The movie is considered a traditional Christmas movie in Poland. It has aired on national television during primetime Christmas season every year since 1990. In 2011, the movie aired on December 23, with an audience of over five million, making it the most popular show aired during the Christmas season in Poland.
The picture Kevin finds of Buzz's girlfriend was a picture of a boy made up to look like a girl, because Director Chris Columbus thought it would be too cruel to make fun of a girl like that. The boy that was used in the photo was the Art Director's son.
The movie that Kevin watches on video tape is not a real film, but footage specially created. It was called "Angels With Filthy Souls". Along with other similar era references in the movie, this is a play upon the movie Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) starring James Cagney.
John Candy shared all of his screentime with Catherine O'Hara. The two previously worked together on SCTV (1976), and were good friends. Candy passed away on O'Hara's 40th birthday, and O'Hara gave a tearful eulogy at his funeral.
Many of the shots, that focus on Kevin in the beginning of the movie, are filmed from above his head, making him seem small and helpless. At the end of the film, Kevin is mostly shot from below, making him seem taller and more confident.
Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern felt indifferent about the movie's potential during shooting, so they intentionally gave over-the-top performances, neither one of them believing the film would become a massive success.
The concept for this movie originated during the filming of a scene in Uncle Buck (1989), in which Macaulay Culkin plays a character who interrogates a would-be sitter through the letter opening in the front door.
John Candy filmed his part in only one day, albeit a twenty-three-hour day. The story about having once forgotten his son at a funeral home was entirely improvised. His part potentially partly inspired by the character he played in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), also written by John Hughes.
In May 2011, the house in Kenilworth, Illinois. used in the film, was listed for sale at 2.4 million dollars. It sold in March 2012 for 1.585 million dollars. The house is promoted as a tourist attraction, and cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies".
Despite the rumors, the famous scream that Daniel Stern belts out during the tarantula scene was not mimed on-set and dubbed in later. In fact, the scream came from Stern while live on-set, mostly because he was assured by the animal handlers that tarantulas do not have ears. Also, the tarantula's poison was not extracted, as some have thought. This was all confirmed by Stern himself in a December 24, 2015 post on his Facebook page.
Chris Columbus would ask Joe Pesci to do his "How am I funny?" speech from Goodfellas (1990) on-set. In fact, Pesci was to have a similar scene with Daniel Stern, defensively questioning him about having an edge. This scene was deleted.
Despite filming a family movie, Daniel Stern once slipped in the "s" word, which can be heard when he is retrieving his boot through the doggy door at 55:27 on the DVD, as well as being shown in the English subtitle.
Chris Columbus was previously hired by John Hughes to direct National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989). After meeting with Chevy Chase, however, it became clear to Columbus that the two of them would not get along, so he asked Hughes if there were any other projects he could work on instead. Home Alone (1990) was one of the options presented to him.
According to Chris Columbus, during an interview with Alec Baldwin, on Baldwin's podcast "Here's the Thing", John Heard was unhappy about working on the film, feeling that the film was going to be terrible. However, upon seeing the finished film and its subsequent success, Heard apologized to Columbus when they were shooting his scenes on the film's sequel, having broken character before his first take to tell Columbus. Columbus says he still had footage of Heard's apology on video tape.
The car that ''Santa'' (to whom Kevin talks, about wanting his family back) starts before it stalls out, is a 1980 Honda Civic hatchback. It really did stall on-camera as the actor was driving it away.
Although the part was written especially for Macaulay Culkin by John Hughes, several hundred other boys were auditioned by Chris Columbus. According to the DVD Commentary, Columbus was hesitant to cast Culkin, because John Hughes had so recently cast him in Uncle Buck (1989), and didn't want to appear as a pushover in the film community. It was only after auditioning all the other young actors, that he realized Culkin was, in fact, the best choice for the part.
Chris Columbus wanted the booby trap with Marv getting hit in the face with a household object sent down the laundry chute, but he couldn't think of one to use, so his brother-in-law suggested a clothes iron.
There is a legend that Elvis Presley (who died in 1977) makes a cameo in this movie. Many of those who believe that Elvis is still alive maintain that the heavily bearded man standing in the background of the scene where Mrs. McCallister is shouting at the desk clerk (just before she meets John Candy) is Elvis.
When the McCallisters are running through the Paris airport toward the arrivals section, Uncle Rob and his family can be briefly glimpsed on the other side of the glass doors holding a large paper "Welcome" sign. Originally, there was a scene (featured on DVD and Blu-ray) with the McCallisters ignoring the sign and tearing it in half by running right through it, but it was cut from the film.
John Hughes was worried that mothers would never believe a family could forget one of their kids. Chris Columbus recalled, "John really filled in every possible logic hole, and the audience always bought it."
