Study Guide

Groundhog Day Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil

Punxsutawney Phil is the famous groundhog from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania who likes to predict the coming (or not coming) of spring every February 2nd. In Groundhog Day, cute little Phil predicts that there will be six more weeks of winter—in other words, things will stay exactly the same. They just stay a little more exactly the same for Phil Connors.

But at the beginning of our movie, Phil Connors doesn't think very highly of Phil. He describes the Groundhog Day tradition by saying,

PHIL: Then it's the same old shtick. The guy with the big stick raps on the door. They pull the little rat out. They talk to him. The rat talks back and then they tell us what's gonna happen.

Phil's producer Rita, however, thinks that Punxsutawney Phil is cute. She says to Phil Connors,

RITA: I think it's a nice story. He [the groundhog] comes out, and he looks around. He wrinkles up his little nose. He sees his shadow or he doesn't see it.

Punxsutawney Phil becomes a sort of test that shows just how differently Phil Connors and Rita view the world at the beginning of this movie.

Later in the film, Phil Connors becomes insanely convinced that Punxsutawney Phil is somehow responsible for his being trapped in Groundhog Day. He ultimately decides that the only way to end the cycle of Groundhog Days is to get rid of Phil, saying,

PHIL: I don't see any other way out. He [Phil] has got to be stopped. And I have to stop him.

He kidnaps the groundhog and drives away, and the head of the Groundhog Day festivities (Buster Green) is so invested in P. Phil that he tells the cops,

BUSTER: If you gotta shoot, aim high. I don't wanna hit the groundhog.

It's safe to say that there's an awful lot of meaning that people can see in one little groundhog. But that's the power of the human imagination, ain't it?

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