Stripes, the beloved '80s comedy starring Bill Murray along with his Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis, is back on Netflix just in time for the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, in which the passing of Ramis's character plays a key role in the plot. Comedy legend John Candy also headlined the film, which featured a cast of stars (and then-future stars) that included Sean Young (Dune, Blade Runner), Warren Oates (Two Lane Blacktop, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia), Timothy Busfield (The West Wing, Thirtysomething), John Larroquette (Night Court, Richie Rich), Judge Reinhold (the Beverly Hills Cop franchise), and P.J. Soles (Halloween, Carrie).
Murray's character in Stripes finds himself directionless after losing his job and his girlfriend, and convinces his best friend (Ramis) to join the Army with him. Per the official synopsis for the film, "After his barely satisfactory performance in basic training, the irreverent Winger emerges as the figurehead for a ragtag band of Army misfits. However, his hijinks threaten to cause an international scandal when he inadvertently commandeers a military assault vehicle behind enemy lines."
Stripes is somewhat dwarfed by some of Murray's later successes, as well as by Robin Williams's Good Morning, Vietnam, which similarly tackled the idea of a mouthy outsider turning the Army upside down. Still, it remains beloved by critics and fans, and has managed to cement its place in pop culture in the 30 years since its release.
Directed by Reitman, who would bring Murray and Ramis back together in Ghostbusters, Stripes earned around $85 million in theaters upon its release ($257 million when adjusted for inflation) on a budget of about $10 million. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% and an average rating of 6.6/10.
Stripes also has a dedicated fan base among people too young to have watched it in theaters in 1981, because it was a staple of cable TV in the '90s. An extended edition of Stripes was released on DVD on June 7, 2005, with new features and commentary by cast and crew. The film also got a 3-day Fathom Events theatrical release in August and September to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Have you seen Stripes? Are you looking forward to sitting down with it (again) on Netflix over the weekend? Sound off in the comments below, or hit up @russburlingame on Twitter to talk about all the '80s comedies you want.