Best: Ghostbusters (1984)
Probably still Bill's best-known and most-loved role is Peter Venkman. A blockbusting adventure has never had another hero quite like Murray in this movie: droll, sarcastic, fairly unheroic...
With nary a silly voice or facial contortion in sight, Murray'll keep you in stitches throughout. His perfectly-tuned chemistry with the rest of the cast (the other 'busters, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis) has helped this remain as popular as ever, over 25 years later.
Worst: Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
The same year as Ghostbusters was released, Bill took a small role in this comedy movie from Saturday Night Live director Tom Schiller. The movie stars Zach Galligan, whose biggest hit, Gremlins , was also released the same year.
Galligan plays an artist who gets stuck in a boring job, before heading off on a lunar voyage to find his true love, and Murray shows up as Ted, the conductor of the moon-bound bus.
The limited release of the movie has gained it some cult curio value, but this mish-mash fails to land its satirical punches, and Galligan's wide-eyed innocence becomes trying very quickly.
Best: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
The only Wes Anderson movie in which Murray occupies the lead role is arguably the most esoteric of the auteur's output, but for fans it's another unbridled joy, and there's plenty of moments for newcomers to enjoy.
Murray plays the Cousteau-esque Zissou, an ocean explorer who is seeking revenge on the shark responsible for his best friend's death. The submarine itself is a brightly-coloured, almost-cartoony environment, perfect for studying Henry Selick's stop-motion animated sea creatures. The Bowie-inspired soundtrack became an instant classic.
Worst: Garfield (2004)
It's hard to imagine anyone being a better cast as the voice of the iconic orange cat, but it's a shame that the movie couldn't have ended up closer to the comic strip or the cartoon, rather than the slapstick-heavy, undemanding kiddie fare it turned out to be.
Dozy Murray has since claimed that he got involved with the movie because he confused scripter Joel Cohen with Joel Coen (now that would have been interesting). If only Bill had a better script (and the animation team had a complete rethink), this could have been something great.
Best: Zombieland (2009)
In the Bill Murray cameo category, Zombieland is a unanimous highlight (heck, it's a unanimous highlight of movie cameos in general). When the travelling foursome stop off in Hollywood, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) decides to visit Bill f*cking Murray's mansion.
Turns out the actor has survived the zombie outbreak by donning some home-made make-up and keeping a low profile. His role is pretty brief but full of classically-Murray zingers, such as his response when asked 'Any regrets?': " Garfield , maybe."
Worst: Get Smart (2008)
At least Zombieland was worthy of Murray's talents. Get Smart scored a decent cast, and came with a natty premise, but somehow it just didn't deliver on the laugh front.
Murray's appearance, as ever, manages to break the tedium with a decent gag. As Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is heading to the office on a mission, he passes Agent 13 (Murray), who's stationed in a tree-trunk hideout, and suffering terrible loneliness as a result...
Best: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Much of Murray's finest work of recent years has been with director Wes Anderson. Murray lent his vocal chords to a support role in this delightfully idiosyncratic and Anderson-esque stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl's much-loved book.
Amidst a starry cast (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and Anderson regulars Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson), Bill plays Badger the lawyer. The movie bristles with detail, and remains a genuine crowdpleaser despite its off-kilter sensibilities.
Worst: City of Ember (2008)
City of Ember was a truly disappointing family flick, considering it was director Gil Kenan's follow-up to the wonderful 80s throwback that was Monster House , and it starred Atonement breakout Saoirse Ronan.
The underground world is atmospherically recreated, and Bill Murray makes the most of playing both sides of a sleazy mayor. The film falls down when it comes to the total lack of tension and unsatisfying denouement, and the half-baked mythology is unlikely to stick with you.
Best: Rushmore (1998)
The role of Herman Blume was specifically written with Murray in mind, but Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson didn't think they'd be able to snag the actor. Thankfully he was a fan of Anderson's Bottle Rocket , and agreed to star in this breakout hit.
It's a high school film, but unlike any you've seen before, as Jason Schwartzman's precocious student befriends Murray's industrialist, before they both fall for the same teacher. Rushmore perfectly captures the tone of Anderson's unique cinematic voice, and is arguably his most accessible movie.
Worst: Charlie's Angels (2000)
Like all of Bill's lesser output, there was once a time when this movie seemed like tantalising prospect (before we had seen it, for example). Murray seemed like an ideal choice for Bosley, the middle man between Charlie and his angels.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly where this went wrong, between Murray, the beautiful women and relentless action scenes... It largely fails due to an absence of any sort of plot, or even a consistent tone: it's hard to tell if it's trying to be out-and-out parodic or simply cute.
Bill was spared further shame when he didn't return for the sequel.
Best: Ed Wood (1994)
Tim Burton strayed from his comfort zone for this black-and-white biopic of the infamously awful film director (and all-round oddball) of the title. Johnny Depp turns in a fantastic performance, transcending the silly voice and Clark Gable 'tache to find the real heart of the character.
