Happy Gilmore (1996)



Critic Consensus: Those who enjoy Adam Sandler's schtick will find plenty to love in this gleefully juvenile take on professional golf; those who don't, however, will find it unfunny and forgettable.

Happy Gilmore Videos

Happy Gilmore Photos

Movie Info

Adam Sandler's second popular starring vehicle after Billy Madison is a goofy lowbrow paean to golf, hockey, and the comic hysterics of its childlike star. In Happy Gilmore, Sandler plays the title character, a raw, determined, but ultimately untalented hockey player who keeps trying out for the pros. When Happy discovers his grandmother (Frances Bay) will lose her home if she doesn't fork over 270,000 dollars to the IRS, he tries to figure out how he can possibly scrounge up the cash. An idea strikes during a game of one-upmanship with a couple furniture movers stripping his grandmother's home: On his first-ever swing, he drives a golf ball farther than the movers have ever seen. Before long, he has transplanted the foul-mouthed, aggressive persona of the hockey rink to the links, winning an amateur tourney that earns him a spot on the pro tour. Throttling everyone from a helpless caddy to game show host Bob Barker during the course of his 90-day quest to amass prize money, Happy also wins the sport a legion of new fans with his in-your-face style. Guiding him on his quest is a whimsical retired pro who lost his hand to an alligator (Carl Weathers) and an attractive public relations woman charmed by Happy's antics (Julie Bowen). Opposing him, however, is sneering hotshot Shooter McGavin (Christopher McDonald), who will do anything to win his championship jacket and see Happy fail.
PG-13 (language and some comic sexuality)
Comedy , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
MCA Universal Home Video

Watch it now


Adam Sandler
as Happy Gilmore
Julie Bowen
as Virginia
Frances Bay
as Grandma
Carl Weathers
as Chubbs
Robert Smigel
as IRS Agent
Bob Barker
as Himself
Richard Kiel
as Mr. Larson
Dennis Dugan
as Doug Thompson
Joe Flaherty
as Donald (The Jeering Fan)
Lee Trevino
as Himself
Kevin Nealon
as Gary Potter
Verne Lundquist
as Announcer
Jared Van Snellenberg
as Happy's Waterbury Caddy
Ben Stiller
as Hal L.
Ken Camroux
as Coach
Rich Elwood
as Assistant Coach
Helena Yea
as Chinese Lady
Will Sasso
as Mover
Ellie Harvey
as Registrar
Ian Boothby
as Guy on Green
Andrew Johnston
as Crowd Guy--Waterbury
Kimberly Restell
as Crowd Girl--Waterbury
Fred Perron
as Waterbury Heckler
Helen Honeywell
as Crazy Old Lady
Ellie Harvie
as Registrar
Paul Raskin
as Starter No. 1
William Samples
as Starter No. 2
John Shaw
as Daniel Lafferty
Ted Deekin
as Auctioneer
John Destrey
as Zamboni Driver
Jim Crescenzo
as Shooters AT&T Caddy
Brett Armstrong
as Shooters Tournament Caddy
Ted Deeken
as Auctioneer
Stephen Tibbetts
as Pro Golfer
Edward Lieberman
as Pro Golfer
Donald MacMillan
as Young Happy
Louis O'Donoghue
as Happy's Dad
Lisanne Collett
as Happy's Mom
Stephen Dimopoulos
as Italian Guy
Douglas Newell
as Starter No. 4
Frank L. Frazier
as Blue Collar Fan
David Kaye
as Reporter
Zachary Webb
as Batting Kid
Simon Webb
as Doctor
Mark Lye
as Himself
Betty Linde
as Elderly Woman
Dave Cameron
as Reporter No. 2
Lou Kliman
as Reporter No. 3
Brent Chapman
as Official
Jessica Gunn
as Signed Chest Woman
Phillip Beer
as Cowboy Joe
Fat Jack
as Jack Beard
Michelle Holdsworth
as Babe on Green
Charles L. Brame
as Abe Lincoln
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Happy Gilmore

Critic Reviews for Happy Gilmore

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (13)

The comedy is never more than sudden, outsized explosions of violence from the otherwise placid, childlike Happy. But director Dugan maximizes the laughs through careful timing and counterpoint.

