Back to the film shot in Kentucky


It wasn’t the first big movie set in Kentucky – “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “How the West Was Won” and “The Kentuckian” are a few that came before – but for Louisvillians, the comedy classic “Grooves” perhaps the best known and most beloved production to come out of the state of Bluegrass.

Starring Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, John Candy and others, the film remains one of the biggest box office hits shot in Kentucky. According to Mojo ticket office, when “Stripes” came out in 1981, it grossed $ 85,297,000. Only “Seabiscuit” (2003), which grossed $ 120,277,854 nationally, surpassed the box office comeback of “Stripes” for a movie shot primarily in Kentucky.

This year the film turns 40, and in honor of that milestone, select theaters across the country will showcase the Kentucky classic this month with an exclusive director introduction. Ivan Reitman and Murray.

“Grooves” stars Murray as John Winger, a man who loses everything he has in a day and decides his only option is to volunteer for the military, taking his best friend Russell (Ramis) along with him.

in November 1980 and surrounded by a film crew and spectators, Bill Murray and Jan Ryan, next to a taxi, film a scene from "Stripes on the bygone River City Mall which is now Fourth Street.

It was the first close-up in the spotlight for Louisville-born actor Sean Young and other newcomers to Hollywood, including John Larroquette, Judge Reinhold, John Diehl and Timothy Busfield. It also stars PJ Soles, Bill Paxton, John Voldstad, Lance LeGault and Warren Oates, originally from Kentucky.

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If you lived in the Louisville area in 1980, you might remember those six weeks Hollywood came to town. The cast and crew filmed the basic training scenes at fort knox. Scenes from Czechoslovakia were filmed on Jim Beam’s property Chapèze Distillery in Clermont.

The film crew and cast also spent several days filming scenes around Louisville on Washington Street and W. Main Street, a barber shop on W. Market Street, and perhaps the most recognizable, the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge, known locally as the Second Street Bridge.

Bill Murray, center right, awaiting the start of a filming scene at Clark Memorial Bridge in November 1980.

After production left Kentucky in December 1980, the film ended filming at Burbank Studios in California.

Murray has returned to Kentucky several times since the founding of “Stripes” in 1980. His son, Luke, is an assistant basketball coach under the direction of head coach Chris Mack at University of Louisville and the A-list actor has been seen several times in the stands.

He’s also a karaoke fan and is said to have signed with strangers at one of Louisville’s oldest taverns, Schnitzelburg’s. Old Hickory Inn at 1038 Lydia St. Song picks, we are told, included “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and “Suffragette City”.

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Actor Bill Murray is seen during the shooting of the movie, "Grooves," at Fort.  Knox Military Base.  November 26, 1980

As for “Stripes,” whether it’s your 10th time seeing the classic movie or your first, Fathom Events’ special “Stripes 40th Anniversary” screening will include a fun take on the making of the film and special deleted scenes. Especially for those of us who live in the state it was made.

And “it is, Jack!”

Contact Kirby Adams at or Twitter @kirbylouisville.

’40th anniversary stripes’

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis during the filming of "Grooves" at Fort Knox in December 1980.

WHAT: See the classic movie “Stripes” on the big screen with a new special featurette before the movie. Join actor Bill Murray and director Ivan Reitman as they sit down together 40 years later and give fans a glimpse into their time filming “Stripes”.

OR: Regal New Albany Stadium 16, 300 Professional Court, New Albany, Indiana; Tinseltown Louisville, 4400 Towne Center Drive, Louisville; Preston Crossing 16, 9700 Preston Crossing Blvd., Okolona

WHEN: August 29 at 3 p.m.

MORE INFORMATION: For a full list of theater venues and additional times, visit (theaters and participants are subject to change).

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