In 2015, Macaulay Culkin reprised the iconic role of Kevin McCallister in the first episode of the Internet comedy series "DRYVRS". In that show, Kevin has grown up and become a long-haired, messed-up, foul-mouthed, bitter, and mentally unstable psychopath, who tells Jack (Jack Dishel) about the events of "Home Alone", and then kidnaps the carjacker who tries to steal his car, ties him up, and tortures him. The episode ends with a bloody-faced Kevin making his signature scream at the carjacker.
According to Chris Columbus, Kevin Nordine did all the effects for the film in his parents' basement in Chicago by drawing all the effects onto the film. He also did the effects for only a few hundred dollars at a time.
Several of Chris Columbus' family members made cameos in the film: His mother-in-law and his daughter Eleanor Columbus were passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus was a stewardess, and his father-in-law played the Police Officer who gives the line "tell them to count their kids again."
To promote a stronger Christmas feel, red and green are major reoccurring colors throughout the movie, appearing quite conspicuously in almost every scene. This includes furniture, clothing, food containers, and all wallpaper.
Chris Columbus had storyboarded a few scenes in which Kevin would have dreams where the house comes to life. One included the evil furnace in the basement, which would come to life and chase him to the stairs on all fours, and another where several toy nutcrackers would come to life, along with the house. The scenes, however, were too expensive on such a tight budget, and the ideas were dropped.
John Williams' score for the film, is a song called "Somewhere In My Memory". It is used mainly on the soundtrack for the first two "Home Alone" films. However, he did a couple of different recordings of the song itself. The full song, done with vocals, is on the Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) music track with Bette Midler.
Chris Columbus envisioned a scene in which the furnace came to life, gets up on all fours and chases Kevin to the stairs. The scene would have cost over a million dollars, so it was trimmed down to the furnace simply lighting up, and groaning Kevin's name.
Some scenes were shot in a three-story single-family house, located at 671 Lincoln Avenue, in Winnetka, Illinois. The kitchen in the film was shot in the house, along with the main staircase, basement and most of the first floor landing. The house's dining room, and all the downstairs rooms (excluding the kitchen) were built on a soundstage. The house was built in 1921, and features five bedrooms, a fully converted attic, a detached double garage, and a greenhouse. "Kevin's tree house", in the backyard, was built specifically for the film, and demolished after principal photography ended.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, the owners of the McCallister house say they were first approached by a Location Scout, who worked with John Hughes. First, they were asked if the movie Uncle Buck (1989) could shoot at a house they owned, before they owned the one featured in Home Alone (1990). At the time, they were trying to sell it, and declined the offer, because they didn't want to take it off the market for several months during the shoot. After they moved into their house, the couple was approached about a second film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989), which they decided to turn down, this time because they were renovating.
The "Oh-Kay Plumbing" van, that Harry and Marv drive, has a slogan that says, "Your flood control experts." This is funny because they call themselves the "Wet Bandits", and leave the water running after robbing houses.
Chris Columbus' previous movie had not done well at the box-office, and he was worried he would never direct again, but then John Hughes sent him the script for this film. Columbus said it was one of the best he had ever read.
When Kevin attacks Buzz, and spills milk all over the counter, Peter tries to clean up the spill, to save the passports and tickets. As he throws a wad of wet napkins away, he also throws a plane ticket away by mistake. The ticket can be seen in the garbage with a name written in black marker. The ticket belonged to Kevin. However, everyone who has seen the movie, already knows this.
The timeline for this movie began on Monday, December 21st, and ran through Friday, December 25th. This movie was released in 1990. The two Decembers closest to the release date, when Christmas was on a Friday, were the ones in either 1987 or 1992. However, this point is rendered moot by the fact that this was a fictional story.
The film was put into turnaround by Warner Brothers because of the budget, so 20th Century Fox snatched up the rights, and it went on to make four hundred seventy-six million dollars worldwide, a colossal amount for such an inexpensive picture.
Between the first two Home Alone films, Rob and Georgette are frequently referred to and never seen. The only shot that the couple is visible in is when the McCallisters are watching 'It's a Wonderful Life (1946),' at Rob's apartment in Paris. The only other scene ended up being scrapped from the first film. The couple have three kids, two girls and a boy, whose names remain a mystery.
While Chris Columbus was staying at his wife's parents house in Chicago, after the birth of their first child, he was sent two scripts by John Hughes, one was for this film, which he fell in love with, and struck a chord with him, and he felt he could make a really strong film out of it. He and Hughes hit it off instantly, so Hughes gave him the job to direct.
