American actor and comedian, Bill Murray, with a groundhogGroundhog Day was born from a weather lore that originated in Germany. The animal that Germans typically looked for weather predictions was the badger, but the United States and Canada decided on the groundhog. One of the largest celebrations of this Dutch tradition occurs every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the location in which the plot of the critically-acclaimed film, Groundhog Day, is set. The film focuses on the life of one man, Phil Connors who is played by Bill Murray. He is a television weatherman who seems irritated with his occupational duties. While working on a project in Punxsutawney to highlight the Groundhog Day festivities, Connors realizes that he is living in a continuous loop of the same day – Feb. 2. Throughout the film, he is portrayed as egocentric, but after a long time period, the viewer will observe Connors immense change in character. Rather than being a selfish brute, he begins to commit acts of kindness and service. In addition, Connors sincerely and benevolently reports on Punxsutawney’s celebration of Groundhog Day while catching the eye of his television producer. The following morning, he awakens to realize he has finally escaped the loop.

An exciting fact about this film is that a majority of it was shot here in Illinois. Four Illinois’ locations played a role in successfully capturing the ideal environment the director envisioned. These included Woodstock, Cary, McHenry and Nimtz Quarry in Loves Park.

Woodstock was the primary location for the film, as it provided the necessary resources and sets. The Woodstock Town Square, former courthouse, Woodstock Opera House, Woodstock City Lanes, and the Woodstock Moose Lodge all contributed to fundamental scenes. The production crew built the Tip Top Bistro for the Groundhog Day film. However, local demand later resulted in a real diner being established at its location.

Further, McHenry is the city where scenes for Gobbler’s Knob were shot. In Groundhog Day, Connors committed a few tragic and fatal acts as an attempt to end his repetitive days. During one of these segments, Connors drives off a cliff. This scene was shot in Nimtz Quarry. This area may be found in Loves Park.

Overall, Harold Ramis, the director of Groundhog Day, selected Illinois for this particular production because he enjoyed the area and was certain that it contained all the necessary resources to make the film a success.

On this Groundhog Day, watch this classical film of philosophical and comedic debate and admire its Illinois roots.

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