Caddyshack wasn’t a smash hit when it arrived in theaters on July 25, 1980. The golf club-set comedy initially received mixed reviews and didn’t come anywhere close to being a record-setting success at the box office like its creators’ first film, National Lampoon’s Animal House. Obviously, moviegoers and critics just needed a little time to appreciate its brilliance. Over the last four decades, the film, featuring four comedy legends—Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray—at their absolute peaks, has become a cult classic. So to celebrate the movie’s 40th anniversary we’re counting down its 40 best moments.
40. “I’ll give you asthma.”
Right away, Ted Knight makes clear he’s going to own this movie with even the most basic lines. Here he perfectly shoots down his whiny grandson’s Spaulding’s pleas to avoid playing golf. Don’t feel too badly for the brat, though. He was apparently healthy enough to play tennis.
39. Carl Starts Playing for Keeps
Just about every moment with Bill Murray‘s assistant greenskeeper Carl Spackler is amazing, including first full-fledged attack on the gopher ruining the course. Carl never did get the varmint, but he did create the world’s best golf course fountain show.
38. First Hole Dance Club
“So what? So let’s dance!”
37. “Uhh, ahh, then you ain’t gettin’ no Coke.”
D’Annunzio he was right. Danny was being a jerk. So was Lou for doubling the price of Coke on his poor caddies.
36. Spaulding Has a Few Drinks
The original large adult son can’t hold other peoples’ abandoned liquor (or old cigarettes) and throws up in Dr. Beeper’s car, which the doctor then sat in. It’s the grossest sequence in the movie and also one of the funniest.
35. Ty Offers Danny Advice… Kinda
“See your future. Be your future. Make… make… make it. Make it. Make your future, Danny. I’m a veg, Danny.”
“Give me this. Take it easy, will you, Ty?”
34. “There is no god.”
Never ask a Navy man if he’ll have another drink. And also don’t point out to an overly inebriated Bishop that he’s a man of the cloth.
33. “How bout a Fresca? Huh?”
Ted Knight turned even the simplest of lines—and absurd sounds—into pure gold.
32. “Hey everyone! We’re all gonna get laid!”
Al Czervik knew there was only one way to celebrate Moose and Rocco helping the Judge find his checkbook.
31. The Judge Measures Up Ty
“You know you should play with Dr. Beeper and myself. I mean, he’s been club champion for three years running and I’m no slouch myself.”
“Don’t sell yourself short, Judge. You’re a tremendous slouch.”
30. Danny Asks Ty About Life
For a rich slacker, Ty was not the most helpful mentor, but he sure was funny.
“You take drugs, Danny?”
And of course:
“Be the ball.”
29. Spaulding Doesn’t Disappoint
Betting against Spaulding picking his nose and then eating it is equivalent to betting against the Harlem Globetrotters.
28. “That’s a peach, hun.”
The Havercamps were hot that day!
27. The Judge Finds Danny and Lacey in His Bed
This is a classic physical comedy scene that is loaded with great moments, including the Judge’s usually stuffy wife taking a shower and liking what she sees in a naked Danny.
26. “That must be the tea.”
The entire ridiculous bedroom discovery sequence is capped off by the butler dropping the tray of tea over the railing and Mrs. Havercamp deadpanning this laugh-out-loud line. It’s all so perfectly silly and stupid.
25. Ty and Lacey Spend an Evening Together
From Ty’s original song and “drinking” tequila shots, to “making” a bottle of water and a late night swim, Ty and Lacey’s night together packs a lot of funny into a short time.
24. Synchronized Caddies
The caddies’ 15 minutes of club pool time is totally screwy. But it also features the film’s most graceful moment as the boorish caddies stop acting like animals and give an inexplicable performance.
23. Kenny Loggin’s “I’m Alright”
The movie theme song GOAT does it again. “I’m Alright” is so good it even lets the gopher be funny during the opening and closing credits when the puppet dances.
22. Carl Embraces His Inner Animal
We also have to laugh.
