Ghostbusters is a 1984 American supernatural comedy film directed by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The film stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City, who start a ghost catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a potential client and her neighbor. It was released in the United States on June 8, 1984 and made US$238,632,124 in the United States. The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list of film comedies.
The film was followed by a sequel, Ghostbusters II in 1989, and two animated television series, The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters. As of May 2013, a third feature film still remains uncertain.
Following their first encounter with a ghost, misfit parapsychologists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Raymond Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) lose their jobs atColumbia University. Unable to research their discovery, the trio establish a paranormal exterminator service known as "Ghostbusters" in a former firehouse. With no customers and dwindling funds, they are eventually hired by the Sedgewick Hotel manager to investigate a haunting. At the hotel, they capture their first ghost and deposit it in a "containment unit" in the firehouse basement. Paranormal activity begins to increase in New York City; the Ghostbusters become celebrities containing it, but are increasingly burdened by their hectic schedule. The group hire a fourth member, Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson), to help them cope with the demand.
The Ghostbusters are retained by Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), whose apartment is haunted by a demonic spirit, Zuul, a demigod worshipped as a servant to Gozer the Gozerian, aSumerian shape-shifting god of destruction. Venkman takes a particular interest in the case, competing with Dana's neighbor, Louis Tully (Rick Moranis), for her affection. As the Ghostbusters investigate, Dana is possessed by Zuul, which declares itself "The Gatekeeper", and Louis by a similar demon called Vinz Clortho, "The Keymaster." Both demons speak of the coming of the destructive Gozer, and the Ghostbusters plan to keep the two apart. Thereafter, the Ghostbusters' office is visited by Walter Peck (William Atherton), a lawyer representing the EPA, who has the team arrested for operating an unlicensed nuclear device and orders their ghost containment grid deactivated, unleashing hundreds of captured ghosts onto the city. Freed from the Ghostbusters' custody, Louis/Vinz advances toward Dana/Zuul's apartment while the escaped ghosts wreak havoc throughout the city.
Consulting blueprints of Dana's apartment, the Ghostbusters learn that mad doctor and cult leader Ivo Shandor, claiming humanity was too sick to survive after the horrors of World War I, designed the building as a gateway to summon Gozer and bring about the end of the world. The Ghostbusters are released from custody to combat the paranormal activity, but are unable to prevent the arrival of Gozer, who initially appears as a woman (Slavitza Jovan). Briefly subdued by the team, Gozer disappears, but her voice echoes that the "destructor" will follow, taking a form chosen by the team. Venkman, realizing that whatever they think of will appear as a destroying force, urges his comrades to avoid giving form to the destructor by clearing their minds. Unable to keep his mind blank, Stantz remembers a beloved corporate mascot from childhood, "something that could never, ever possibly destroy us," whereupon the destructor arrives in the form of Stantz's giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, which begins laying waste to the city. To defeat it, the team combine the energy streams of their proton packs (which Egon advised against earlier) against Gozer's portal to our world. A single explosion banishes Gozer back from whence it came, seals the gateway between the worlds, and destroys the Marshmallow Man. Soon thereafter, Dana and Louis are freed from the remains of their possessors. As hundreds of New Yorkers wipe marshmallow goo from their faces, the Ghostbusters are applauded by the city's population.
- Bill Murray as Dr. Peter Venkman
- Dan Aykroyd as Dr. Raymond "Ray" Stantz
- Sigourney Weaver as Dana Barrett
- Harold Ramis as Dr. Egon Spengler
- Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore
- Rick Moranis as Louis Tully
- Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz
- William Atherton as Walter Peck
- David Margulies as Mayor Lenny
- Slavitza Jovan as Gozer
- Paddi Edwards as Gozer (voice)
The cast also includes Alice Drummond as a librarian, Jennifer Runyon as an ESP volunteer, Reginald VelJohnson as a jail guard, and director Ivan Reitman provides the voice of Zuul and Slimer. Roger Grimsby, Larry King, Joe Franklin, and Casey Kasem make cameo appearances in the film.