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Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson ... see more see more... , Rick Moranis , Annie Potts , William Atherton , David Margulies , Steven Tash , Slavitza Jovan , Michael Ensign , Alice Drummond , Rhoda Gemignani , Ric Mancini , Frantz Turner , Larry Dilg , Winston May , Jennifer Runyon , Jordan Charney , Timothy Carhart , John Rothman , Tom McDermott , Roger Grimsby , Larry King , Joe Franklin , Casey Kasem , Murray Rubin , Danny Stone , Patty Dworkin , Jean Kasem , Frances E. Nealy , Sam Moses , Christopher Wynkoop , Tommy Hollis , Stanley Grover , James Hardie , Nancy Kelly , Carol Henry , Eda Reiss Merin , Ruth Oliver , Joe Cirillo , Kymberly Herrin , Norman Matlock , John Ring , Paddi Edwards , Jason Reitman , Reginald VelJohnson , Bill Couch

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson star as a quartet of Manhattan-based "paranormal investigators". When their government grants run out, the former three go into business as The ... read more read more...Ghostbusters, later hiring Hudson on. Armed with electronic paraphernalia, the team is spectacularly successful, ridding The Big Apple of dozens of ghoulies, ghosties and long-legged beasties. Tight-lipped bureaucrat William Atherton regards the Ghostbusters as a bunch of charlatans, but is forced to eat his words when New York is besieged by an army of unfriendly spirits, conjured up by a long-dead Babylonian demon and "channelled" through beautiful cellist Sigourney Weaver and nerdish Rick Moranis. The climax is a glorious sendup of every Godzilla movie ever made-and we daresay it cost more than a year's worth of Japanese monster flicks combined. Who'd ever dream that the chubby, cheery Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man would turn out to be the most malevolent threat ever faced by New York City? When the script for Ghostbusters was forged by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, John Belushi was slated to play the Bill Murray role; Belushi's death in 1982 not only necessitated the hiring of Murray, but also an extensive rewrite. The most expensive comedy made up to 1984, Ghostbusters made money hand over fist, spawning not only a 1989 sequel but also two animated TV series (one of them partially based on an earlier live-action TV weekly, titled The Ghost Busters. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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88% liked it

1,030,369 ratings

Critics

97% liked it

60 critics

PG, 1 hr. 45 min.

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Release Date: August 29, 2014

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DVD Release Date: June 29, 1999

Stats: 41,942 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (41,942)


  • August 30, 2014
    five stars...
  • April 9, 2014
    There are a select number of films held in such high regard in popular culture that to even faintly criticise them is considered heresy. Like Star Wars before it, Ghostbusters is a film which seemingly everyone is aware of, and even if you've never seen it you can probably hum th... read moree theme tune or quote the script. It's a seemingly iconic work, a high-water mark of American comedy that anyone with a sense of humour should enjoy.

    What such an attitude fails to acknowledge is that film taste is inherently subjective, particularly when it comes to comedy. Regular readers of my reviews will already have a fair idea of what my tastes are: I like my comedies on the darker side, preferably surreal but crucially substantial - I like comedies that are about something. It may be, therefore, that I am predisposed to dislike Ghostbusters, being as it is a shallow, high-concept star vehicle. Or, just as probably, it may be that it just isn't funny.

    There are a couple of aspects to Ghostbusters which we are able to admire regardless of how funny we find it. Despite being essentially a vehicle for former Saturday Night Live stars, the film is a reasonably literate affair, at least as far as the horror genre is concerned. There are big references throughout to the work of H. P. Lovecraft, including the isolated, academic nature of its protagonists, the slimy nature of the ghosts (such as Slimer himself), and of course the involvement of ancient gods who are at best indifferent towards humanity.

    The film also deserves credit for being a mainstream blockbuster which has intelligent people as its protagonists. We've become used to our summer blockbusters being populated by characters who are complete idiots, bound up in plots which can only make sense if everyone involved is either stupid or doesn't care. Ghostbusters, one of the biggest blockbusters in history, bucks this trend: it unashamedly celebrates the cleverness of its male leads, giving us characters who succeed through brains rather than good looks or good luck.