Murray plays it hilariously straight as flamboyant real-life figure Bunny Breckinridge, a friend of Wood's who failed in his attempts to attain a sex change, and ending up appearing in Plan 9 from Outer Space .
Worst: Hamlet (2000)
This modern take on one of the Bard's greatest plays proves what a fantastic achievement Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet shake-up actually was. Here, director Michael Almereyda fails to bring any life or relevance to the classic play.
Shakespeare's story of the Dane loses weight in the modern setting, with Ethan Hawke's young Hamlet cast as the heir to the Denmark Corporation. Murray plays Polonius, the father of Julia Stiles' Ophelia. Thankfully Murray's role is relatively brief, and he shows himself up considerably less than many of the younger cast members.
Best: Groundhog Day (1993)
Harold Ramis, Murray's erstwhile ghostbusting partner, directed this comedy which has since entered the cultural vernacular as shorthand for when anyone forced to relive a day over again. Bill stars as TV weatherman Phil, who finds himself stuck in an neverending loop of February 2nds after reporting on the Groundhog Day ritual.
Murray is at his sarcastic best in the movie, as his situation sees him go from opportunistic, to annoyed, all the way to suicidal. Even a charisma-free performance from Andie McDowell can't dampen this movie's re-watch potential.
Worst: Wild Things (1998)
A bad Bill Murray film rarely means a bad Bill Murray performance, and his Wild Things lawyer Kenneth Bowden is a sleazy highlight that helps to elevate this eroto-thriller above late-night cable quality... just.
Most teenage boys will be familiar with the story (or one pivotal scene at least)... Matt Dillon's guidance counsellor is accused of raping a student, and it's not long before twists aplenty start to come out of the woodwork. At least he's got Murray to defend him.
Best: Ghostbusters II (1989)
This sequel doesn't hit the lofty heights of the original, but it's still damn good fun, with Murray returning to his defining role as Peter Venkman, and retaining all the sarcastic smarm that made him such a memorable lead the first time around.
The story is more streamlined than that of its predecessor as the origins of the gang are out of the way.
Actually, the gang are pretty past-it by this point, and they're variously making ends meet as kids' entertainers and TV show hosts. Thankfully there's a rather spooky painting that looks like it'll require the guys' unique expertise.
Worst: Garfield 2 (2006)
Murray couldn't use the old Joel Cohen excuse again, so what's his reason for appearing in this follow-up?
At least fans of the original won't be complaining, as you do get more of the same here: tons of slapstick, a weak romance between Jon Arbuckle (Breckin Meyer) and vet Liz (Jennifer Love Hewitt), and none of the Garfield you remember from your youth.
A Tail of Two Kitties gets a bit of shake-up in the form of a mistaken identity storyline, as Garfield gets confused with a posh doppelganger in London. If the first movie didn't provide reason enough for you to stay away from this one, you can't say you weren't warned.
Best: Lost in Translation (2003)
Perfectly pairing the pathos with his trademark sarcastic humour, Murray's performance in Lost in Translation saw him rewarded with an Oscar nomination. Still probably Sofia Coppola's best movie, it's a tale of loneliness and isolation that never becomes too downbeat.
Murray plays a washed-up movie star in Tokyo to shoot a whisky commercial, and Scarlett Johannson is the bored wife tagging along on one of her photographer husband's work trips.
The culture-clash comedy quickly takes a backseat to the quiet friendship that develops between the odd couple. Slight, but undoubtedly affecting.
Worst: Larger Than Life (1996)
This movie was a little too cutesy for Bill's caustic humour, and as a result the two sides of the story fail to mesh. Murray plays Jack Corcoran, a motivational speaker who finds out that the father he never knew was a clown.
This means that Jack is lumped with escorting a hefty circus elephant named Vera across the country. Murray can play the reluctant hero in his sleep, and there is room for some trademark quippage here.
Vera's endearing, and will no doubt charm younger viewers, but the dusty pachyderm leads the story into very sentimental territory.
Best: Scrooged (1988)
If you think you've seen more than your share of A Christmas Carol adaptations, don't be put off this contemporary spin. The structure might be familiar, but this is well worth adding to your festive viewing roster, with Murray perfectly cast as a modern Ebenezer.
The tale is transposed to a TV network, with Murray ramping up the cynicism to play heartless producer Frank Cross. After firing an employee on Christmas Eve, Frank discovers (via his zombiefied former boss), that he'll be visited by three ghosts who'll teach him the error of his ways...
You know what's going to happen, but the presence of Murray at his meanest helps to keep this fresh.
Worst: Meatballs (1979)
Fresh from Saturday Night Live , Murray (sporting a shambolic mullet) and future Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman made this summer camp comedy. As head counsellor Tripper, Murray has to inspire his ragtag bunch of campers in their olympiad against a snooty summer camp.
