to convince that person to start at a differnt point. Or for any activity that required large sums of money, he’d have pull off that heist each day–reducing the amount of time he would have to spend on learning each new thing.

    So what may take someone 10 000 hours to become an expert may take Murphy significantly more time.

  • raj
    Comment from: raj
    08/16/09 @ 11:14:45 pm

    haha. just saw this movie yesterday and loved it!
    watch it again with directors commentary and he said that the original plan was 10,000 years.
    but was i was wondering was what would happen if bill didnt fall asleep? meaning he broke the pencil and stared at it until it 6am?

    great article by the way and thanks digg for the link.

  • Anonymous
    Comment from: Anonymous
    08/16/09 @ 11:18:50 pm

    Guys I think you all forget–

    He has an unlimited supply of money for himself, since he knows he’ll repeat the same day, he has no stress of needing to get a job or really any responsibilities at all.

    This makes it much easier to do anything and enjoy it. You could learn a language, piano, etc within the span of a few months (or at least a considerably shorter time frame) if you had unlimited resources and zero responsibility.

  • s2
    Comment from: s2
    08/16/09 @ 11:19:08 pm

    this might have already been mentioned, but what about all the time he took to learn everything about everyone in the town and when certain events happen at the precise time.. that would take an incredible amount of time

  • james
    Comment from: james
    08/16/09 @ 11:32:24 pm

    you forget, he he also learned medicine

  • VamPyroX
    Comment from: VamPyroX
    08/17/09 @ 01:58:46 am

    Well, he didn’t just learn one song. He played a song at the teacher’s house. He also played two songs at the town party.

    As for the ice sculpture, he didn’t only sculpt her face. He did a different one with a chainsaw for the whole town to see. The one he did of her face was actually a snow sculpture, not an ice sculpture.

    Let’s not forget… the Jeopardy televisions how. How long did it take him to memorize all the answers?

    How long did it take him to memorize the lives of everyone around town? How long did it take him to memorize the exact timing of what would happen in the restaurant?

    What about the old man who died? How many times did he try to pamper the old man and then watch him die?

    Not only did he learn French. He also learned another language. (When he leaves in the morning, he speaks to the big guy who entered the hallway.)

    So, if we add more time for those things I listed above… that brings the total from 8 years to 10 years. (Maybe more.)

  • tom_mandory
    Comment from: tom_mandory
    08/17/09 @ 02:30:40 am

    This comment below is why you chould be allowed to comment on your own article.

  • NK
    Comment from: NK
    08/17/09 @ 02:40:59 am

    In an earlier version of the script, his big, successful day was on his 1,000th birthday. So…that answers that.

  • StayPuft
    Comment from: StayPuft
    08/17/09 @ 02:41:35 am

    Just this morning i was wondering how many days Bill…


  • Jon
    Comment from: Jon
    08/17/09 @ 02:54:43 am

    I can confirm that he spent 1 day there. The only way the answer could be anything different is if you were in his timeline.

  • James
    Comment from: James
    08/17/09 @ 03:05:45 am

    Would it really take that long to remember all the questions and answers on a single episode of Jeopardy? I’m pretty sure you could do it after 5 or 6 watches.

    Plus, with a few hours each on piano, sculpting, french, and card-chucking, you’d be proficient in all four. During the downtime in between, you’d visit the same places over and over, and would inevitably pick up knowledge about everyone in town.

    His character is an intelligent man. 10 years is enough time for him to learn to do those things.

  • Joe
    Comment from: Joe
    08/17/09 @ 03:36:04 am

    I didn’t bother to read all the other comments, so sorry if this has been mentioned before.

    Your answer is far too precise here. You can’t say that it would take him about three years to learn to play piano and then have your final answer include a specific number of days. A real answer probably shouldn’t even include a specific number of months. I’d say a reasonable answer would probably be 10±2 years, or something in that ballpark.