Full Review… | February 16, 2016
New York Daily News
Top Critic

[A] one-joke Caddyshack for the blitzed and jaded.

Full Review… | April 15, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

There are about three minutes of funny material in Happy Gilmore, and pretty much all of them are in the trailer.

Full Review… | April 15, 2008
Top Critic

Superior disposable comedy.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It may smell awful from a distance, especially if you have low tolerance for lowbrow humor, but up close this yarn about an unlikely golf star is fairly painless.

Full Review… | June 18, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

You don't feel that Sandler and director Dennis Dugan are trying for the kind of subversiveness that might just make Happy's brutal anarchy more effective.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Happy Gilmore

Sandler's second major starring vehicle is his riff on 1980's Caddyshack, another golf comedy. His idea of funny is to transplant the loud obnoxious environment of the hockey rink to the quiet, sophisticated atmosphere of the golf course. It's clear Happy has an anger problem and he's frequently given to losing his cool. The humor is lowbrow and a lot of it rests on Happy Gilmore's boorish demeanor as contrasted with stuffed shirt Shooter McGavin, a villain embodied in full hissable glory by Christopher McDonald. At first there's sort of an idiotic joy in seeing Happy's aggressive behavior conflict with the civilized gold pros. A confrontation with Bob Barker of TV's The Price is Right is a savage delight. But he doesn't remain that way. As the plot develops, Happy becomes more likable. I think it's relevant to point out that Happy begins as a flawed character, unable to control his temper. By managing his emotions and finding his "happy place" he finds success. Nice moral. It's not as inspired as something like There's Something About Mary from the same era. However Happy Gilmore has achieved a cult status and like all such films it improves with repeated viewings. fastfilmreviews.wordpress.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

It's sad to see where Adam Sandler is right now and compare him to what he was like in the 90's. It just makes you wonder one thing: What happened? Happy Gilmore is definately one of the better movies that Sandler has been in. He plays Happy Gimore, a hockey player with a reputation for being violent towards anybody who pisses him off. (I'm sure he'd beat up a 90 year old man if he was mad enough.) So Happy's grandmother is losing her house because of unpaid taxes and he decides to get the money by winning a golf tournament. It turns out he's a natural when it comes to driving the ball long distances. The thing about this movie is that it's actually funny. There were some jokes where I was like "Come on, you're 90's Adam Sandler, you can do so much better." Some jokes were dumb, but there are surprisingly a lot of parts that made me laugh my ass off. Ben Stiller as the nursing home orderly...that's really all I have to say. Anytime you slap a mustache on Ben Stiller, he's instantly a dick to everyone and he makes for some very funny scenes. Most of the film's humor revolves around Happy's behavior, stuff like him beating people up and cussing and it works for this movie. The jokes aren't as crude or idiotic as they could've been. One would think that seeing Happy beat people up would get old halfway through the movie, but his violence just provides so much entertainment. The fight between him and Bob Barker is hands down my favorite scene in the entire movie. Not just the actual fight made me laugh, but the build up to it also cracked me up. The guy who is always yelling "Jackass!" is the best character in the movie. For a comedy, the cast is pretty decent. Frances Bay, Christopher McDonald are all good in their roles (I didn't really care for Julie Bowen) but it surprised me how Carl Weathers held up as Chubbs. He's the basic mentor with a backstory, but he provided some good laughs, as did the rest of the supporting cast. Happy Gilmore is a stupid movie, but in a good way. Back in the 90's Adam Sandler movies were known for their stupidity, but the stupid stuff was also the funny stuff. Now with stuff like Jack and Jill and Just go with it, it's just plain stupid. Happy Gilmore is no perfect comedy, but it's enjoyable as hell and it does it's job of being watchable and making me laugh.

Tyler Robertson
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer


A good time, nothing more, nothing less.

Albert Kim
Albert Kim

Super Reviewer

Happy Gilmore Quotes

Discussion Forum

Discuss Happy Gilmore on our Movie forum!

News & Features