    Unfortunately, this bit of praise also brings us onto one of the big problems with Ghostbusters, namely the characters. While Dan Aykroyd and the late Harold Ramis made their heroes intellectual in nature, each of the three main parts are severely underwritten. Bill Murray's character seems driven only by a need to be sarcastic or seductive, while Aykroyd and Ramis do little else but stand around explaining the plot. No matter how many dry one-liners Murray gets through, the characters don't feel like real people.

    The best way to illustrate this point is the words of Stephen Fry, when he was interviewed about the difference between British and American comedy. Fry argued that the archetypal American comic hero is a wise-cracker who is above those around him, embodiying the belief in American culture that everything can be bettered or improved. While British comic heroes are distinctive characters (and expressions of failure), American comic heroes are "not characters at all, they're just brilliant repositories of fantastic, killer one-liners."

    Aykroyd, Murray and Ramis are all essentially playing to type, and there is no real chemistry between them because the types are constantly in awkward competition with each other. Murray's deadpan wise-cracking doesn't gel with Aykroyd's fast-talking or Ramis' forgettable geekiness. The same goes for Rick Moranis, whose socially incompetent accountant is excrutiating: it's played so broadly and unrelentingly that it always grates against the story. Even Sigourney Weaver is underused, with her character existing only to get hit on, first by Murray and then by Zuul.

    Of course, it is possible for a film with stereotypical characters to still fire if its script has a strong enough story. The James Bond series is absolutely littered with archetypal characters, with the best films in the series having a good enough story to make them not matter so much. But despite its faithful nods to Lovecraft and its intellectual protagonists, Ghostbusters still manages to make the very least of its material.

    The plot of Ghostbusters essentially takes the first half of the 1946 film Spook Busters and then slowly unravels it through a steadily increasing parade of special effects. Like the Beverly Hills Cop series, the story is not so much a story as it is a series of set-pieces; they are linked together loosely by montage, but you could still watch them in any order with the same impact. As for the dialogue, 80% of it is meaningless jargon designed to big up the characters' intelligence. But simply saying a lot of long words doesn't make a character smart, giving us even less reason to bond with them.

    As with Beverly Hills Cop, Ghostbusters could have had a much more complex and satisfying story if a little bit more effort had been put into it. The idea of man-made structures being engineered to harness the power of gods is a nice, pulpy idea; it's only a hop, skip and jump from the work of Erich von Däniken, whose writings were a big influence on the fourth Indiana Jones film. When allied to Lovecraft, this could have formed an interesting premise, with a team of scientists seeking to stop an individual driven mad by knowledge of ancient demons, and trying to unleash those demons onto the human world.

    Part of the reason Ghostbusters doesn't work on a story level is its indecisive pussy-footing around spiritual questions. Any film or story in which ghosts are involved immediately raises questions about the afterlife - what ghosts are, how they function, where the boundaries lie between different worlds and so forth. But the film either fails to acknowledge such questions or provides contradicting answers; for instance, it accepts the existence of extremely powerful gods, but also believes that humans can conquer said gods with little more than beams of energy. It's another indication of the laziness present in the script, as the film squanders another interesting angle for the sake of a simple, easy-to-follow climax.

    The special effects in Ghostbusters were provided by Boss Films, who later provided the effects for John Carpenter's cult disaster Big Trouble in Little China. In both films they dominate the visual landscape rather than adding to the physical sets, to the point where the characters become swamped by them. The big special effects ending, involving the gateway on top of the skyscraper, is a big anticlimax because it doesn't feel physical or like a natural continuation of the narrative. Even the physical effects, such as Zuul's appearance in the fridge, aren't that convincing even for the day.

    Then we come to the problems with the film's direction. Ghostbusters looks and sounds perfectly okay, boasting decent cinematography from László Kovács (Easy Rider) and a score from John Landis' long-time collaborator Elmer Bernstein. But as far as its direction goes, Ivan Reitman is every bit at sea with his cast here as Martin Brest was on Beverly Hills Cop. In both cases the camerawork is overly basic and the editing is slack, as though Reitman just left the cameras on until someone said something funny.

    In a further comparison with Beverly Hills Cop, there are a number of tonal problems with Ghostbusters. The film doesn't have the uncomfortable homophobic undercurrent running through it like Brest's film, but it doesn't have a great deal of respect for its female characters. The scene where Zuul captures Dana, in which hands come through the chair and grab her, is uncomfortably rapey, and the levitation scene (which rips off The Exorcist) is just another excuse to put the character in needlessly sexual situations. Blockbusters are often accused of being built around the needs of teenage boys, and looking at scenes like the latter, it's not hard to see why.