  • buddhistMonkey
    Comment from: buddhistMonkey
    08/17/09 @ 04:17:38 am

    There’s no way that an adult with no musical experience can become an expert jazz pianist in three years. At the charity ball, Phil is heard embellishing the melody and improvising in a way that reveals a deep musical understanding. My conservative estimate for an adult to attain that level of skill is ten years minimum. (Children are a different story, because they learn at a faster rate than adults, but even someone like Eldar, who was a child prodigy and is now one of the world’s finest jazz pianists, took 5-6 years to reach Phil’s caliber of playing.)

    That ten-year estimate doesn’t include Phil’s other “phases,” like the suicide phase, the card-tossing phase, the hedonism phase, or his learning the life story of seemingly everyone in Punxsutawney, a town with a population over 6,000. And while it’s possible that Phil studied French and ice sculpting concurrently with his piano lessons, either pursuit would greatly decrease his available practice time. With all of that in mind, I’m casting my vote with those who assert that the script’s original estimate of 27 years is the most believable.

  • Jason
    Comment from: Jason
    08/17/09 @ 04:21:44 am

    § Jon said on : 08/17/09 @ 02:54
    I can confirm that he spent 1 day there. The only way the answer could be anything different is if you were in his timeline.

    I *love* this answer.

  • Johan
    Comment from: Johan
    08/17/09 @ 05:28:59 am

    You’re not getting it, people. He learns an almost infinite amount, in daily, start-from-square-one bites. Think of all he learned that the movie did not show! The point of the movie is that loving truly and well is the hardest thing to learn. The days are numberless, verging on infinite.

  • Juan Carr
    Comment from: Juan Carr
    08/17/09 @ 06:47:35 am

    Not to be awkward, but..

    Language Barriers:
    He would’nt have had to learn any language in it’s entirety, he’d only need to learn whatever parts of each language for each situation he came across (ie. one would’nt learn the entire dialect, just to come across the same person doing and saying the same thing every day - there are only so many directions a conversation would go - subject to your own knowledge of their language and their knowledge of yours - besides, who’d want to stand chatting all day when you’ve got a broadcast to do, a woman to chat up and other stuff besides..)

    As with the piano - you’d only learn the basics with the piano teacher, then play only certain songs (it’d take a lot less time to learn a particular piece, than it would take to learn to read music, then play the piece - it’s a similar to the language barrier problem above)

    The same applies for Ice Sculpture, First Aid and other skills that he ‘aquires’ in the movie.

    Being in TV - memorising some kind of script, for each situation for ongoing daily routines would’nt be much of a problem either.

    Great post by the way.

  • Bob
    Comment from: Bob
    08/17/09 @ 07:16:27 am

    “I can confirm that he spent 1 day there. The only way the answer could be anything different is if you were in his timeline.”

    We were in his timeline. Imagine how boring the movie would have been if we had been in anybody else’s timeline.

    Also, to the author, your 8.7 year guess is completely arbitrary. It’s not even a good low ball estimate. It could be one fourth that. More likely it was several times that. I think you attempted to choose something close to the 10 years specified on the DVD commentary, but we don’t even know if Ramis meant 10 years as in something that takes 10 years, or 10 years as in 10 more years before cold fusion, or jet packs, or AI as smart as a human. It could have been a complete guess on the part of Ramis.

  • action_ben
    Comment from: action_ben
    08/17/09 @ 07:21:52 am

    @Ken - ooh, good point!

  • NotTimothyGeithner
    Comment from: NotTimothyGeithner
    08/17/09 @ 07:24:40 am

    He also had to have time to learn about everyone in town. Some more intimately than others. How did he know that one guy painted toy soldiers?

  • jon
    Comment from: jon
    08/17/09 @ 07:26:54 am

    great bill you driving with dog

  • Maja
    Comment from: Maja
    08/17/09 @ 07:40:51 am

    Never thought about time in this movie, thought I do love the movie. Great post ; )

  • Ryan Breen's Admirer
    Comment from: Ryan Breen's Admirer
    08/17/09 @ 07:54:09 am

    Fantastic work here, but remember the rates of change relative to Murray’s unique learning abilities cannot be linear. You may have to use a little more calculus to refine your results.
    Also, what about the time it takes him to learn how to save a life? He saved that bum quite a few times before he lost interest. Unless you are assuming he knew CPR before the movies inception and in that case my inquiry is withdrawn….