The gags just aren't there, and stereotypes are dished out with little invention or originality. Murray completists will no doubt find excuses for a few giggles from the leading man, but he hasn't quite slipped into his beloved screen persona by this point.
Best: Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
As an early character piece from Murray, this is interesting stuff. Murray plays legendary gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, almost two decades before Terry Gilliam and Johnny Depp trod similar ground in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas .
The movie plays out as a series of recollections as Thompson is trying to write about his friend and attorney, Carl Lazlo, Esq. Murray's not much of a physical match for Thompson, but he nailed the voice and mannerisms after spending time with the man himself.
The movie is episodic and sometimes scattershot (like any Thompson adaptation would have to be really), but it's worth watching for Murray's central performance.
Worst: Loose Shoes (1980)
While Murray was still in the transition period between SNL fame and movie megastardom, he appeared in this comedy movie, that's basically just a series of fake movie trailers.
The gags raise a smirk at best (Murray has a nice scene as a prisoner in a rather luxurious slammer), but the aimless approach fails to fill feature length, and there's the sense that some of the skits probably sounded funnier on the page. That this was canned for three years after it was shot, before being released in 1980, should also ring alarm bells.
Best: The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Another Wes Anderson movie, another triumphant Murray supporting role. Bill is at his most sardonic, playing bearded neurologist Raleigh St Clair, who has a much younger wife in the form of troubled intellectual Margot Tenenbaum (Gwyneth Paltrow).
Raleigh spends the majority of his scenes in the movie running tests on a young subject. Anderson's colourful family saga is unlikely to convert anyone who's not a fan of the director's unique stylings, but this is one of his most widely-appreciated movies.
Worst: Osmosis Jones (2001)
This (mostly) animated movie failed to live up to its nifty premise: a white blood cell and a cold pill team up to defeat a virus inside the body they inhabit.
Chris Rock voices rebellious cop Ozzy, and David Hyde Pierce speaks softly as tablet Drix, but the film fails to do its clever concept justice. The Farrelly brothers bring plenty of potty humour, but there's little here to remember beyond the gross-out gags. A film of two mismatched halves.
Best: Caddyshack (1980)
This much-loved golfing comedy was directed by Egon Spengler himself, Harold Ramis, and is another rare example of Murray playing against type. Here he's cast as a dumbass groundskeeper with a gopher problem.
Murray, Ramis and co-writer Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill's brother), based the movie on their own experiences of caddying in their youths, and as well starting Murray's ascent into the movie stratosphere, the film also helped launch the big-screen career of fellow SNL -er Chevy Chase.
Worst: Space Jam (1996)
Once again, Murray proves that if you need a glimmer of relief in an otherwise dull film, he's your man. This Looney Tunes basketball movie, in which Michael Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny to defeat the Monstars, was a mega-hit, but it offered little that was exciting or innovative, and felt overlong at 88 minutes.
When you feel like you can't take any more of leading man Jordan, thankfully an in-jokey substitution bumps Murray (playing himself as a producer and wannabe player) onto the court. He shows off a couple of nifty moves too...
Best: Quick Change (1990)
Murray literally plays the clown in this bank-robbery comedy, which he also co-directed (something he hasn't done before or since). Grimm (Murray) successfully robs a Manhattan bank while dressed as a clown and strapped to the neck with explosives, but then he finds it impossible to escape the city.
He's joined by accomplices Geena Davis and Randy Quaid, as pretty much everything that can go wrong on the way to the airport does. Murray is on fine form as the beleaguered crim, making the growing frustration palpable.
Worst: Kingpin (1996)
Bill was directed by the Farrelly brothers in this bowling comedy, and, as he is wont to do whenever he appears in substandard fare, he hogged all of the best gags.
Aside from his role as antagonist and tenpin ace Ernie McCracken, you're more likely to holler in disgust at the gross-out gags than laugh out loud at any real wit.
If you can hang on until the end, it's worth it to see Murray's combover becoming ever-more dishevelled during a heated game.
Best: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Bill had a small but highly amusing cameo in the ever-popular musical comedy. Seymour (Rick Moranis) grows a plant, named Audrey II, that develops a taste for human flesh and a gutsy singing voice (courtesy of Levi Stubbs).
Murray pops up as a deranged dental patient, compulsively requesting surgery from Steve Martin's equally oddball molar man. The guys have limited screen time, but their scenes are among the most enduringly memorable things about the movie (well, on top of the enormous, singing, venus fly trap, of course).
Worst: The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
How funny you find the pun-tastic title of this espionage comedy will probably serve as a good indicator for how much you'll enjoy the whole product. Sadly not even Bill can save this one, as he isn't given much of a chance to shine amid the uninspired gags.
His character is mistaken for a spy on a trip to London, and before you can say 007 he's in over his head. There's always comedy potential in mistaken identity set-ups, but this one could make you believe otherwise. A wasted idea and a wasted Murray.