Take the 2-minute tour ×
Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In Ghostbusters I scientist Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) has a very interesting personality, he is always flirting with female clients and is more laid back it seems than the other Ghostbusters. While he is very snippy and cynical would it be correct to consider his character in the movie a narcissist?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

I think the answer to that would be no. Narcissism is a serious psychological disorder. The symptoms, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders include:

Reacting to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
Taking advantage of others to reach their own goals
Exaggerating their own importance, achievements, and talents
Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
Becoming jealous easily
Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others
Being obsessed with oneself
Pursuing mainly selfish goals
Trouble keeping healthy relationships
Becoming easily hurt and rejected
Setting goals that are unrealistic
Wanting "the best" of everything
Appearing unemotional

Narcissists can be quite sadistic in their need to elevate self by putting others down. Venkman had some ego issues, but he was not without empathy - he bonded with his team and he did develop a relationship. The audience liked him. A narcissist does not make a likable character.

share|improve this answer
+1 for the DSMMD quote. –  Rodrigo Guedes Nov 9 '12 at 17:37
Does Venkman exhibit any other signs pointing obviously to a disorder? –  John Dream Nov 11 '12 at 1:12
Just because our “patient” does not exhibit all the symptoms of the disorder, does not mean he could not exhibit some. And some combination of symptoms (of different significance and persistence) is needed for diagnosis. Ideally, we would need someone (some two, actually: at least two independent psychologists are necessary) qualified to actually diagnose. –  theUg Jan 7 '13 at 5:05
My fiancée, health science major with psych minor (not qualified to diagnose) wrote a term paper similarly analysing title character from Good Will Hunting, and while she cannot remember Venkman’s character right now, and Ghostbusters is not a movie with a focus on mental disorders like Good Will Hunting, What About Bob? or A Beautiful Mind etc., stated that while older movies sometimes tended to be all over the map with throwing often conflicting symptoms, Ghostbusters crew was still meant to be a bunch of weirdos (they busting bloody ghosts after all). –  theUg Jan 7 '13 at 5:12
A flat cardboard cut-out of one-dimensional dupe does not make a likeable character also. Maybe clumsily, but authors may well wanted to present a somewhat complex retinue of somewhat dysfunctional blokes. –  theUg Jan 7 '13 at 5:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.