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The Great Outdoors (1988)

PG  |   |  Comedy  |  17 June 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 26,331 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 17 critic

A Chicago man's hope for a peaceful family vacation in the woods is shattered when the annoying in-laws drop in.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilary Gordon ...
Rebecca Gordon ...
Zoaunne LeRoy ...
John Bloom ...
Britt Leach ...


Big-hearted Chicago family man Chet has brought his family to a lakeside resort area, and although his wife and kids aren't quite as excited as he is, Chet has high hopes for the vacation. However, his optimism is sabotaged when his obnoxious brother-in-law Roman drops in unexpectedly, along with his snooty, strange family. Chet and his family try to stay open-minded, but they find it difficult to relax and enjoy themselves because of the constant annoyance of Roman's presence. Written by William Agee <wa0521@broncho.ucok.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Raccoons: Furry Friends or Masked Menace? See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Big Country  »

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)


$41,455,230 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Debut feature film of actress Annette Bening. See more »


Buck is shown at the carnival in a steady downpour of rain, although neither he nor any of the people are wet. See more »


Chet: You'll have to excuse my brother-in-law. He gets a couple of cocktails in him and he becomes an expert on everything.
Roman: I don't need cocktails for that. Was that a shot?
Chet: No, that was the truth.
Roman: Oh, that was a shot!
Chet: That... was a shot.
Roman: [to the bartender] Speaking of shots, set us up!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Subtitled conversation between two raccoons -- Raccoon #1: "Why's Jody sitting in the lake?" Raccoon #2: "You didn't hear? She got shot in the ass!" Raccoon #1: "Oh no! Don't tell me..." Raccoon #2: "Yup... She's bald on both ends now!" See more »


Hip Hug-Her
Written by Steve Cropper, Booker T. Jones, Al Jackson Jr., and Donald Dunn (as Donald V. Dunn)
Performed by The Elwood Blues Revue
Produced by Steve Cropper
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User Reviews

One of my 80's favorites
10 July 2008 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

As a child of the eighties, its hard not to view this film thru the lens of nostalgia. John Candy is hilarious as the simple but decent family guy who wishes to take his family on a vacation to the great outdoors. His plans are rudely disrupted by his boorish brother in law, who crashes the family event and manages to disrupt all of Candy's plans. While there's nothing particularly stunning or insightful here, its fun and reminds me of days gone by. Although seen thru the eye of comedians, many of us can remember "disastrous" family vacations like this, with relatives that we sometimes couldn't stand and plans gone awry, but still forming some of our most fond memories. It is also somewhat bittersweet for me, as most of the beautiful and rustic locales in the film have disappeared during the intervening years, a loss I hadn't even noticed or thought about until I watched the film again. The film is very family friendly and, if you haven't seen it, definitely worth a viewing.

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