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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)
"Christmas Vacation" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy  |  1 December 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 96,593 users  
Reviews: 245 user | 82 critic

The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.


(as Jeremiah Chechik)


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Title: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

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Fletch is a reporter for a Los Angeles newspaper, but he acts more like a detective. When an obscure relative leaves him a Louisiana mansion in his will, Fletch is naturally curious. ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cody Burger ...
Ellen Hamilton Latzen ...


It's Christmas time and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration, but things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's No Place Like Home For A Holiday! See more »




PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 December 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation  »

Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)


$71,320,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the scene when the police storm into the Griswolds' house, the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" sung by Gene Autry is used for the background music. Randy Quaid (cousin Eddie) is the third cousin of Gene Autry. See more »


When the family is first seated for dinner, Uncle Lewis clearly has his cigar in his mouth. Yet later, he asks Clark "if he isn't doing anything constructive" to "get his stogie from the living room." See more »


Clark: Where do you think you're going? Nobody's leaving. Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas. No, no. We're all in this together. This is a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency here. We're gonna press on, and we're gonna have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny fucking Kaye. And when Santa squeezes his fat white ass down that chimney tonight, he's gonna find the jolliest bunch of assholes this side of the nuthouse.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"THE END" is lit up in Christmas lights. One of the bulbs pops, making the lit up "THE END" go dark. See more »


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: Home Alone 3 (2010) See more »


Mele Kalikimaka
Written by R. Alex Anderson (as Alex Anderson)
Performed by Bing Crosby
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Holidays are only complete with this movie

My Christmas is filled with ritual, as I guess most people's are. Part of that ritual is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, about which I have nothing but good things to say. This should be part of your Holiday season too, because despite it not seeming like it all the way through, the film as a whole is just so thoroughly festive, cheery and good-hearted.

It opens with a great set-piece, Clark taking his family out in the "front-wheel drive sleigh" to dig their Christmas tree out of the snow-covered ground. He's a desperate loser, but you have to love the guy, working his butt off to give his extended family the perfect Christmas. (That's the difference in this Vacation movie, by the way - the Griswolds don't go anywhere, their folks come to them).

So the shenanigans finding a tree set the pattern for a season of chaos, fighting in-laws, squirrels, stupid relatives, huge dogs, snooty neighbours and collapsing turkeys. And as if that wasn't stress enough for poor Clark, he's waiting for his Christmas bonus to come through to cover a cheque he's already written.

The script brims with festive jollity, enthusing the audience with Clark's excitement for the holidays. Stand out moments include the welcome (and hilarious) return of Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, the uber-hick sponger with a trailer-full of weirdo kids and rubber sheets, and Mae Questel's appearance as Aunt Bethany. She used to voice Betty Boo, and plays the crazy old woman to perfection.

See this movie. Get it on video. I normally watch it the first time on a miserable October Sunday, when I start to think properly about Christmas. Nothing can replace this movie as the one thing guaranteed to get me looking forward to late December. Fabulous stuff, and as festive for me as tinsel and carols. Cuddle up with this one.

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Name a part you DIDN'T like motter25420-153-699254
How poor is Clark? homerj208
Best Christmas movies since this one. michaelward15
Has this movie cult following in the US? AkiraDLuffy
They were afraid of squirrel? Metroid_Primer
So boring Snowdog_83

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