An entrepreneurial ghost-removal service runs into opposition from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — and other creatures of evil. [ Ghostbusters credits: Dir: Ivan Reitman/ Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis/ 105 min/ Comedy, Sci-Fi Fantasy, Horror/ Creator-as-Hero, Anti-Regulation, Pro-Capitalism]
“Personally, I like the university. They gave us money and facilities. We didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector. They expect results.” So whines a former professor, after he and his department are cut from the university staff. As subsidized professors, they were corrupt and barely competent; but once tossed into the entrepreneurial marketplace, they quickly become real producers, “ready to serve your supernatural elimination needs.”
As it turns out, these “Ghostbusters” are entering the market at just the right time. It seems that all hell is breaking loose, as it were, in New York City — ghosts are showing up everywhere. The Ghostbusters succeed in capturing many of these renegade spirits, for a fee of course. But then a blundering, high-handed EPA official arrives at their office and mistakenly releases all they’ve captured. The release in turn awakens an ancient, evil god, “Gozer, the Destructor.” In a climactic conflict, it’s Ghostbusters vs. Gozer, with the fate of the world in the balance.
Ghostbusters captures much of what its like to start a business, including the inevitable interference of government and the rocky road to success. It presents the entrepreneurs as heroes and the EPA man who opposes them as obnoxious and authoritarian. It’s also first-rate entertainment. The comedic acting is consistently hilarious, Sigourney Weaver’s performance as a possessed nymphomaniac being particularly inspired. Artful special effects also add much. This film was so popular it inspired a sequel, a cartoon series, and untold merchandising. The catchy “Who you gonna call?” title song was a chart-topping hit in its own right.
“Ghostbusters is the most libertarian Hollywood blockbuster of all time.”
“There is no better comic articulation of the Reagan era than Ghostbusters.”
–Wall Street Journal
Econ Pop: The Economics of Ghostbusters
How to See It
“”I’ve always been something of a conservative-slash-libertarian. The first movie deals with going into business for yourself, and it’s anti-EPA—too much government regulation. It does have a very interesting point of view that really resonates.”
—iGhostbusters Director, Ivan Reitman