When casting the role of Kevin McCallister, Chris Columbus had already seen Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck (1989), but he wanted to audition some other kids first, while John Hughes had his heart set on Culkin. So Columbus met Culkin in New York City, and was very charmed by him, and thought he was fantastic. Columbus auditioned five other kids, and none of them shaped up to Culkin. Columbus went with Culkin, because he was not as picture perfect, and he had an instant bond to the kids in the audience. Columbus knew the cameras would love him, and he was immensely funny.
From 1993 to 1996, and again in 1998, NBC aired this movie during the 8 p.m. time slot on Thanksgiving evening, as part of their holiday promotion (Jurassic Park (1993) aired in its place in 1997, and this movie aired on NBC a week before Christmas). The film aired on NBC until 1999, when it aired the Sunday after Thanksgiving weekend in 1999, when it was the last time it aired on NBC. The film also aired on Thanksgiving for twenty-four hours on FX in 2009.
Despite the theme song, Somewhere In My Memory, as played by in both the score and select choir versions, there are actually two verses that can be heard. The version of the song with the second stanza is featured on the original soundtrack release.
The novelization, written by Todd Strasser, gives away some details not revealed in the film, notably the name of Buzz's pet tarantula as Axl, while Peter's job is given as a successful businessman, and Kate is a Fashion Designer, somewhat explaining the money that Kevin uses to order room service in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
When Chris Columbus scripted Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), Watson believed Holmes obsessed over a case, because unlike other boys his age, he had no family to which go home, like Harry Potter and Kevin McCallister. Columbus has ties to both franchises.
Heather McCallister, Old Man Marley, Gus Polinski, Mitch Murphy, the boy from across the street, and the pizza boy are the characters in this movie that did not come back in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992).
The only screentime Joe Pesci (Harry) has with Kevin's family in this movie, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992), is at the beginning of this one, when he is at the McCallister home impersonating a Police Officer. His co-star Daniel Stern (Marv) does not have any screentime with Kevin's family in either movie.
The film is considered to be a loose remake of First Blood (1982), and this film does bare some similarities. In this film, Kevin is bullied by his family, especially by Buzz and Uncle Frank. Kevin gets sent to the attic for the rest of the night, when Buzz eats of all Kevin's cheese pizza, causing Kevin to go berserk and attack Buzz, leaving Kevin starving, since none of the family left any pieces of pizza for Kevin, and Kevin sets traps on Marv and Harry when Kevin is left alone to defend the family home. In First Blood (1982), John Rambo is arrested by Sheriff Will Teasle, who won't allow Rambo to stop in town for a meal. Rambo is abused and mistreated by Teasle and his deputies. When Deputy Arthur Galt tries to dry shave Rambo, Rambo goes berserk and attacks the deputies, and in the woods, to which Rambo flees, when he escapes from police custody, Rambo sets traps for Teasle's deputies.
Macaulay Culkin would later play the iconic Kevin McAllister again in :Dryvrs: Just Me In The House By Myself (2015), in which, Kevin has grown up and become a long haired and foul mouthed mentally unstable young man, and he gives his friend Jack a ride in his car. Kevin tells Jack about the events of Home Alone (1990), and that he has been having nightmares about what happened, and that his mother Kate and his family didn't love, or care about him. It ends with Kevin abducting a car thief who tries to steal his car, and Kevin tortures him and forces Jack to watch, and a bloodied face Kevin makes his signature scream at the car thief.
In the scene when Kevin walks past the driveway just as Harry and Marv are driving down it and stop just in time to avoid hitting him, was achieved by having Macaulay Culkin walk backwards as the van was driven in reverse away from him. The film was then shown backwards. It's hard to tell, but if you look closely at the smoke from the exhaust, it's drifting towards the van, rather than away from it.
In the scene, which Kevin gets into fight with Buzz, when Buzz eats Kevin's pizza. Frank rudely and nastily calls Kevin a "little jerk" when Pepsi gets spilt over his lap. If you watch the film again carefully, Peter is seen knocking over the bottle of Pepsi, spilling it on Frank's lap.
It was rumored that in the original screenplay, it was revealed Frank is the real villain of the film, and is behind Harry and Marv, and that he hired them to rob the McAllister house, and to kill Kevin. If so, Frank would have gotten Buzz to eat all of Kevin's cheese pizza, so Kevin would attack Buzz and be sent to the third floor, and Frank could have cut the electricity, causing the family to oversleep, and panic and forget about Kevin in the chaos. After Kate realizes that they forgot about Kevin, Frank could have made a phone call to Harry and Marv at the airport in France, and put the scheme of robbing the house and murdering Kevin into motion, and when his scheme fails, and Harry and Marv are arrested, Frank may not have gone back to the McAllister family, because he felt disappointed that his plan didn't work. In the film, on the airplane, Frank tries to get his wife Leslie to steal real crystal.