In the basement of the New York Public Library, three paranormal scientists, Doctors Peter Venkman, Egon Spengler, and Ray Stantz, encounter a floating apparition. The doctors are surprised, but calm and professional. Ray has a plan. He knows exactly what to do. He creeps forward, instructs the two other men to stay close, and shouts-
And I still close my eyes, twenty-five years and countless viewings later. Ghostbusters is a classic movie of the 1980s. The kind you watch again and again, even when you know what’s coming. It has remained a part of popular culture a generation after its release.
Ghostbusters starred a trio of 80s movie icons. By the time Ghostbusters appeared in theaters in 1984, the three lead actors were already well known, both as actors and as writers, for some of biggest hits of the 80s: Bill Murray and Harold Ramis for Caddyshack and Stripes (Ramis was also a writer on both movies), and Dan Akroyd for The Blues Brothers and Trading Places. Ramis and Akroyd then co-wrote Ghostbusters.
Ramis delivers Egon Spengler’s straight-laced nerdiness with a dry wit, quoting obscure paranormal texts with ease and requesting samples of gooey ectoplasm. Dan Akroyd plays up Ray Stantz’s childish enthusiasm by sliding down fire poles and tearing up over Mr. Stay-Puft. Bill Murray, as Peter Venkman, is the hero who keeps his cool and gets the girl.
All three characters are distinctive archetypes-the nerd, the man-child, and the hero-freshly presented with superb comedic timing. Since the 1980s, these three actors have gone on to build a strong list of credits in the industry, keeping their previous work, like Ghostbusters, in the mainstream.
A Sing-a-Long, Standard 80s Pop Hit Theme Song
Who can’t answer the question, “Who you gonna call?” The song’s creator, Ray Parker Jr., had only a few days’ notice to write a theme song for the movie. While watching an early screening, he was suddenly inspired by the ghostbusters’ T.V. commercial with the flashing telephone number. “Ghostbusters” was a #1 Billboard hit and is still included on compilations of movie themes, Halloween music, and 1980s hits well into the new millennium.
If a movie has enough quotable lines, it will live on forever. Ghostbusters contains a plethora of material for those who practice the art of conversing entirely through movie quotes (you know who you are):
“Back off, man. I’m a scientist.”
“You’re right, no human being would stack books like this.”
“He slimed me.”
“Are you sure you’re using that thing correctly?”
“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”
“I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.”
“All right, this chick is TOAST.”
“Nimble little minx, isn’t she?”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, nice shootin,’ Tex!”
“I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it! LET’S DO IT!”
A movie that features comedy superstars, a hit theme song, and a list of quotable dialogue can only be called a classic. But when you watch, remember to close your eyes during the scene at the library, when Ray yells, “Get her!”
Acting and writing credits at IMDB.com
Song Review and History, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr., AllMusic.com
Buy Ghostbusters on DVD at:
Turner Classic Movies