    Ghostbusters is a deeply unfunny comedy which deserves little if any of its glowing reputation. Despite a number of dry laughs and admirable decisions, it squanders most of its potential in favour of cheap stereotypes, sex jokes and special effects, none of which engage to any satisfying degree. It's not the low point in the careers of any of its stars (which is very telling of each of them), but it hasn't stood the test of time anything like as well as we've been led to believe. In short, it's a massive disappointment that's even bigger than the Twinkie.
  • November 1, 2013
    This is easily one of the most popular films ever made. And thankfully, it's also actually an excellent piece of work in its own right.

    What we get here is the story of some "paranormal investigators" who, after getting kicked out of Columbia University and having their grant re... read morevoked, strike out on their own using homemade equipment to capture ghosts, ghouls, and all manner of otherworldly spectres that start plaguing NYC.

    First off, this is just an amazingly clever, creative, and fun premise. The ghost effects are charming, sometimes rather creepy, and altogether a sign of imagination at work. More importantly, this film is quite witty, funny, quotable, and memorable. The characters are what really make this work. As the Ghostbusters, we get Harold Ramis, Bill murray, and Dan Aykroyd as the original trio, and Ernie Hudson as a new recruit, taken on to help curb the increasing level of paranormal threats. All of these guys are in top form here, and they really have excellent chemistry. I like them all, and for different reasons, but as a kid, Winston (Ernie Hudson) was my favorite. But then again, you can't go wrong with Ray's (Aykroyd) bubbly enthusiasm, Peter's (Murray) dry sarcasm, or Egon's(Ramis) nerdy technobabble.

    As their first client and Peter's would-be girlfriend Dana, Sigourney Weaver is incredibly gorgeous, and quite solid. Rick Moranis is a delight as Dana's doofy accountant neighbor Louis, and Annie Potts is a scream as Ghostbusters secretary Janine. And, while the film could have worked just fine with ghostly baddies, we also get William Atherton as an antagonistic EPA agent.

    Trying to pick a favorite line or moment is just way too hard for me. The film is loaded with lots of little and big moments that are just comic and cinematic gold. The script by Ramis and Aykroyd is razor sharp and creative. It wasn't until I was an adult that I was able to catch all the jokes that flew over my head as a kid. Even then, I still notice new things each time I watch it. Ivan Reitman's direction is light, yet assured, finding a good balance between plot and character moments. The music by Elmer Bernstein is diverse, but well blended, fun, and like the movie itself, quite memorable.

    This has been one of my all time favorites for basically most of my life. Even if it wasn't, I'd still probably be a big fan just because of how unique and enjoyable this all is. Bottom line: it's not only a must see, but it's a one that bears endless repeat viewings.
  • fb1442511448
    May 13, 2013
    fb1442511448
    A fun-filled comedic adventure that's a true defining film of it's decade. Ghostbusters' combustion of laughter, special effects and a tactical cast makes it enjoyable and entertaining for all audiences. 4/5
  • April 20, 2013
    A total classic and with good reason. MVP Bill Murray. Full review later.
  • April 19, 2013
    There are a lot of reasons to love the 80's and this is one of them. After seeing it now for the umpteenth time, it's still as ingeniously funny as ever. Some of the special effects may look a little dated compared to what we're spoiled with today, but it doesn't really matter as... read more it's all conceived in such tongue-in-cheek fun. If you for one reason or another haven't seen it yet, make sure you do, because this movie is a total blast and the perfect marriage between sci-fi and high-concept comedy.