  • Robart
    Comment from: Robart
    08/17/09 @ 08:02:33 am

    If he spent that many years in the same day (10 years to 1,000 years) how well would he be able to cope when he finally “got out"?

    I think he would be batty.

  • Johnny
    Comment from: Johnny
    08/17/09 @ 08:27:14 am

    I agree with Robart’s sentiment. If it was 10 years or 10,000 years, imagine the insanity! That movie wouldn’t have been a comedy. His reaction at “coming out of it” at the end of the movie would’ve been far more intense than hopping back in bed with Andi & snuggling. The ending is biggest flaw in the film. He didn’t learn “just enough to get by” - the whole idea was that he slowly, over time & trial & error, became a good enough person for Andi to love. You can’t cheat your way into that. So, the 10k+ year estimate is probably accurate, making the fact that he DIDN’T go & STAY insane unlikely. Side Note: Imagine a very very dark version of this film that explores the days we DIDN’T see. The days he came in & shot up the diner, killed Andi & threw her body on a compost heap, & set fire to all the GroundHog’s Day revelers.

    Happy Days!

  • Steve
    Comment from: Steve
    08/17/09 @ 08:30:57 am

    @Ryan Breen’s Admirer

    He didn’t save the bum. The whole point of that part was that he couldn’t, and it was implied that this was one of the reasons he became a better person. I’ve no doubt that he still did what he could to help him every morning, but the movie flat out tells you that the old man dies every single day.

  • Ken
    Comment from: Ken
    08/17/09 @ 08:49:32 am

    I think the movie would be pretty shallow if he actually lived through 1000 years as someone above said. Any high number like that would actually be pretty depressing.

    Think about it. He’s in his 40s at that point? When the cycle stopped and he made it to the next day, he had maybe 50 years left if he’s very lucky? That’s no time at all compared to 1000 years. That’s the most depressing thing about some people here projecting anything over 500 years.

  • Mike Hunt
    Comment from: Mike Hunt
    08/17/09 @ 09:03:23 am

    You took the time to figure this crap out?Wow you are a loser.

  • saddet
    Comment from: saddet
    08/17/09 @ 09:04:51 am

    I think the core issue here, that nobody has addressed yet, is in the following passage:

    “Groundhog Day was on TBS yet again”

    Although I have no solid figures in this regard I’ve found it to be the ultimate irony that a movie about being stuck in one day seems to be on tv every single day. In fact, I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this movie. Based on the comments above it seems that the majority of the posters on this thread have seen this film more than once, if not many more.

    Thus, my question is this: Is it Bill Murray who is trapped repeating the same day or is it us trapped watching the same movie until we know every detail?

    A recurring argument here regards how long it would take him to remember certain events - the answers on jeopardy, the bank robbery, the details of people’s lives. How many times did it take to watch the movie to remember all of these facts? I’m still in the 7-12 years camp for total time spent, but I don’t think anybody watched the film more than 10 times to remember the various plot details and I don’t think it would take too long to memorize a single day of jeopardy.

    Furthermore, for the sake of discussion, I postulate that the destructive ‘phase’ lasted far longer than in the film. Certainly, stealing Phil and driving into the quarry could not be a severe aberration from a pattern of criminal minded activity. I imagine that this is more like playing Grand Theft Auto where you go around stealing cars and shooting random people in addition to performing missions to reach the ultimate conclusion.

    Finally, although I appreciate the attempts by the original poster to quantify this, I believe any attempts are ultimately futile and beyond the realm of human understanding.

  • BarbarianCoug
    Comment from: BarbarianCoug
    08/17/09 @ 09:17:23 am

    Another question, I wonder what happened to his character on February 3? Is that the day he goes insane? After ten years or 27 years of repeating exactly the same steps ~ what now?

  • detarame
    Comment from: detarame
    08/17/09 @ 09:20:32 am

    I have heard the original number was imagined to be something like 10,000 years. Of course, that’s depressing as hell, but morbidity is hardly mutually exclusive from comedy.

