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Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

PG  |   |  Family, Comedy  |  22 May 1987 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 8,520 users  
Reviews: 46 user | 9 critic

A group of juvenile criminals is sent for vacation to Kamp Kikakee. The clumsy Ernest has to care for them, although he doesn't even know how to take care of himself. The other children at ... See full summary »


(as John Cherry)


(screenplay) (as John Cherry) , (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lyle Alzado ...
Jake (Chef #1)
Daniel Butler ...
Eddie (Chef #2)
Danny Capri ...
Hakeem Abdul-Samad ...
Todd Loyd ...
Andrew Woodworth ...


A group of juvenile criminals is sent for vacation to Kamp Kikakee. The clumsy Ernest has to care for them, although he doesn't even know how to take care of himself. The other children at the camp show enmity against them, but the group knows very well how to defend themselves. They do also help the Indian owner of the camp when a brutal mining corporation wants to tear down the camp to mine a rare mineral. Written by Tom Zoerner <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Family | Comedy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

22 May 1987 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Trilha do Bravo  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)


$23,509,382 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Along with Mr Bean and Pee wee Herman, Ernest P Worrell is considered to be one of the greatest family entertainers of all time. See more »


During the poker game we see a shot of the woods and the cabin, and a crew member in a blue shirt can be seen standing in the woods. See more »


Ernest P. Worrell: My motto is, "I never met a bad kid."
State Supervisor: Then let me introduce you to some. These misfits were selected by their ward leaders as most in need of help.
[they step over to the boys]
State Supervisor: This here's the ringleader, Bobby Wayne. He's been in and out of institutions like this since he was eleven.
Bobby Wayne: Since I was nine.
State Supervisor: And this here's Crutchfield. Twelve years old and already a master thief.
Crutchfield: [Hands back Ernest's wallet] It's like a... gift or something.
Ernest P. Worrell: Well, thanks
[takes the wallet]
State Supervisor: And here's Danny Simpson. He ...
See more »


Lyrics by Alice Keister
Music by Shane and Aaron Keister
Performed by Gary Chapman
See more »

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User Reviews

The quintessential Ernest film
8 April 2003 | by (Austin, TX) – See all my reviews

"Ernest Goes to Camp", the quintessential Ernest film, introduces the mass population to the dim, innocuous Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney). Many of us had seen the Ernest & Vern commercials prior to the film's release, but the movie gave all of us a special glimpse into the life of this simple country boy.

In this particular film Ernest is the lone handyman at Kamp Kikakee, a summer camp for young boys, whose premise is based on ancient Native American principles and traditions. Ernest enjoys his job and simple life very much, but he longs to be promoted to the position of camp counselor so he can "shape and mold young minds into a focused world view". Ernest may just get his chance...

The state governor has ordered the camp to take part in his Second Chance program, which will allow a group of juvenile deliquents from the State Institute for Boys to take part in the camp's activities, and, hopefully, clean up their acts.

The evil, military-minded Counselor Stennis - who is almost reminiscent of Douglas Niedermeyer from "Animal House" - takes a crack at knocking the second-chancers into place, but strikes out when they stage a coup and break his ankle. Head Counselor/Manger Tipton is in a bind. He knows none of his counselors will want to take charge of the deliquent boys now, so he enlists naive Ernest to do the job.

Ernest takes his new duties, and the boys, very seriously, but the boys could care less about him, until the camp nurse sets them straight (i.e., "Ernest is the only person in the world who even wanted to know you"). Meanwhile, a strip mining company on the upper part of the river has been trying to talk Chief St. Cloud, owner of the campgrounds, into turning the land over to them so they can mine the land for petrocite. The Chief, who speaks no english, turns the mining company down twice, through his granddaughter (the camp nurse). Lo and behold, Sherman Krader, the mining company CEO, cons Ernest - the only other person at the camp who can speak the Chief's native Indian language - into getting the Chief to sign the release papers.

The camp is going to close. The second-chancers will be sent back to the state institution. This looks like a job for ERNEST! He and the deliquents devise a plan to scare away the strip mining company, which involves blowing up all of their equipment. The plan doesn't really work because Sherman Krader arrives on the scene with a fully-loaded rifle to shoot ring-leader Ernest (and...let's face the real world Ernest and the kids would have been sued because of their thoughtless plan). Luckily though, the camp nurse went behind them all and got the judge to issue a restraining order against the mining company. Later, Krader's attorney admits that they bamboozled the Chief so the camp is saved, the second-chancers get to stay at the camp year-round, and Ernest becomes a full-fledged counselor (although he still performs his handyman duties).

A string of inferior Ernest films were released, up until Jim Varney's death a few years ago (he was 51). "Ernest Goes to Camp" is the only one worth seeing, unless you have children who might enjoy the films. I was nine years-old when I saw this flick in the theater, and I still enjoy it! Saw it on DVD for the first time today!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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