Harold Ramis: Saying goodbye to a legend

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Fans and movie-goers across the world (myself included) are mourning the death of Hollywood legend Harold Ramis. The comedic actor, director, and screenwriter passed away in his Chicago-based home Monday (Feb. 24) due to complications stemming from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a complicated disease which attacks the blood vessels. Ramis was 69 years old.

Ramis’ career was legendary, spanning more than 40 years. Even members of the younger generation who may not be very familiar with his name are bound to know several of the iconic movies which bear his signature. In memoriam of one of the greatest writers/directors of this or any generation, we proudly present a list of some of the best Harold Ramis films, which also just happen to be some of the most popular comedies of all time.

Ghostbusters (1984) — Written by Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd, this New York based supernatural comedy is a mainstay of American pop-culture. The movie stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson as a quartet of wannabe paranormal investigators who become heroes by saving the city (and the world) from the demonic Gozer. They also happen to roast a 100-ft. tall Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Caddyshack (1980) — Ramis directed and co-wrote this perfect example of comic genius. Starring Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Michael O’Keefe and Rodney Dangerfield, Caddyshack follows the exploits of the rich and eccentric members of a prestigious country club along with those of its much-less-well-off, but no less “interesting” employees. Come on, who doesn’t love a movie with a trouble-making dancing gopher?

Stripes (1981)  Yet another comedy classic for which Ramis has both an acting and writing credit. Ramis and Bill Murray star as two down-on-their-luck best friends who decide to be all they can be by joining the US Army… and it goes about as well as you would expect.

Analyze This (1999) — Harold Ramis directed and co-wrote this gem of a film which mixes two of my personal favorite genres, comedies and gangster movies. Robert De Nero and Billy Crystal are absolutely perfect together in this telling a mafia boss (De Nero) who “consults” a psychiatrist (Crystal) in order to deal with his deep-seeded anxiety issues before a historical meeting of mob families. One of my favorite comedies of all time. Warning: the clip below is NSFW.

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) — Animal House was Ramis’ big break in the screen-writing aspect of movie industry. Kicking off Hollywood’s “gross-out” genre, Animal House, starring John Belushi, Karen Allen, and Tom Hulce, quickly became the hallmark of hedonistic college movies and a beloved American classic.