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The Great Outdoors (1988)

PG | | Comedy | 17 June 1988 (USA)
1:08 | Trailer

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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:
Ben Ripley (as Ian Giatti)
Hilary Gordon ...
Rebecca Gordon ...
Zoaunne LeRoy ...


Nostalgic about the good old days in the honeymoon cabin, the patriarch Chet and the Ripley family set off to the idyllic woods of Wisconsin for the summer vacation. However, their plans for a peaceful family bonding in the heart of the untamed nature will be thwarted, when the high-rolling brother-in-law Roman and the snotty Craig family decide to crash the party. Eventually, as the two families try to have a good time together, a seemingly endless series of misfortunes and mini-disasters with thirsty leeches, cunning racoons and a mythical wild bear, threaten to ruin the vacation. What will it take to salvage the weekend? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The wildlife is wild, but his brother-in-law in unbearable. 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)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Candy's character is named Chet Ripley, but on the packaging of its DVD release with Going Berserk (1983) and Uncle Buck (1989), his name is given as Chet Adley. See more »


The movie supposedly takes place in either Wisconsin or part of Canada close to the U.S. Midwest which would be Ontario. Grizzly Bears such as the "bald-headed" bear that attacks the cabin towards the end are not found anywhere near those areas. See more »


Roman: Why do Chet's kids look at him like he's Zeus and my kids look at me like I'm a rack of lawn tools at Sears?
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 »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: Return to Boggy Creek (2017) See more »


The Twilight Zone
Written by Bernard Herrmann
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User Reviews

15 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is one of the best commedies ever made. I love the humor, comraderie, hatred, envy. everything. This is one movie that you could watch a thousand time and never get sick of it. John Candy is a true genius and I wish he were still around to make us all laugh. Great movie and if you have a problem with that dont' sing it bring it!

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