In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a hapless soul stuck living and re-living Groundhog Day on Feb. 2. Exactly how much time elapsed during Connors’ entrapment has been debated for years.
A blogger who goes by the name of “Wolf Gnards” was one of the first who attempted to determine the amount of time Murray’s character was stuck on replay. His answer? 8 years, 8 months and 16 days. The blogger arrived at this figure after estimating how long it would take Murray’s character to learn the plethora of skills that he takes on. Groundhog Day‘s director, Harold Ramis, responded to the blogger’s claim, however, and thoroughly disagreed.
“It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything,” Ramis said to Heeb magazine, “and allotting for the down time and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years.”
Even this is debatable: The first draft of the script puts Connors’ time in the town even longer, at 10,000 years.
The blogger isn’t alone in his attempts to discern how long Connors was stuck in the loop, though. WhatCulture editor Simon Gallagher took on the question in an even more comprehensive and inclusive manner and estimated that Murray’s character was stuck for 33 years and 350 days. You can watch how Gallagher arrived at that figure in the video above.
Either way, Ramis was probably right when he said, “People have way too much time on their hands. They could be learning to play the piano or speak French or sculpt.”