A Christmas Story
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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for A Christmas Story can be found here.

More than anything, nine-year-old Ralph "Ralphie" Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas ...if only he can convince Santa Claus, his mother (Melinda Dillon), and his old man (Darren McGavin) that he won't shoot his eye out with it.

A Christmas Story is based on a 1966 anthology of short stories, titled In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by American author Jean Shepherd [1920-1999]. Shepherd also helped to adapt his stories to the screen for A Christmas Story, and it is his voice narrating the movie.

The story takes place in 1940 (based on the fact that Ralphie's "Little Orphan Annie" decoder pin displays "1940" on it); in the fictional northern Indiana town of Hohman (based on real-life Hammond, Indiana, where writer Jean Shepherd grew up). Scenes from outside the Parkers' house were shot on location in the Tremont neighborhood on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio. The house used in the filming, called The Christmas Story House, has since been refurbished on the inside to look like it looked during the filming. There's a museum and a gift shop located across the street.

They cut a small hole on the flag pole and had a vacuum hose attached that would suck in Flick (Scott Schwartz)'s tongue. The hose trick worked so well that Scott was actually stuck to the pole until they would turn the hose off. Rumor has it that they actually played a prank on him one day on the set and left the hose on while they all went to lunch.

Pouring warm water over it will usually work.

Yes, it was, although it didn't go by the name Ralphie uses in the film ("Official Red Ryder 200-shot carbine-action range-model air rifle"). It was called the Red Ryder BB Gun. It was first produced in 1938 and became wildly popular. The features Ralphie describes, "a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time" were not features of the original model. Since the Red Ryder wasn't produced until 1938 and the film takes place in 1940, Mr Parker's claim that he had one when he was eight years old is impossible, although it is probable that the Old Man had an entirely different BB rifle that was available when he was a kid.

On Christmas morning, excited to try out his Red Ryder BB gun, Ralphie takes it outside, sets up his metal target, and fires off one shot that ricochets back and knocks off his glasses. While attempting to find the glasses in the snow, he accidentally steps on them. He devises a cover story and tells his mother that an icicle fell off the garage and hit him. While his mother applies first aid to his eye and his father reads the funnies, the Bumpuses' dogs get into the house and go straight for the turkey. Before anyone can stop them, the dogs totally demolish the prized bird. The Parkers end up eating Christmas dinner at the only place open on Christmas Day: N'Goot Lee's Chop Suey Palace and Bowling Alley. In the final scene, as his parents share glasses of wine and admire the falling snow, Randy (Ian Petrella) and Ralphie lay tucked in bed, Ralphie's BB gun beside him. A voiceover by adult Ralphie says that the Red Ryder was the best present he had ever received.


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