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We see Phil Connors learn many different skills including playing the piano, sculpting ice and card-throwing.

After he learns his "life lesson" and breaks the time loop, does he still retain all of these talents?

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    Been a long time since I have seen this one, but if he remembered everything from the loops into the last one, then broke the loop because he learned his lesson, and remembered the lesson he was suppose to learn it stands to reason that he would have remembered everything that had happened since the first loop so that he would know what he had done to create the necessity to learn the lesson in the first place... IMO...
    – Odin1806
    Feb 2, 2019 at 20:00
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    Happy Groundhog Day 2019 everyone! Phil didn't see his shadow, so early Spring!
    – Skooba
    Feb 2, 2019 at 20:09
  • @Odin1806 exactly. The movie would be really boring, not to mention endless, if Phil didn't remember the previous days. Feb 2, 2019 at 21:55
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    @Odin1806 I wouldn't be so quick to conclude that without some backing. Remembering only the lesson learned is sometimes used as a form of a common trope.
    – jpmc26
    Feb 3, 2019 at 2:14

3 Answers 3

84

In several earlier drafts of the film script it's made completely explicit that he does indeed retain these abilities as well as his memories of the entire experience.

PHIL: Did I just dream it?

[Phil opens the door and runs into the hallway wearing only pajama bottoms.]

RITA: Phil? Phil!

[Rita sits up in bed and waits. Suddenly, from somewhere else in the inn comes the sound of Phil at the piano expertly playing a difficult classical piece. He stops after a few bars.]

PHIL (O.C.): Yeah!!!!

[Phil runs back into the room.]

PHIL: It really happened! You're really here!

Although the scene was ultimately trimmed down, there doesn't seem to be any good reason to assume that this doesn't continue to be the case.

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    "PHIL (O.C.)" I assume this means "off camera", is that correct?
    – VLAZ
    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:56
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    @VLAZ - Yes. The most common abbreviation/acronyms you'll see on scripts are O.C. (off-camera), V.O. (Voice-over), INT/EXT (Interior/Exterior) and [BEAT] (a short pause for effect); screenwriting.info/glossary.php
    – Valorum
    Feb 4, 2019 at 11:58
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    "wearing only pajama bottoms" At a late stage they realised that if they depicted Phil in pajamas on waking up 'tomorrow' it could lead the audience to believe he & Rita had sex before the loop was broken. It took one of the female production staff(?) to comment that would completely ruin the movie for her. She made a good call. They changed it to show him waking up in the same 'street clothes' he'd worn the day before. Feb 7, 2019 at 17:14
11

It is not clear at what point the loop is "officially" broken, but Phil demonstrates several of his skills over the course of that last day. He clearly seems to retain knowledge about the town on the morning of February 3, and absent some reason to think otherwise, I think he would have retained everything he learned. (The producers have commented that Phil spent something like ten subjective years in Punxsutawney.)

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    Ramis since said that it was more like 30-40 years, given what he'd achieved. For me, the card-throwing scene is the kicker. He's spent so long learning everything worthwhile, he's doing anything to make the time pass.
    – Graham
    Feb 3, 2019 at 0:53
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    @Graham - It was 40 years in the final analysis, but in earlier drafts it was thousands of years
    – Valorum
    Feb 3, 2019 at 7:50
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    Eesh, that'd really drive you mad. Jack and Teal'c in SG1 were losing the plot after just a few weeks, which seemed more believable! (N.B. their time loop was some 2.4x tighter, though) Feb 4, 2019 at 13:07
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    It is not clear at what point the loop is "officially" broken It's pretty strongly hinted the loop ended when they kiss in this scene. It's starts to snow and Phil kind-of reacts to it. You can tell his reaction is a little bit of "wait, this seems a little different."
    – LarsTech
    Feb 4, 2019 at 18:55
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    It's funny, I recently read a light novel that involves a comparable loop. They looped the same day 27,756 times (so ~75 subjective years, one of them counted) with the added conditions of it being a school day and someone dying in every loop... of the 3 characters that retained memory in loop, one started going senile, one became a psychotic killer, and one took a slow trip through obsessive, aggressive and eventually cracked. Only the latter of the 3 saw any meaning in the learning skills route. More realistic memory and sanity retention imho.
    – Kaithar
    Feb 5, 2019 at 3:49
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Yes, I would assume Phil kept these talents, because he was supposed to learn a life lesson before the loop reset. We can safely assume that since Phil kept memory of his life lesson, he also retained these skills.

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