How long was Bill Murray's character trapped for in Groundhog Day?

How long was Bill Murray's character trapped for in Groundhog Day?
Groundhog Day - trailer
Colombia Pictures

It might be one of the most influential comedies ever made, but there’s a hidden truth about Groundhog Day which might actually make it one of the scariest horror films of all time.

The 1993 film, which is set on February 2nd and based around Punxsutawney folklore, sees Bill Murray’s weatherman Phil Connors trapped in a time loop on the same day a groundhog predicts the arrival of spring.

Phil experiences a mind-boggling amount of repeated days over the course of the film, and someone has actually taken the time to work out how long he was stuck living the same day over and over.

The truth is even crazier than you might think – not to mention utterly terrifying.

Bill Murray starred in Groundhog Day in 1993Columbia Pictures

According to, Bill was stuck in the loop for 33 years and 350 days. That means he was left repeating the same day an incredible 12,395 times.

How did they work it out? Well, there are 38 days actually shown on screen, as well as 414 days mentioned in the film and a huge 11,931 days which Phil spends learning a host of new talents and interests - based on the theory that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in any given subject.

As fans of the movie will remember, Phil spends his time learning how to play the piano, as well as developing a love for French poetry and ice sculpture in order to impress Andie MacDowell’s character, Rita.

Weatherman Phil spent decades trapped in the time loopColumbia Pictures

The film’s director Harold Ramis said back in 2009 that the character would have been trapped for decades, saying: “It takes at least 10 years to get good at anything and allotting for the downtime and misguided years he spent, it had to be more like 30 or 40 years.”

When you actually think about it, three decades trapped living the same day sounds more like a Black Mirror episode than a heartwarming comedy...

Meanwhile, the tradition of Groundhog Day continues in a western Pennsylvania town, with people gathering today at Gobbler's Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil's “inner circle” summon him from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow.

According to folklore, there will be six more weeks of winter if he sees his shadow. If he doesn’t, spring comes early.

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