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A timeless Christmas film
JPTaylor22 December 2003
"A Christmas Story" is a rare film about children yet for adults. While kids will definitely enjoy this Christmas-themed saga, adults will find a deeper level of depth than they may remember from seeing the film at a younger age.

The movie strikes a sharp contrast between the exaggerated, polysyllabic narration of Ralphie, filled with nostalgia and lucid memories, and the soft, high-pitched childlike wonder of Ralphie's spoken word. The narrator is clearly not the same character as the one portrayed on film, but a character wholly outside the story, reliving his childhood emotions and anecdotes. Yet he is the heart of the film, the true center of gravity. This is because the movie is not about a scary Santa Clause and a BB gun - it's about childhood memories and the feelings they evoke. To that end, "A Christmas Story" is flawless.

"A Christmas Story" tells of the epically materialistic journey of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he searches for the golden, upheld idol of all red-blooded American boys: A Red Rider Air Rifle. Ralphie spins an intricate web of cunning and deceit as he plots to get his hands on it - including an essay, a trip to Santa Claus and more. The movie also shows us a glimpse of his family - his irritable, foul-mouthed father with a good heart, his whiny brother Randy, and his sweet, all-American mother. It is not so much a continuous story as a series of vignettes, but it ultimately serves the movie's purpose.

This is a funny film. The narration by Jean Shepherd is filled with love for this story. He absolutely captures the emotions and logic of childhood. In a subtle but amusing moment, Shepherd intones the incomparably eloquent pouring forth of thought into writing - only to have Billingsley note in his awe-filled, high-pitched voice that "I think everyone should have a Red Rider BB gun. It's very good for Christmas." (paraphrased). Most of the humor is similar - the natural exaggeration of a child as expressed by Shepherd's consistent string of hyperbole.

Also, there's a reason why it's played constantly on cable TV throughout the Christmas season - it's a movie everyone can relate to. There are moments of such pure truth here that few can deny their power. I'm sure that there is a scientific law left unwritten that determines that every kid must at some point fantasize about his parents feeling absolutely terrible and forever regretting some unutterable punishment they inflicted on their child - in this case, the immortal washing of a mouth out with soap.

Obviously, "A Christmas Story" is not a film that can be compared to Casablanca or Citizen Kane. It simply excels at its simple goals, and comes together as an extraordinarily entertaining piece of cinema.
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Christmas Classic
Tommy-58 December 2005
A Christmas Story touches my heart as does no other film, and I know the reason for this is because it reminds me so much of my own 1950's boyhood. For sure it strikes a nerve in persons of my generation. This is Bob Clark's masterpiece and I know I am not the only person who feels this way.

I am going to assume that, if you are reading this, chances are you have seen the film; indeed, probably have seen it countless times as I have. This is not a film review in the normal sense. It is more a reminiscence and appreciation of a great story captured for all time in moving pictures which, in turn, captured the essence of the time and place of its setting; that time and setting being a typical town in Indiana during Christmas season in the 1940s as we observe a typical family (the Parkers) with two young sons named Ralphie and Randy.

Most of us over the age of 50 can relate very well to the story's key elements. I recall vividly family outings to crowded downtown sidewalks, Mom and Dad squeezing in a season's worth of shopping in one day and doing it under the nose of one who had a visit to Santa Claus on his mind. Staring at the prominent HIGBEES sign in the downtown square, I could almost see the words John A. Brown in its place. Browns was the main department store in my hometown of Oklahoma City and the place where I would make my annual visit with Santa Claus.

I am sure most who have seen the film realize this is Ralphie's story, but Melinda Dillon as the typical 1940's stay-at-home mom and Darren McGavin as the grumpy but kindly father made the story work. The stove in the Parker's kitchen reminds much of the one my grandmother had, and the rest of the house reminded me of the home my other grandparents lived in. As you see, viewing A Christmas Story is always a magical experience for me. It is almost as if Mr. Clark made this film with Tom Fowler in mind.

There are so many comments to make. It will be impossible to relate them all in a short review, but here are some that I know people my age will be most familiar with:

Beautiful toys displayed in department store windows. The agonizingly long wait for toys ordered via mail and learning too late they are not quite what was expected. The excitement of buying a Christmas tree, the joy of setting it up and how much bigger Christmas trees seemed then. Neighborhood bullies who were not nearly as tough as they seemed. Ralphie wanting a BB gun more than life itself. Mom covering trouble for Ralphie to his dad, and the same mom making him eat soap for uttering words -- learned from Dad. Randy sitting underneath the kitchen sink when depressed. A panicky visit to a tired Santa. An unwanted gift from a well-meaning aunt. The furious unwrapping of gifts on Christmas morning. I could go on and on. I will make two more observations and then will sign off and let somebody else speak.

In the film's sweetest scene, we see Dad coming through for his son at the last possible moment. To see the look on young Ralphie's (ably played by Peter Billingsley) face as he unwraps his best and last gift is one of filmdom's true golden moments.

