Study Guide

Groundhog Day Quotes

  • Spirituality

    PHIL: I'm a god.

    RITA: You're god?

    Phil Connors has lived through the same day so many times that he's convinced he's a god. After all, some of the major signs are there. He knows absolutely everything and can't die. That sounds a lot like a god.

    PHIL: I'm not the God, I don't think.

    Phil knows that he's immortal and almost omniscient (all-seeing). But he's not crazy enough to think he's the one all-powerful God. If that were the case, he'd probably have the ability to just point at things and make them explode, and he's not there just yet.

    RITA: You're not a god. Believe me. This is twelve years of Catholic school talking.

    Rita thinks it's insane for Phil to talk as though he's some sort of god. After all, she spent her childhood in Catholic school and her religion believes there can only be one true God.

    PHIL: Maybe the real God uses tricks. Maybe He's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long He knows everything.

    When Rita accuses Phil of using tricks to show he's a god, Phil suggests that maybe the real God just uses tricks to. When you think about it, the real God doesn't need to have infinite power to be a god. He just needs to know an awful lot more and have more power than any regular person.

    PHIL: I wake up every day right here in Punxsutawney […] and there's nothing I can do about it."

    Phil's ability to live the same day over and over makes him feel both powerful and powerless at the same time. On the one hand, he can do anything he wants because there are no consequences. On the other hand, he feels like nothing he does matters because there are no consequences.

    LARRY: He was a really great guy.

    After Phil has died (for the thousandth time), his cameraman Larry says a few nice (and sarcastic) words about him. But the truth is that Phil has been a total jerk for most of his life and people aren't really going to miss him all that much. That's why it's crucial for Phil to turn it all around by being nicer.

    PHIL: Who wants coffee? Get it while it's hot.

    Phil eventually decides that the only way he can make Groundhog Day seem meaningful is if he starts acting nice to all the people around him. Little does he know that this strategy is what will eventually break his curse.

    DOCTOR [referring to the dead homeless man]: He was just old. It was just his time.

    A big part of Phil's journey comes when he realizes that despite all his power, there are some things he can't change. No matter how many times he tries, for example, he can't save the old homeless man who always dies on Groundhog Day no matter what Phil does.

    NURSE: Sometimes people just die.

    When Phil confronts the nurse, he wants to know exactly how the old homeless man has died. He wants to know because he thinks he might be able to prevent the man's death the next time he lives through Groundhog Day. But nothing he does ever works. The man is destined to die.

    PHIL: It was the end of a very long day.

    When Phil finally makes it to February 3rd, he makes the understatement of the century by saying he had a long day the day before. Various people have suggested that by the end of this movie, Phil has spent more than ten years reliving Groundhog Day. That's a lonnng time.

  • Love

    PHIL: I know your face so well I could have done it with my eyes closed.

    After he lives the same day a few thousand times, Phil realizes that he truly loves Rita. And it's not just because she's beautiful. It's because she's the kindest person Phil has ever met. Or, in other words: she's his exact opposite.

    PHIL: No matter what happens now or for the rest of my life, I'm happy now because I love you.

    One thing that Phil learns from reliving the same day is to live entirely in the present moment. And one huge effect of living in the present is the realization that he loves Rita.

    PHIL: On the contrary, Nancy. I love you. I've always loved you.

    Early in the movie, Phil is only interested in using his knowledge of Groundhog Day for selfish purposes. In this case, he uses his knowledge to trick a woman named Nancy into sleeping with him. He even lies to her and says he loves her, which is about as unethical as you can get.

    RITA: I guess I want what everybody wants: career, love, marriage, children.

    When Phil asks Rita what she wants out of life, she answers that she wants what everyone wants. She wants to have a good career and she wants love and a family. For her these wants are universal, although the old Phil Connors wouldn't necessarily agree. He would define "what everyone wants" as money, power, and pleasure.

    RITA: And he plays an instrument and he loves his mother.

    Rita has a pretty clear vision of who her "ideal guy" is, and she surprises Phil with some of her details. For example, her ideal guy knows how to play an instrument and loves his mother. So what does Phil do? He spends the next several years getting extremely good at the piano.

    PHIL: Why not? I love you.

    RITA: You love me? You don't even know me.

    PHIL: I know you.

    The first time Phil says he loves Rita, she doesn't buy it. From her perspective, she has only gotten to know Phil for one day. Little does she know that Phil has spent the last several years' worth of Groundhog Days learning everything he can about her.

    RITA: Is this what love is for you?

    PHIL: This is real. This is love.

    RITA: Stop saying that!

