AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Director: Harold Ramis (Dir)
Release Date:   25 Jul 1980
Duration (in mins):  109
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Cast: Chevy Chase  (Ty Webb)
  Rodney Dangerfield  (Al Czervik)
  Ted Knight  (Judge Smalls)

Summary: A lone gopher tunnels under the pristine fairways of Bushwood Country Club, where teenaged caddy Danny Noonan works to pay for upcoming college expenses. Danny often caddies for playboy Ty Webb, an intuitive golfer who can sink a putt while blindfolded. Danny, who is from a large family, explains his financial and career uncertainties to Ty, but Ty cannot relate to Danny's problems and encourages him to get in touch with the force in the universe. As Danny and Ty finish their round, snobbish Judge Smails, president of Bushwood, spots the mischievous gopher stealing a hole marker and destroying the course. Incensed, Smails orders the head groundskeeper to rid the course of all gophers. The head groundskeeper, in turn, delegates the job to his assistant, the imbecilic Carl Spackler. At the caddy shack, Danny's boss, Lou Loomis, announces that the recipient of the club's caddy scholarship died from severe anxiety attack during summer school. Seeing an opportunity to fund his education, Danny makes inquiries about the scholarship. Meanwhile, in Bushwood's golf store, Smails is insulted by the aggressive and vulgar Al Czervik, a wealthy developer in town to survey a condominium project. On the course, Smails bickers with Al, who heckles the pompous Smails and his party comprised of Smails's friends, the Bishop and Dr. Beeper. Danny, who hopes to curry favor and win the scholarship, volunteers to caddy for Smails. While overlooking Smails's cheating, Danny talks about his inability to pay for an education and falsely claims he wants to be a lawyer, but Smails brushes Danny's clumsy pleas for financial assistance aside. Smails's attention is focused on Al, who plays loud music, drinks beer and continues to harass him. Enraged by Al, Smails throws his putter, hitting a woman and knocking her unconscious. After Danny takes the blame for the incident, Smails warms to him and says that Danny might get the scholarship if he wins the upcoming caddy tournament. Meanwhile, Carl begins his assault on the gopher's tunnel by hosing water into it, but the gopher escapes and geysers of water flood the course. During dinner at the club's restaurant, Al continues to insult Smails and makes vulgar jokes loud enough for all to hear. Ty flirts with Smails's promiscuous niece, Lacey, who later accompanies him home for a sexual encounter. That night, Carl attempts to kill the gopher by dressing in camouflage, attaching a large flashlight to a rifle and aiming at the varmint as he exits his hole, but the gopher escapes. The next day, when Danny and another caddy, Tony, compete in the caddy golf tournament, Danny wins by sinking a putt on the final green. While congratulating Danny, Smails invites him to mow his lawn and attend the forthcoming christening of his sloop. At the launch, Danny becomes distracted by Lacey, who takes him home to have sex. As the ceremony proceeds, Al, who is boating in his cruiser, sees Smails's party and speeds toward them, disturbing other boaters in his path and dropping anchor through the deck of Smails's sloop. When Smails returns home, he walks in on Danny and Lacey's tryst, and chases Danny from the house with golf club in hand. Danny spends the night in the caddy shack, where, the next morning, his girl friend, Maggie, tells him she believes she is pregnant. Danny offers to marry her, but Maggie refuses and says the baby might not be his. Danny is summoned to Smails's office. Rather than the punishment Danny expects, Smails asks him to keep quiet about his relations with Lacey and be his "pal." Later in the day, Smails argues with Al, who intends to buy the country club. To settle their dispute, Al suggests they shoot a round of eighteen holes for $20,000 with teams of two--Smails and Dr. Beeper vs. Al and Ty. Eventually, everyone agrees, including Ty, who has no interest in competing but is provoked by Smails's arrogance. Before the game, Danny encounters a jubilant Maggie who has learned she is not pregnant. Relieved, Danny confides he is unhappy with the way he has ingratiated himself with Smails to win the scholarship, but Maggie assures him that he is a good guy who will do the right thing. While Carl prepares a final assault to rid the course of gophers with plastic explosives, the four golfers begin their showdown. Danny reluctantly caddies for Smails to keep his chance for the scholarship alive. Ty, Smails and Dr. Beeper begin shooting well, but Al plays terribly. After the initial nine holes and a raising of the stakes to $40,000, Al feigns an arm injury and claims he needs a substitute. When Ty chooses Danny as Al's replacement, Al offers to make it worth Danny's while. In defiance of Smails, Danny agrees to play, knowing he has forfeited the scholarship. Danny plays well, allowing his team to tie with Smails and Dr. Beeper before the last green. Dr. Beeper and Ty miss their final putts, but Smails, using his trusty old "Billy Baroo" putter, sinks his. With the game on the line, Danny prepares his final shot when Al ups the ante to $80,000. Danny's putt stops just short of the hole, resting on the lip. Just then, Carl detonates the explosives, shaking the course and knocking Danny's ball into the cup. Smails's beloved course is destroyed and, in the wake of the destruction, Carl escapes and so, too, does the gopher. 

Distribution Company: Orion Pictures Company
Warner Bros., Inc.
Director: Harold Ramis (Dir)
  Ricou Browning (2d unit dir)
  Ted Swanson (Prod mgr)
  David Whorf (1st asst dir)
  Charles Persons (2d asst dir)
Producer: Douglas Kenney (Prod)
  Jon Peters (Exec prod)
  Don MacDonald (Assoc prod)
Writer: Brian Doyle-Murray (Wrt)
  Harold Ramis (Wrt)
  Douglas Kenney (Wrt)

Subject Major: Adolescents
  Golf and golfers
  Nouveaux riches
  Snobs and snobbishness
Subject Minor: Bishops
  Country clubs
  Land developers
  Premarital sex

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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