  • Laurie Pink
    Comment from: Laurie Pink
    08/17/09 @ 09:28:09 am

    Another aspect of Groundhog Day that I like is the thought of what happens AFTER.

    How does a change of either 10 or 27 (I think once a sufficiently surreal hunk of time has passed the specific year count becomes academic) years achieved - to the outside observer - affect a person?

    He’s had an enormous wodge of life handed to him for free, and with it an enforced zen-style attitude, as there was never the option to stop living (think of the master of calm he could potentially have become). Yet, to everyone around him, he appears to have simply changed overnight.

    That’s got to be a bit weird, hasn’t it? Plus, time suddenly passes for him again, which, however much he has longed for it, he won’t be used to; there are consequences to actions. After ten-odd years without, must suddenly be something you may need to ease yourself into again.

    What would a sequel be like? My fear of such a thing being made and ruining a perfectly good stand-alone film by making it part of a series is tempered by my curiosity regarding the many ways a sequel would be approached.

    Could it repeat the format, but have it happen to someone who actually encounters Phil living his now-linear life? We could see some of his world post-groundhog, later on down the line, and intersect it with a Groundhog happening to a new character.

    The potential for lovely conversation with Murray’s character is a wonder to muse on, as he could be regularly consulted by the n00b (sorry. There was no need for that sort of language, there), offering up purposely obscure/unhelpful information, depending on how he’s approached.

    “Which day are you on now?”
    “100 - I think I’m going mad.”
    “Hah! 100! Come back in 900 days time, my friend.”
    “That’s what you said two months ago”

    (etc, etc, only better)

    Or, as Barbariancoug says; maybe he just goes mad.
    Though that’s less of a fun film idea.

  • DocNasty
    Comment from: DocNasty
    08/17/09 @ 09:31:02 am

    I love posts like this.

    Nobody has taken into account this yet.. maybe we can get a revision on the 8.7 year thing.. considering his suicidal tendancies, if he killed himself a 1000 times, he would have woke up, and tried to kill himself.. so, there could be 3 years worth of him only spending 3 or 4 hours a day, before he killed himself and his day reset.

    Just a thought. Awesome post tho!

  • Adam
    Comment from: Adam
    08/17/09 @ 09:38:22 am

    No No No you’ve got i t all wrong

    As an existentialist… I say, there was no time, everything he experienced never happened. And the story, whatever I’m talking about was neither good or bad.

  • Danny
    Comment from: Danny
    08/17/09 @ 09:40:22 am

    Doesn’t take a mathematician to figure this one out. 1 day!

  • Jeff
    Comment from: Jeff
    08/17/09 @ 10:21:05 am

    You forgot the most important part of that whole thing. He slipped into a deep depression, and without medication or treatment his depression cycle could last years. If he was at the point where he was killing himself daily, I would think he was at rock bottom. Better tack on at least 3 more years.

  • Jonathan Kearns
    Comment from: Jonathan Kearns
    08/17/09 @ 11:26:22 am

    I love this article and the only way I can pick fault with it is the assumption that every day he lives in this period is 24 hours long.
    You have to firstly deduct six hours for each of the 3176 days as he always wakes up at 6am and a lot of the days end prematurely when he dies.
    An estimation from myself (but with whoever wrote this doing the hard work) I’d say he spent about 6 years on groundhod day.

    I’m sorry if someones already mentioned this but I was too lazy to read all the comments but repetition is very appropriate for this thread.

  • Scott Duncan
    Comment from: Scott Duncan
    08/17/09 @ 11:28:26 am

    What interests me in this movie is what eventually happens: he moves from doing things that gratify himelf to things that benefit others, using those gratification skills to do so. That, of course, is what snaps him out of the cycle when he achieves real love for Andy MacDowell.

    But what fascinates me isn’t the ultimate “do good for others” message in the movie, but just how long it takes for him to come around to that position and how, almost accidental, it seems that he does. He tries everything else, including various forms of suicide, before just deciding to live more proactively.