    Phil quickly realizes that convincing Rita to love him will be a tall order. One of the biggest reasons is because he still thinks of love as a form of manipulation. His strategy is to use his knowledge of Rita to trick her into sleeping with him. But by the end of the movie, he redefines love for himself and instead acts kindly toward everyone around him; not just Rita.

    RITA: I could never love someone like you. You only love yourself.

    Rita is a lot more perceptive than Phil gives her credit for. Even though he knows nearly everything about her, she can still see through his games and she realizes that he's still out for himself deep down. Phil can change his behavior all he wants, but Rita will never love him until he changes his soul.

    PHIL: You're kind to strangers and children. And when you stand in the snow you look like an angel.

    Over time, Phil finds more and more reasons to love Rita. And the thing he loves most about reliving Groundhog Day is the part where he gets to tell Rita how wonderful she is and how much he loves her.

    PHIL: Larry will come through that door and take you away from me, but you can't let him.

    Phil knows Groundhog Day so well that he knows exactly when Larry will enter the diner and asks Rita to come with him. But Phil wants to spend the rest of his day with Rita no matter what, even though he knows he'll wake up the next day and everything will be reset. He wants to spend his time with Rita because when he's with her, all he cares about is the present.

  • Morality and Ethics

    LOCAL MAN: No tomorrow? That would mean there would be no consequences. There would be no hangovers. We could do whatever we wanted!

    After he's lived the same day several times in a row, Phil asks some local men what they'd do if there was no tomorrow. They respond that they'd do whatever they wanted because there'd be no consequences.

    PHIL: I don't know, Gus. Sometimes I think you just have to take the big chances.

    Phil takes the local men's advice to heart and decides to drive like a crazy person all around Punxsutawney. His first moral reaction to living the same day over and over is to just act as selfishly as possible and to break every rule he can.

    PHIL: I'm not gonna live by their rules anymore.

    Phil's first reaction to reliving Groundhog Day is to break as many rules as he can. After all, what's the point of following the rules if there are absolutely no consequences?

    PHIL: You make choices and live with them.

    Phil talks about making choices and living with them. But the ironic thing is that he totally doesn't have to live with his choices because Groundhog Day keeps resetting every morning. In this case, Phil loses he only reason he has for acting morally. It's not until later in the movie that he learns to act morally for its own sake.

    PHIL: Nancy. Lincoln. Walsh. Thanks very much.

    Eventually, Phil realizes that he can learn enough about a pretty woman to trick her into sleeping with him. This is of course the kind of thing Phil wants to do with his newfound power to relive the same day. He needs to get all the immorality out of his system before he decides that morality is the way to go.

    PHIL: On the contrary, Nancy. I love you.

    Phil pulls no punches when it comes to acting immorally. He even lies to Nancy by telling her he loves her because he thinks doing so will get her into bed.

    PHIL: It's hard down there at the bottom.

    As the film enters its later stages, Phil takes a special interest in an old homeless man who always dies at the end of Groundhog Day. Phil learns a lot about compassion by trying to take care of this man.

    PHIL: You little brat. You have never thanked me.

    Phil Connors has saved the same kid falling fro a tree dozens (maybe hundreds) of times. But the kid has never once thanked him. Phil keeps saving him anyway though because he's learned that moral behavior is something you should do for its own sake.

    OLD LADY: Thank you, young man.

    PHIL: It's nothing. I had the tire and the jack.

    Phil almost goes over the top with kindness when he starts running around Punxsutawney and trying to do as much good in a single day as he possibly can. But this is exactly the kind of mindset that helps him escape Groundhog Day.

    PHIL: Enjoy your lunch.

    MAN: Thank you.

    One of Phil's biggest acts of kindness is saving a man's life by performing the Heimlich Maneuver. But it's still just one of the many acts of kindness he performs by the end of the movie. It looks like he has finally learned to be as kind to people as Rita has always been.

  • Wisdom and Knowledge

    RITA: Believe it or not, I studied 19th-century French poetry.

    PHIL: What a waste of time.

    Phil Connors doesn't really have the wisdom to appreciate the fact that Rita loves French poetry enough to study it at university. To him, studying poetry is a total waste of time because it's not practical. It's not until later in the movie that Phil learns to respect people's differences.

    PHIL: I wish we could all live in the mountains, at high altitudes.

    Phil tells Rita that he wants to live a peaceful life away from the hustle and bustle. But the truth is that he's only saying this because he thinks it's what Rita wants to hear.

    RITA: I like to go with the flow, see what happens.

    Rita has a lot of wisdom because she has learned to accept life as it comes. This acceptance is a big part of what makes her so kind and compassionate toward others.

    RITA: I can't believe I fell for this.

