At the end of Groundhog Day, Phil Connors learns to use the time he has to enhance his life and use his abilities to help others, making him a popular figure in Punxsutawney, finally winning the heart of Rita, and breaking the endless repeating loop of Groundhog Day. Directed by Harold Ramis from a script he wrote with Danny Rubin, Groundhog Day is a classic comedy featuring performances from Bull Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot, Stephen Tobolowsky, and more.

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is an arrogant Pittsburg weatherman who looks down on everyone around him and treats his coworkers poorly. His least favorite part of the year is when the network sends him to cover Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, so when he finds he’s stuck in an endlessly repeating Groundhog Day, it’s a living nightmare. Initially, Phil is driven insane by his curse, but eventually learns to use his time to better himself and treat everyone in Punxsutawney with kindness, finally getting Rita’s (Andie MacDowell) approval and ending the never-ending Groundhog Day loop.

Groundhog Day shows the majority of the first few days of Phil’s time loop, but before long it becomes clear time is jumping ahead, occasionally skipping dozens, if not hundreds of days at a time. In his first few days, Phil follows a relatively similar pattern before he begins to explore and utilize the time loop for smaller schemes, such as learning about Nancy Taylor so he can seduce her; however, it’s quickly revealed that Phil has been in the loop for far longer than shown on screen, particularly when he shows up to a movie theater and says he’s seen the movie hundreds of times.

Initially, Phil uses the repeating Groundhog Day time loop to execute progressively elaborate schemes by memorizing the daily sequence of events, down to which way the wind is going to blow, so he can do things like rob money from the back of the armored car. Eventually, he starts to go crazy and tries to kill himself in as many different ways as he can, but he always wakes back up in Punxsutawney Groundhog Day morning at 6am listening to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.”

While some of the things Phil learns are shown on screen by a montage of trial and error, by the end of Groundhog Day it’s revealed he’s become proficient at skills that require years of study, dedication, and practice. He’s well-read, he has advanced medical knowledge, he’s an expert piano player, a master ice carver, and he’s memorized nearly every single detail of every character in the town. Many of the things he’s learned and accomplished would take years to master independently, but stringing them all together would account for years, if not decades, of dedication outside the time loop.

The movie may not give a definitive measure of the number of times Phil lived through the Groundhog Day loop, but on the DVD Commentary, Harold Ramis said while they were writing the script he considered making it 10,000 years, although during the making of the film it got condensed to closer to a decade. While neither of those explanations make it onto the screen in the actual movie, Phil’s vast proficiencies in the final scene account for more than what many people learn in a lifetime, so it’s clear even a decade might not fully account for the number of times he experienced the Groundhog Day time loop.

After the shock of the first few days of the time loop wear off, Phil begins to exploit the repeating days to his own benefit, mostly to satisfy more carnal desires. One of the first ways he’s shown to exploit the time loop is by targeting Nancy Taylor and learning all about her one day so he can trick her into going on a date with him the next day. He’s also shown taking another woman on a date to the movie theater and tries to follow a similar pattern with Rita, although Rita requires far more time loops and is much harder to exploit. There’s even a montage of Phil getting slapped by Rita.

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