    I wonder if there is any intended message in that as well as the overall “do good” one?

  • Pattricia
    Comment from: Pattricia
    08/17/09 @ 11:31:33 am

    Great Post, and quite mind boggling! So many opinions and calculations that most seem to be feasible in this movie ‘quandry’. I’m probably most amazed at the amount of time that I spent reading every single post …… Time that I will never get to relive as opposed to the seeming ‘Eternity” that Phil was given to better himself. I must confess to being a bit jealous of the time the character is given and the opportunities he was given to redeem himself…

  • a closet geek
    Comment from: a closet geek
    08/17/09 @ 11:51:38 am

    “He couldn’t have spent more than 4-5 years stuck in the town because there were no visible effects of aging throughout the movie.”

    There would have been no physical effects of aging because he was re-living the SAME DAY over and over. His age reset right along with everyone else. Just the memories of the day prior remained. Bill’s character would have been there an eternity if he never learned his lesson.

  • Geoff H
    Comment from: Geoff H
    08/17/09 @ 12:02:01 pm

    Phil was a master piano player and musician by the end. The band was following his lead, and while they were local musicians they were obviously impressed with his ability to segue between music and lead them.

    I think the 10000 hour rule should be extrapolated to all skills at this level, with a 4-8 hour cap a day for productive learning (for the truly dedicated).

    He also read a lot of books, and the time he spent with everyone in town probably took a long time too.

    I prefer to think of him spending decades or hundreds of years (lifetimes) to become the great man he became from the petty man he was. :) This is more wishy than scientific though.

  • Mr. Groundhog
    Comment from: Mr. Groundhog
    08/17/09 @ 12:10:57 pm

    Realistically (not that the movie is realistic in any way mind you), most people would do all kinds of crap for a long time once they learned they were stuck in a moment in time. Rob a bank, boink every girl in town that you could, go to the next town and do the same thing (that alone would take decades), learn to fly a plane, drive a tank… with no consequences and unlimited time, most people would spend a lot of time doing a lot of things they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) normally do. Then after they’ve exhausted everything else maybe they’d learn to be a great person and go after the girl. Although I doubt it… eventually they would just go nuts. I’ve always loved the movie though.

  • James
    Comment from: James
    08/17/09 @ 12:28:36 pm

    I would have to go with the 10,000 mark as well. Let us examine his character to begin with. He is egotistical and self centered. He is set in his way because he is in his 40’s. The older you become the harder it is to change your ways.

    Something that a lot of people mentioned was his suicidal phase. If you could do anything without repricussion and have the ability to learn your body inside and out and what it’s limits were, I imagine you would learn to the uttmost. I am going to guess he died at least once everyday for 100 years at the very least. Eventually it would get boring and he would know how he could push it and not get hurt.

    As far as the other skills go, I imagine after he gives up on trying to make the woman love him, he decides to persue other things in life. Only after he is satisfied that he did everything he would want to ever know or learn how to do would he break this cycle. If you had infinite time you would probably try to gain infinite knowledge.

    Since he was intelligent he could have thought philosophically for years on ways to make himself better and then the human race better. After failing to come up with anything for a while he would then turn to playing with the pawns in his life.

    At this point everyone is a pawn because they will react the same way every time every day. He can learn to manipulate them to his will. Thus he is truly a god among mortals at this point.

    Part of his playing around with mortals eventually nets him the girl and he falls from power. I still think that the order of Milena to millions of years would be required to have the monumental change in personality experienced and the degree of knowledge learned.

    The happy figure is 8 years. The reality is probably between 10,000 - 1,000,000,000 years.

  • HD
    Comment from: HD
    08/17/09 @ 12:41:41 pm

    I find this all very interesting… But I feel as a time traveler it only took one night!

  • HD
    Comment from: HD
    08/17/09 @ 12:43:03 pm
  • Docevil
    Comment from: Docevil
    08/17/09 @ 01:07:14 pm

    kill me at burning man mate
    twit the pic

  • Dave
    Comment from: Dave
    08/17/09 @ 01:13:23 pm

    If he had all this money, couldn’t he:

    1) have hired three guys to swap in a finished ice sculpture while she was turned the other way?, and
    2) hire a guy to play piano off stage and just fake it

  • kryonik
    Comment from: kryonik
    08/17/09 @ 01:42:31 pm

    Quick question: what would happen if he pulled an all-nighter?