“I should have yelled two!”
Rodney Dangerfield was a treasure.
20. “Well? We’re waiting!”
Desperate Judge Smails with $80,000 in the line is the best Judge Smails.
19. “I’ve sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber.”
Smails didn’t want to do it. Felt he “owed it to them.”
18. Carl Cleans His Ball
Mrs. Crane drives Carl mad, as a perfect character gets a perfect introduction.
17. The Judge Slices
Fortunately for him gambling is illegal at Bushwood, so it’s fine.
16. “Let’s go, while we’re young!”
This quote is too good not to get special recognition from the “I Never Slice” scene. It’s also the perfect thing to say to anyone moving too slowly.
15. Danny’s Putt Goes Boom
Carl, as he was destined to, utterly destroys the course with dynamite, but in the process helps Danny’s final putt take the extra roll it needs.
14. “You’ll get nothing and like it!”
This whole movie could be Judge Smails yelling at Spaulding and it would be a classic.
13. “Noonan. Nooooooonan.”
If you’ve never said this to a friend while they’re trying to concentrate, what are you even doing?
12. Smails Misses a Putt for $1,000
Al puts the Judge under unwanted spotlight, and he predictably withers. In a fit of rage, he throws his putter, and it hits a woman nearby setting off another crisis. It’s all so wonderfully silly and it can’t even crack the top 10 on this list, which is a true testament to the film.
11. Al Interrupts The Judge’s Boat Christening
The film’s most complicated sequence is relentlessly hilarious. It starts with a smug Smails reading a dumb poem. Then his wife breaks the boat’s bow with a bottle of champagne. Finally Al nearly kills everyone on the water with his giant yacht before dropping his anchor on the Judge’s tiny sloop.
Ty’s Zen putting performance, full of made-up wisdom that sounds real, is amazing. As his his response to Danny’s compliment: “Thank you very little.”
9. The Heavy Stuff Doesn’t Come Down for Quite Awhile
Carl caddies for the Bishop during the best round of the Excellency’s life, which takes place in a storm of biblical proportions. Carl running away from the blasphemous Bishop after he’s struck by lighting could also count as its own top moment.
8. Carl “Cleans” the Pool
The Baby Ruth in the pool Jaws homage is iconic, but the whole sequence goes to another level when Carl eats the specimen in front of Mrs. Smails. “It’s no big deal,” but it is unbelievably funny.
7. Al Arrives at Bushwood and Goes Shopping
Rodney Dangerfield’s first appearance brings down the house, topped off by when he accidentally insults Smails’ hat: “Oh, this is the worst-looking hat I ever saw. What, when you buy a hat like this I bet you get a free bowl of soup, huh? … Oh, it looks good on you, though.”
6. Al Livens Up the Party
Yet somehow Al tops his first scene by stepping on a duck during a stuffy black-tie party. He then turns the event into a parade of great one-liners. He insults everyone and everything, like when he asks Mrs. Smails, “You want to make $14 the hard way?”
5. Carl and Ty’s Late Night Meeting
Chevy Chase and Bill Murray, who had fought backstage at SNL years earlier, get one absurd scene (that makes no sense plot-wise) together, and it’s fantastic. For the record, Carl probably needed the pool and the pond.
4. “Ooh! My arm! It’s broken!”
You know, I’m not positive it actually was broken….
3. A Cinderella Story
Carl lives out his golf fantasy while destroying some flowers, in one of the film’s most popular, and most frequently quoted, scenes.
2. Smails Busts out Old Billy Baroo
Ted Knight was a comedic genius, one of the best ever. He’s monstrously funny here when he pulls out his trusty special putter and after he sinks the shot.
1. Carl’s Dali Lama Story
No moment better captures everything great about Caddyshack than a comedy legend at his best giving a ridiculous, perfectly delivered speech that is totally unrelated to the plot. It’s just funny for the sake of funny. And 40 years from now, the movie will still have that going for it.
Which is nice.
Featured Images: Orion Pictures