Garfield: The Movie

Garfield: The Movie is a 2004 American live-action/computer-animated comedy film directed by Peter Hewitt inspired by Jim Davis' comic strip of the same name. It stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield. Garfield was created with computer animation, though all other animals were real. In the film, it follows Garfield, a lazy overweight cat who lives with his owner Jon Arbuckle, but becomes frustrated when Jon buys a second pet which is a dog named Odie. However, when Odie is kidnapped, Garfield must find and rescue his canine friend with the help of his animal friends. The film was produced by Davis Entertainment Company and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Garfield: The Movie was released in the United States on June 11, 2004. While the film received negative reviews from critics, it was a box office success, grossing $200 million on a $50 million budget.[1] A sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released in June 2006.

Garfield: The Movie
Garfield ver6.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Hewitt
Produced byJohn Davis
Written by
Based onGarfield
by Jim Davis
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited by
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • June 11, 2004 (2004-06-11)
Running time
80 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$50 million[1]
Box office$200.8 million[1]


Garfield is an overweight, lazy and free-spirited orange cat who lives with his owner Jon Arbuckle. Garfield passes his time by antagonizing Jon and teasing his aggressive neighbor, Luca, a Doberman. Aside from Jon, Garfield maintains an unlikely friendship with a helpful mouse, Louis. He also socializes with his fellow neighborhood cats, including Garfield's stooge Nermal and Arlene.

Meanwhile, a local television host, Happy Chapman, known for his cat "Persnikitty" is introduced as supposedly a happy man. In reality he is allergic to cats, jealous of his brother Walter J. Chapman, a news reporter, and destined to be more successful by performing on the TV show Good Day New York. Jon has made a habit of bringing Garfield to the veterinarian, in order to see vet Dr. Liz Wilson (whom he is in love with). Jon tries to ask her out, but due to a misunderstanding, he is given custody of a dog named Odie, who is lovable, playful and friendly. Regardless, Jon and Liz begin dating. Garfield however, begins to dislikes Odie and tries to get rid of him from the household by getting revenge. Odie is brought to a canine talent show, where Liz is a judge. Garfield gets involved in an altercation there with other dogs, which moves Odie to the center of the ring, where he begins dancing to "Hey Mama" by the Black Eyed Peas.

Odie's improvised performance is a hit. Happy Chapman, who also is a judge of the dog show, is impressed with Odie, and offers Jon a television deal for Odie, but Jon declines, making Happy more determined than ever to upstage his brother. When Garfield comes back, he hits a ball in frustration, causing a chain reaction that trashes Jon's house. When Jon finds the house in ruins later, he forces Garfield to sleep outside for the night. Heartbroken, Garfield sadly sings ("New Dog State of Mind"). When Odie comes out to comfort Garfield, he gets inside and locks Odie out on purpose. Nermal and Arlene witness this as Odie runs away where he is then picked up by an elderly woman named Mrs. Baker. Jon and Liz search for Odie while the neighborhood animals accuse Garfield of locking Odie out and making him run away the night before while Garfield states that he only was protecting his turf and never wanted Odie to run off. Meanwhile, Chapman and his assistant Wendell find a small "Lost Dog" poster Mrs. Baker created for Odie and, recognizing the lucrative possibilities, claim Odie as Happy's own, instantly kidnapping Odie, and giving Mrs. Baker an autograph.

When Garfield sees Odie on television and hears Chapman announce he and Odie are going to New York City, Garfield sets out to rescue Odie. Jon discovers Garfield is also missing so he alarms Liz to start searching for him. Garfield gets into the broadcast tower via the air vents but he is blown around the building repeatedly. Garfield finds Odie locked in a kennel, but Chapman enters and secures a shock collar to Odie, which, when activated, releases an electric discharge that forces him to perform tricks.

Chapman heads for the train station with Garfield in close pursuit. However, an animal control officer catches Garfield and mistakes him as a stray. Meanwhile, Mrs. Baker tells Jon that Chapman took Odie, making him believe Garfield was taken by Chapman too, Jon and Liz race to Telegraph Tower and then to the train station, after learning Chapman has left. At the same time, Garfield is released from the pound by Chapman's former feline star Persnikitty, whose real name is Sir Roland. Chapman boards a New York-bound train, with Odie in the luggage car. Garfield arrives only to see the train depart. Garfield sneaks into the train system control room and frantically switches the tracks, leading to an impending train wreck. Garfield hits an emergency control and causes the train to return to the station. Garfield frees Odie and they exit the train. However, Chapman chases the two and eventually corners them in a suitcase area. Chapman threatens Odie with the shock collar, but is stopped by Garfield's friends and the animals from the pound, led by Sir Roland. They swarm and attack Chapman, allowing Odie and Garfield to escape.

The shock collar is now on Chapman who gets shocked. Jon and Liz arrive to reclaim the animals and find Chapman disoriented. Jon punches Chapman for stealing both of his pets in the first place, and leaves with Liz and the two animals. Chapman is arrested for his supposed involvement with the trains, as well as for abducting Odie. Garfield regains the respect of his animal friends as a hero. Back at home, Liz and Jon form a relationship, and Garfield learns a lesson about friendship.


Live action actorsEdit

Garfield creator Jim Davis appeared as an uncredited drunken convention attendee, but his role was cut from the final version of the film.

Voice actorsEdit


The film was directed by Peter Hewitt, produced by Davis Entertainment for 20th Century Fox, and stars Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Dr. Liz Wilson, and features Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield.

