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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 97,662 users  
Reviews: 246 user | 83 critic

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


(as Jeremiah Chechik)


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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


Yule crack up! 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:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Diane Ladd, who plays Clark Griswold's mother is actually only eight years older than Chevy Chase. See more »


When Uncle Lewis burns down the Christmas tree and Clark sees the ball of fire out of the corner of his eye, he gets up and walks towards the living room. If you look closely, a crew member's shadow can be seen walking past the dining room window behind Clark. See more »


Audrey: Would it be indecent to ask the grandparents to stay at a hotel?
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 The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #22.48 (2013) See more »


Christmas Vacation
Written by Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann
Performed by Mavis Staples
Courtesy of Paisley Park Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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Best Christmas movies since this one. michaelward15
Name a part you DIDN'T like motter25420-153-699254
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They were afraid of squirrel? Metroid_Primer
So boring Snowdog_83

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