    "We came. We saw. We kicked its ass."
  • March 11, 2013
    You've seen it on TV, in bits and pieces. You've picked it up midway and watched to the end, and conversely, you've started it on a lazy afternoon and abandoned it to do something else. You've seen it drunk. You've seen it at eleven in the morning, or three in the morning, or on ... read morea winter Saturday night when you'd be crazy to leave the house and pulled it out of your VHS collection, amazed that the tape hadn't flat-out broken down yet. And now - thirty years later - you can see that there's a lot wrong with the film. It looks low-budget, even though it cost thirty million in the 80s, and the science is never explained, just hidden behind acronyms. But the film remains a ton of fun, an old friend that's out there on the ledge of plausibility, using a script with a surprising number of second- and third-viewing jokes and a subtly brilliant performance by a cocky young Bill Murray. The reception our heroes receive in the end is one of the most over-the-top, corniest 80s jubilations you'll ever see, right up there with Ferris Buehler's parade performance, but you're laughing and maybe, even though it's your living room, you're cheering along with the crowd. Not your usual four-star rating, from me, but a film that makes you feel so good you'll forgive its every flaw, every darn time.
  • November 17, 2012
    The first Ghostbusters film is a very funny movie, and probably one of the most innovative films of the time. Bill Murray does a hysterically well done job as the douche-bag Dr. Peter Venkman, and the other Ghostbusters do great jobs, Dan Akroyd is great as Peters friend Ray, Har... read moreold Ramis is great as the techie dude Egon, and Ernie Hudson is great as the cool guy Winston. The effects are incredibly well done, and I think it personally has the best effects of the time, if not some of the best effects ever put in film. The plot is very creative and the best thing about it is that the effects and the comedy never overshadow what it is all about, but adds to how interesting the plot of the film is. If you want to see one of the gems of the 1980s then definitely check this film out.
  • fb729949618
    October 4, 2012
    fb729949618
    If you were to watch this now you would probably laugh at the special effects, but I bet they were awesome back in 1984. To me it's a classic; an all around good and fun movie.
  • September 22, 2012
    'Ghostbusters'. Its effects have aged terribly, but the same can't be said for Bill Murray's comedic genius that draws laughs time and time again.

    Notable exception: the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!

Critic Reviews


Gene Siskel
August 19, 2014
Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune

On balance, Ghostbusters is a hoot. It's Murray's picture, and in a triumph of mind over matter, he blows away the film's boring special effects with his one-liners. Full Review

Richard Schickel
October 5, 2008
Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine

Whoever thought of having evil's final manifestation take the form of a 100-ft. marshmallow deserves the rational mind's eternal gratitude. Full Review

Variety Staff
May 30, 2007
Variety Staff, Variety

Only intermittently impressive. Full Review

Dave Kehr
May 30, 2007
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Essentially a $30 million version of Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy but not at all a bad time, thanks mainly to Bill Murray's incredibly dry line readings and director Ivan Reitman's maintenance o... Full Review

Tom Huddleston
June 24, 2006
Tom Huddleston, Time Out

The story of a trio of incompetent 'experts' in the paranormal (Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis), who set up as ghostbusters after they are canned from their college sinecures, is less cynical a constructio... Full Review

Roger Ebert
October 23, 2004
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

This movie is an exception to the general rule that big special effects can wreck a comedy. Full Review

Janet Maslin
May 20, 2003
Janet Maslin, New York Times

There is more attention to special effects than to humor. Full Review

Kevin A. Ranson
August 30, 2014
Kevin A. Ranson, MovieCrypt.com

Thirty years later, there are still rumblings of making another sequel, but no one would dare suggest a reboot or re-imagining; Ghostbusters is perfect exactly as it is. Full Review

Chris Bumbray
August 29, 2014
Chris Bumbray, JoBlo's Movie Emporium

If you've never experienced GHOSTBUSTERS on the big screen, you really need to go see this. If not I'm afraid you'll have to turn in your geek card. Full Review

Patrick Gibbs
June 12, 2014
Patrick Gibbs, Daily Telegraph

A fantasy, but with no touches of reality at all, to be enjoyed for its zany humour typical of the "National Lampoon" school from which several of its contributors are drawn. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by RottenTomatoes.com

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Facts


    • Peter Venkman: I'm right in the middle of something, Ray!
    • Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams!
    • Peter Venkman: Back off, man! I'm a scientist!
    • Peter Venkman: Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown.
    • Peter Venkman: Back of man, I'm a Scientist.
    • Peter Venkman: Alice, I'm going to ask you a couple of standard questions, ok? Have you or any of your family ever been diagnosed Schizophrenic? Mentally incompetent?
    • Librarian: My uncle thought he was St. Jerome.
    • Peter Venkman: I'd call that a big yes.

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Ghostbusters Trivia


  • Match the movie with the quote: "Everything was fine until the power grid was shut off by dickless here."  Answer »
  • In Ghostbusters what is Dana's last name?  Answer »
  • What movie does the following tagline come from? They're Here To Save The World.  Answer »
  • who plays Dana Barret in GHOSTBUSTERS?  Answer »

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