  • ground hog
    Comment from: ground hog
    08/17/09 @ 01:46:55 pm

    The perfect day wasn’t exactly a perfect day because if you remember, the piano teacher was giving a lesson to a student when Bill Murry walks into the studio. He gives the piano teacher a wad of cash and she kicks the kid out. So he screwed the kid in order to have his perfect day.

  • ground hog
    Comment from: ground hog
    08/17/09 @ 01:47:29 pm

    The perfect day wasn’t exactly a perfect day because if you remember, the piano teacher was giving a lesson to a student when Bill Murry walks into the studio. He gives the piano teacher a wad of cash and she kicks the kid out. So he screwed the kid in order to have his perfect day.

  • Morgan
    Comment from: Morgan
    08/17/09 @ 01:47:31 pm

    Well said Scott Duncan!
    I was just going to mention how I feel the storyline really relates to our imperfections as humans and how stuborn we can be, but you said it first (and better).
    Reading through all the the posts, it’s easy to see what people think most about: 50% concentrate on the benefits of having all this time at one’s disposal, perfecting skills, improving one level of wellbeing, enjoying a life with no responsibilities, etc. The other 50% go the other way, and underline boredom, depression, suicide and all the other logically horrible things about being stuck in the same 24 hours day after day.

    Murray’s character is an example of a person we all can relate to in some fashion and that makes him both frightening and hugely enjoyable at the same time.
    When I watch this great movie, I find it all too easy to imagine myself in his situation and to think of how hard it would be to do anything much different than he does it.

    Btw, being French, I’d like to mention a few things that have been missed in regards to the Jacque Brel poem:

    1) Murray’s accent is pretty obvious even though disguised in a low whispering murmur as he recites Jacques Brel’s poem. This tells me he didn’t work on his French for that long.

    2) His quote, however, is four lines specifically selected out of a three verse, 40 line each, long poem. I looked it up, I don’t actually know it by heart :-). This suggests he really got into seriously reading poetry and understanding it to better impress Rita.

    3) The lines he recites also have a doublemeaning in regards to his specific situation. Directly translated, it means:
    The girl that I will love
    will be like good wine
    that get’s a little better
    with each morning.

    Now that’s something I can relate to!

  • jeff29414
    Comment from: jeff29414
    08/17/09 @ 01:57:24 pm

    LOVE the movie and this discussion.

    Just want to propose an idea. Several people have mentioned that you can learn more than one skill at a time, but no one has postulated how to do this using some simple facts from the movie.

    He robs the armored car in the early morning - he has tons of money.
    1. He knows about the piano teacher, but maybe she isn’t the only one and maybe he goes to a music store and buys an electric piano (like the one he uses on stage) and practices throughout the days. A book store would also have books on reading music and other background information. He could also visit several venues to get more musical intuition - but this is a more esoteric thing to learn and would, realistically, take the longest.
    2. He goes to the book store and buys one of the many ‘learn a foreign language’ programs there and finds people around town to talk to or gets a tutor to help - he doesn’t need to go to college to learn French.
    3. The hardest would be the ice sculpture, but there are plenty of books on that and it mostly takes practice - he could buy basic lessons then practice all he wanted until he was ready for the next lesson.

    So - it would have been possible for him to learn all three at the same time - sharing time on each until the mistakes on one made him switch to another.

    Again - just an idea. Keep up the great ideas.

  • Me
    Comment from: Me
    08/17/09 @ 01:59:51 pm

    I think the whole thread is like debating what kind of saddle is best on a unicorn

  • jbug
    Comment from: jbug
    08/17/09 @ 02:04:11 pm

    the only thing we know he started from scratch was piano. he could have already known how to sculpt, throw cards, even speak some french. but i still think 10 years sounds about right.