Harold Ramis’ sports film ‘Caddyshack’ centers around Danny Noonan, who works at the Bushwood Country Club as a caddie to earn money for his college education. Regarded as one of the funniest sports films of all time, the movie progresses through the adventures of Danny and the people around him, whose lives are associated with the club in varying degrees.
As the comedy film offers several hilarious characters and their memorable tales, one can’t help but wonder about their origin and possible connections with reality. If you are curious to know whether the regulars of Bushwood and their stories are real, let us guide you through our findings!
Is Caddyshack a True Story?
Yes, ‘Caddyshack’ is based on a true story. Co-writer Brian Doyle-Murray wrote the film with Harold Ramis and Douglas Kenney based on his and his brother Ed Murray’s experiences as caddies. Brian and Ed had worked as caddies at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, in the state of Illinois. The film mainly covers the memories of Brian’s caddying years with characters hugely influenced by the people Brian met in and around the club. Co-writer and director Harold Ramis also worked as a caddy during his teenage years, which seemingly influenced the film’s storyline.
According to Ramis, the Noonan family is based on the six Murray brothers, including the protagonist Danny Noonan, whose character is inspired by Ed Murray. Ed started caddying at the age of 10 and later received a scholarship for his higher education, like Danny in the film. As per Bill Murray, brother of Brian and Ed, the brothers earned their tuition fees by working as caddies all summer in the club.
Numerous characters and incidents in the film are based on real-life figures and incidents the writers of the film encountered during their caddying years. The Haverkamps and Maggie O’Hooligan are a few characters that are also based on actual people. The character Lou draws inspiration from his namesake Indian Hill caddie master, who worked during the Murray brothers’ time at the club and gambled heavily, much like the character in the film.
In addition, the Baby Ruth candy bar scene is based on a real-life incident that happened at Brian’s high school. Even though the film is based on multiple events and figures, the cast members improvised numerous sequences. Several scenes were modified with the participation of the actors during the 11-week shoot of the film.
More than a golf movie, ‘Caddyshack’ is a satire that attempts to expose the elitism that was present in the country clubs during the writers’ caddying years. The class system at the Bushwood club in the film is apparently based on the social stratification witnessed by the Murrays at the Indian Hill Club. The film also dives deeper into the country clubs’ restrictions towards Jews, African-Americans, and Asians. This particular element is derived from co-writer and director Ramis’ own experiences as a Jewish boy who was restricted from the country-club life due to his religion.
‘Caddyshack’ is a brilliant satire that portrays the elitism and social stratification that were part of the country-club life, but in the apparel of a riotous narrative. The film’s highly engaging characters and stories are rooted in reality to bring out the nuances of the American culture of the 20th century.
Read More: Where Was Caddyshack Filmed?