    Rita eventually sees right through Phil's attempts to trick her into bed with him. She has the wisdom to understand when a person behaves and certain way and when they genuinely feel a certain way. That's the kind of wisdom that it takes Phil a really, really long time to develop.

    PHIL: When Chekov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope.

    After he's stuck in Groundhog Day for a long time, Phil decides to start developing his wisdom by reading classical works of literature. All this reading definitely has an impression on him, as he starts quoting it in his news broadcast.

    PHIL: Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life.

    Over time, Phil learns to think of life as a cycle rather than an endless chase to get what you want. It's this kind of wisdom that will eventually lead him to be kinder and gentler to the people around him.

    PHIL: I've never seen anyone that's nicer to people than you are.

    It takes a while, but Phil eventually learns to be honest with himself. The first thing he admits to himself is how deeply he admires Rita's kindness to other people.

    PHIL: We never talk, Larry. Do you have kids?

    Phil quickly realizes that his wisdom and knowledge doesn't count for much unless he uses it to improve the lives of the people around him. That's why he needs to apply his compassion to more people than just the woman he loves (Rita). He needs to apply it to everyone.

    PHIL: I'd like a piano lesson, please.

    Phil figures that if he's going to be stuck in the same day for eternity, he might as well use the opportunity to get really good at something. So he gets up one day and decides to spend the next ten years' worth of Groundhog Days playing the piano.

    LARRY [to Rita]: Did you know he could ice sculpt?

    Along with his piano skills, Phil decides to learn how to ice sculpt. Why not? After all, wouldn't you eventually turn to art if you had to live the same day over and over for eternity?

  • Time

    PHIL: I wake up every day right here in Punxsutawney and it's always February 2. And there's nothing I can do about it.

    When Phil realizes that he'll never escape Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, he develops a crippling depression because he feels like nothing he does matters. It's only later when he realizes he should become good for its own sake that his life has meaning.

    PHIL [about God]: Maybe He's not omnipotent. He's just been around so long He knows everything.

    Phil develops an interesting theory about God after he has relived Groundhog Day and bunch of times. He figures that maybe God is just like him. He's not some supernatural and all-powerful being. He's just some guy who's been around so long he knows way more than anyone else.

    PHIL: It's like yesterday never happened.

    Phil realizes that his actions don't have the same kinds of consequences he's used to because nothing he does has lasting effect. Every day, time gets reset and Phil has to live all over again.

    RITA: How do you know so much about Punxsutawney?

    PHIL: I've spent a lot of time here.

    When Phil says he's spent a lot of time in Punxsutawney, he's not kidding. He's spent more than ten years' worth of experience living the same day in this small town, so he pretty much knows everything there is to know about Punxsutawney on February 2nd.

    PHIL: I've killed myself so many times I don't even exist anymore.

    Phil starts to get deep and philosophical after a while. He's even tried to kill himself just to escape the endless cycle of Groundhog Days he has to live through. But this point, he figures that he's doomed to relive Groundhog Day for all eternity.

    RITA: Sometimes I wish I had a thousand lifetimes.

    When Rita first hears about Phil's predicament, she thinks it might be pretty cool to live the same day over and over. Then again, she hasn't had to go through it the way Phil has.

    PHIL: What would you do if you were stuck in the same place and every day was exactly the same and nothing that you did mattered?

    LOCAL MAN: That sums it up for me.

    Phil doesn't realize that for many people, life sometimes feels like the same day over and over. That's exactly the kind of thing he's always been terrified of because he wants to feel like he's spending his time trying to get somewhere. It doesn't really matter where as long as every day feels different.

    LOCAL MAN: Do you think it will be an early spring?

    PHIL: I'm predicting March 21st.

    Phil Connors thinks it's silly how some people believe you can actually tell how long the winter will be by whether a rodent sees its shadow. That's why he matter-of-factly says that spring will probably start on the actual first day of spring rather than when the groundhog says so.

    PHIL: What day is this?
    LOCAL MAN: It's February 2nd. Groundhog Day.

    The first time he relives Groundhog Day, Phil Connors feels like the entire world is playing an elaborate prank on him. Little does he know that some magical force has cut off the flow of time and wrapped it around into a constant loop.

    PHIL: Do you ever have déjà vu?

    LOCAL PERSON: I don't think so, but I could check with the kitchen.

    It's totally possible that the flow of time has only been disrupted in Phil's head. After all, we can only know time insofar as we live it. So it's totally possible that Phil has some psychological condition that's made it impossible for him to stop reliving the same day. Maybe his actual body is somewhere in a hospital in a coma. Let the Groundhog Day conspiracy theories begin!