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National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)
"European Vacation" (original title)

R  |   |  Comedy  |  26 July 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 38,850 users  
Reviews: 99 user | 36 critic

The Griswolds win a vacation tour across Europe where the usual havoc ensues.



(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pig in a Poke Host - Kent
Sheila Kennedy ...
Game Show Hostess #1
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The Froeger's Son
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The Griswolds win a vacation to Europe on a game show, and thus pack their bags for the continent. They do their best to catch the flavor of Europe, but they just don't know how to be be good tourists. Besides, they have trouble taking holidays in countries where they CAN speak the language... Written by Murray Chapman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For over two thousand years, Europe has survived many great disasters. Now for the real test... The Griswold's. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

26 July 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

National Lampoon's European Vacation  »

Box Office


$49,400,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "Pig In A Poke" game show host, Kent Winkdale, is a parody of two real-life game show hosts: Wink Martindale, a game show host in the 1970s and 80s (most notably The New Tic Tac Dough (1978)), and Richard Dawson, who often kissed the female contestants on Family Feud (1976). See more »


When Clark mixes up the English hotel rooms, the door on the left leads to the lobby; the one on the right leads to the strange woman. After he meets the strange woman, he runs out and meets Ellen in the hallway, but he emerges from the lobby door, not the strange woman's door. See more »


Ellen Griswold: [In their hotel room in England, Ellen opens a door, only to find a closet, and discovering there is no bathroom] Clark, there's no bathroom.
Clark Griswold: Of course there's a bathroom. Europeans go to the bathroom, don't they?
[Clark opens the door to his left to find another closet with a mattress inside]
Clark Griswold: Maybe they don't.
See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not a vacation to remember
14 February 2011 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

The Griswold's (mis-spelled here as Griswald) European Tour is far inferior to their cross-country trek to Walley World. First time around Clark had a goal, a destination, and pay-off for the audience when he finally got there. Second time around he's just wandering aimlessly from country to country, and it doesn't make for great entertainment I'm afraid.

The Griswold's win the grand prize in a humiliating TV show called 'Pig in a Poke' and are sent to England, France, Germany, and Italy on an all expenses paid trip. The bulk of the humor is a scatter-shot approach to comedy that abuses tired clichés and cultural stereotypes for quick, easy, cheap laughs.

Director Amy Heckerling may have used the first Vacation as a reference, but she doesn't have the control over the film that Harold Ramis did, and frequently allows the actors to ad-lib with the assumption that whatever they do might be funny. Even comedy actors need direction, and Heckerling's poor effort ruins many scenes that had potential. Even her camera placing and angles seem awkward and unbalanced. The grainy, low-key photography is also completely inappropriate for a film featuring such a wide range of scenery. Her use of stock footage is bad too (a shot of the Statue of Liberty shows no Twin Towers of the WTC, which were built in 1972!), and heightens the slapdash nature of the production. A few scenes seem to be edited out of order too, which leads me to believe that the script flowed a little differently before being rewritten (Clark leaves the London hotel, moves literally five feet down the street, then asks for directions back to the hotel).

John Hughes' influence on the script was obviously minimum. Vacation and Christmas Vacation were ficionalised accounts of his own family's experiences. But European Vacation feels like a quick cash-in on the original's success, and co-writer Robert Klane doesn't know how to inject the pathos and satire that was so easy for Hughes.

The European trip is definitely lagging far behind Walley World, Christmas and Las Vegas. A better director and a tighter script would have saved it. But Chase is as watchable as ever, and the only reason to sit through this poorly-made drivel.

13 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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