Bill Murray has claimed he only took the role as Garfield because he mistook the screenplay writer's name, Joel Cohen, for Joel Coen of the Coen brothers. He accepted the role, briefly skimming through the script.[2] Co-writer Alec Sokolow disputed Murray's claim in 2014: "He knew it was not Joel Coen well before he met Joel Cohen. It's a funny take. And it kind of defends him against the criticism of making such an overtly commercial film. But, it's complete horse shit."[3][4]

Filming was at several locations including Los Angeles Union Station with Amtrak locomotives and rolling stock being featured in numerous scenes. Chuck E. Cheese's is mentioned in the film when Garfield leaves to go to the vet while Wendy's was mentioned and shown numerous times throughout the film.

Jim Carrey, Ben Stiller, and Adam Sandler were considered for the role of Jon but all three of them were considered too expensive. Jennifer Garner was considered for the role of Liz, and Brad Dourif and Michael Ironside were considered to play Happy Chapman. Thomas Lennon was cast, but he dropped out after one day because of scheduling conflicts with Reno 911!.

Jack Nicholson was offered the role of Garfield.[5]

According to Jim Davis, Murray recorded his dialogue in his apartment in New York City and on the set of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou in Greece.[5]


The film was released in theaters on June 11, 2004 by 20th Century Fox, which was 8 days before Garfield's 26th anniversary. In theaters, it included an Ice Age short film, Gone Nutty.

Home mediaEdit

Garfield: The Movie was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on VHS and DVD on October 19, 2004. The special features includes a behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes, and the Baha Men music video "Holla!" The film was released on a 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD/digital copy combo pack on October 11, 2011.


Baha Men performed the song "Holla!" for the film and its soundtrack. The music video premiered in early summer 2004 and featured clips from the film and gags showing obvious references to the Garfield franchise (such as lasagna jokes).


Critical receptionEdit

Garfield: The Movie received generally negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 15% based on 136 reviews with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what's left is a simplistic kiddie movie."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 27 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review, rating it a three out of four stars saying the movie was "charming".[9]

Joe Leydon of Variety magazine wrote: "Only very small children still easily impressed by interaction of human actors and CGI quadrupeds will be amused by Garfield."[10] A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "That Garfield speaks in the supercilious, world-weary drawl of Bill Murray is some small consolation, as are a few of the animal tricks."[11]

Murray's responseEdit

Murray said in an interview with GQ that he was confused when he agreed to play the voice of Garfield for the film.[12]

I thought it would be kind of fun, because doing a voice is challenging, and I'd never done that. Plus, I looked at the script, and it said, "So-and-so and Joel Coen." And I thought: Christ, well, I love those Coens! They're funny. So I sorta read a few pages of it and thought, Yeah, I'd like to do that.

Murray continued:

So they went off and shot the movie, and I forgot all about it. Finally, I went out to L.A. to record my lines. And usually when you're looping a movie, if it takes two days, that's a lot. I don't know if I should even tell this story, because it's kind of mean. [beat] What the hell? It's interesting. So I worked all day and kept going, "That's the line? Well, I can't say that." And you sit there and go, What can I say that will make this funny? And make it make sense? And I worked. I was exhausted, soaked with sweat, and the lines got worse and worse. And I said, "Okay, you better show me the whole rest of the movie, so we can see what we're dealing with." So I sat down and watched the whole thing, and I kept saying, "Who the hell cut this thing? Who did this? What the *bleep* was Coen thinking?" And then they explained it to me: It wasn't written by that Joel Coen.

Murray reprised his role two years later in the Cohen co-penned Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.

In Zombieland, when Bill Murray (playing himself) is shot he is asked if he had any regrets before dying. He responds by saying "Garfield, maybe."[12] In the sequel, Zombieland: Double Tap, Murray is shown promoting a fictional third installment and admitting to an interviewer that he does the Garfield films because "Drugs cost money."

Garfield: The Movie on the marquee of a theater in Lakeview, Oregon.

Box officeEdit

Despite the negative reviews, Garfield: The Movie was considered a financial success.

Opening weekend gross US$ 21,727,611
US & Canada US$ 75,369,589
Rest of world US$ 125,434,945
Worldwide US$ 200,804,534


A sequel, titled Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, was released on June 16, 2006 in North America.


  1. ^ a b c d Garfield: The Movie at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Child, Ben (July 21, 2010). "Bill Murray's Garfield blunder – a real-life Lost in Translation". The Guardian. Archived from the original on April 17, 2019. Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Sokolow, Alec. "IAMA Alec Sokolow. AMA". Reddit. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  4. ^ Sokolow, Alec. "Bill Murray here: OK, I'll TALK! I'll TALK!". Reddit. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Griwkowsky, Fish (June 15, 2018). "Garfield's Jim Davis talks lasagna, Bill Murray and 40 years of Earth's most famous cat". Edmonton Journal. Archived from the original on June 22, 2018. Retrieved June 30, 2018.
  6. ^ "Garfield – The Movie". Archived from the original on October 20, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  7. ^ "Garfield". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 18, 2016.
  8. ^ "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 11, 2004). "Garfield: The Movie Movie Review (2004)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  10. ^ Leydon, Joe (June 11, 2004). "Garfield: The Movie". Variety (magazine).
  11. ^ A. O. Scott (June 11, 2004). "A Cat From the Comics, Full of Lasagna".
  12. ^ a b "Bill Murray Is Ready To See You Now". GQ. August 2010. Archived from the original on December 25, 2010. Retrieved March 9, 2011.

External linksEdit