National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot Summary

  • The Griswold family are on a quest. A quest to a Walley World theme park for a family vacation, but things aren't going to go exactly as planned, especially when Clark Griswold is losing all thought towards a mysterious blonde in a red Ferrari.

    - Written by FilmFanUK
  • The Griswold family, father Clark W., wife Ellen, daughter Audrey and son Rusty, set out in high spirit to spend their vacation driving cross-country from Chicago to a glorious climax in Walley World on the West Coast. The trip which Clark planned down to the minute, slowly loses its smoothness from the moment the first grain of sand gets in. A meeting with constantly-in-debt, simple-minded cousin Eddie results in the Griswold family giving cantankerous aunt Edna a lift to Phoenix. Of course, the Griswolds receive one strike of bad luck after another, and when they finally arrive at Walley World, they have to find out that the park is closed for maintenance. But Clark promised his beloved family the best vacation ever...

    - Written by Julian Reischl <julianreischl@mac.com>
  • Chicago resident Clark Wilhelm Griswold Jr., his wife Ellen Griswold, his son Russell "Rusty" Griswold, and his daughter Audrey Griswold have prepared to go on vacation to Wally World, a Disney-like amusement park located in Los Angeles. Clark has planned this trip right down to every last single solitary detail, but on the way to Los Angeles, things get complicated. First, they get lost in East St. Louis, Illinois, where Clark asks a belligerent pimp for directions as the pimp's henchmen are secretly stealing the car's hubcaps, then they stop in Dodge City, Kansas to see what the old west was like. After this, they head to Coolidge, Kansas to spend a night with Ellen's cousin Catherine and Catherine's sloppy husband Eddie, and they pick up Ellen's annoying Aunt Edna and her vicious dog Dinky from Eddie and Catherine's house so they can take Edna and Dinky to Phoenix, Arizona, where Edna's son Normy lives. During the visit at Eddie's, Eddie's son Dale shows Rusty some porno magazines, and Eddie's daughter Vicki shows Audrey a shoebox full of pot. After leaving Eddie and Catherine's house, the Griswolds head to a picnic area, where they discover that Dinky has urinated on the picnic basket. Later, when the Griswolds get to South Fork, Colorado, they spend a night at a Kamp Komfort, a campsite that has smelly tents. When they leave on the next day, they accidentally drag Dinky to his death behind the car. When they reach a desert region of Arizona, the Griswolds narrowly skirt death after crashing through a roadblock sign and messing up the car, and after Clark treks through the desert to find a gas station, the car is repaired by a pair of greedy mechanics who want all of Clark's money for doing the repairs, which are very shoddy. When the Griswolds run out of money, Clark is forced to swipe some money from a hotel where he tried to get a check cashed, this being while Ellen, Rusty, and Audrey look at the Grand Canyon just outside the hotel. After the Griswolds leave this hotel, Edna dies in the car. That night, the Griswolds head into Phoenix, Arizona, and leave Edna's body at Normy's house. After a makeshift funeral service, they leave Normy's house. Clark starts going crazy because things haven't gone right on this vacation, and the way Clark scheduled it, they should have already been at Wally World. Will they ever get to Wally World, and will they get to enjoy it?

    - Written by Todd Baldridge
  • Follows the Griswold family, Clark and Ellen along with their two children Rusty and Audrey, as they venture westward from the suburbs of Chicago to the Disneyland-like theme park, Walley World. Clark has planned the trip down the last detail, including seeing the world's largest ball of twine. However, Clark's pursuit of adventure is matched by his dimwitted bumbling, leading to a vacation his family will not soon forget.

    - Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>
  • Chicago native Clark Griswold has decided to take his wife ,Ellen, kids 14 year-old Rusty and 12 year-old Audrey to a Los Angles theme park called Walley World. But when Audrey takes up pot smoking and Rusty reads porno magazines, annoying Cousin Eddie sends spiteful Aunt Edna to join them on their trip, the Griswolds get stuck in the ghetto, Aunt Edna dies, Clark drives off the road, hillbillies take all their money, and Clark is shot at in a Dodge City bar, will their vacation be all it was cracked up to be?

    - Written by DancingChicken2005
  • The Griswold family's cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.

    - Written by Kenneth Chisholm


Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) is a food processing salesman living in Chicago, Illinois who wants to spend more time with wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) and his teen children Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron)...

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