But, for me the best moment was the last. Ralphie is in bed at film's end. We see snow outside and Ralphie dreaming of his wonderful gift, as the story's author and narrator Jean Shepherd, speaking as the grown up Ralphie, realizes this was the best Christmas he ever had, or ever would have.

If you are middle age or older and have not seen A Christmas Story, you are perhaps unaware that you have cheated yourself. Buy or rent the 2003 20th anniversary DVD. It will be the best money you spend this Christmas -- or any Christmas.
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The funniest, most touching family Christmas film of ALL time!
Kimta15 March 1999
I lived the life of Ralphie! Even though I'm a girl and was born in the late seventies, my Christmases were much the same as Ralphie's.

From playing Santa on Christmas morning to sipping my Dad's Christmas cocktail to visiting Santa at the department store, I lived the very same Christmas memories. This movie brings out the true essence of Christmas happiness. Everyone, young and old, can relive the magic of being a child.

Ralphie's vibrant imagination and inventiveness in his ploys to seduce his parents into buying him the ultimate gift are "pinch-his-chubby-cheeks" adorable. And Randy...need I say anything?? He is the perfect picture of the baby brother!

This movie is universal in its appeal to audiences of all ages, race, and nationalities. My husband, who grew up in Lebanon and who's first language is Arabic, even knew the famous "oh fudge" line when I first played this movie for him here in the States.

I get giddy every time I sit down to watch this movie. Curling up with a warm cup of cider in front of the fireplace, wrapping Christmas presents, making Christmas cookies, or writing a letter to Santa Claus...those are all perfect times to watch this classic family film. This has been and always will be my all-time favorite Christmas film.
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A timeless movie that will never get old
Smells_Like_Cheese16 November 2003
A Christmas Story, there is absolutely no way that anyone could ever say they never saw this film since it's shown every Christmas, especially on TNT when they do the 24 hours of A Christmas Story, lol. But onto the movie, I've watched A Christmas Story since the day I was born, it's one of those films you never get sick of because of the simple fact that each year of your life you could relate to it in some way. Each character has these memorable moments and you could say that you've been in the same situation. It's great seeing this movie because it makes us laugh about the silliest moments in our life during the Christmas season.

Ralphie is a little boy who just so badly wants a B.B. gun for Christmas, it's just his dream. Only one problem, it'll shoot his eye out according to the adults around him. We go through Christmas with Ralphie and his family, his father who is obsessed with a prize leg lamp he won. His mother who is greatly under-appreciated but extremely loving. His brother, Randy, who is your typical silly and annoying younger brother who makes fun of him. And his friends who are on a constant run from the school bully. But all Ralphie can think about during this hard time in his adolescence is that B.B. gun.

A Christmas Story has constant unforgettable scenes, like the pink bunny out fit that Ralphie gets as a present from his aunt, him saying his first swear in front of his dad, Mom and Dad's fight over using the glue on purpose, visiting Santa at the mall, and of course that great ending that is sure to bring a that is sure to bring a tear to your eye. It's just the perfect Christmas movie that is a BIG recommendation for the season. It has great comedy, terrific acting, and just the most touching moments you'll ever see in a Christmas movie.

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Just wonderful
preppy-323 December 2004
Nostalgic tale of a Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) growing up in the 1940s (I believe). He wants nothing more than a Red Ryder Ranger Model Air Rifle (a BB gun for short) for Christmas but everyone tells him it will "shoot your eye out".

That's about it for plot but the film has sequences that every child (and adult) can relate to. My favorites: Ralphie's best friend getting his tongue stuck to a pole when he's dared to lick it; Ralphie accidentally swearing in front of his father; the bully that threatens Ralphie and his friends every day until Ralphie beats him up (in a GREAT scene); Ralphie's constant fights with his little brother (wonderfully played by Ian Petrella) and Billingsley and his brother being terrified by a department store Santa.

Also Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin are just great as the parents-- especially Dillon. She has one uproarious scene where she gets Petrella to eat by imitating a pig! This was totally ignored when it came out in 1983 but has slowly developed a cult following. It's now considered one of the best Christmas movies ever made--right up there with "It's a Wonderful Life" (which was also ignored at its release).

A charming, wonderful Christmas film. A 10 all the way!
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Classic Christmas film that doesn't age
MovieAddict201613 December 2004
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas but his mother is totally against it - the "you'll shoot your eye out" discussion being a major opposition.

This is essentially a story about childhood and is very spot-on in regards to the yearning of children and the whole Christmas era - I've been watching it since I was a child and every Christmas when it comes on TV I watch it again. It's funny, poignant and totally memorable - it has some of the best scenes of all-time and although I know a few people who dislike it because it's a bit "weird" and "dark," most people I know love it.

Worth watching every Christmas, forever!
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Pure joy!
CMUltra25 December 2005
How difficult is it to perfectly capture nostalgia? It must be pretty darn difficult or else everyone would make movies like this. It may not be absolute perfection but Jean Shepherd, Bob Clark and the outstanding cast came as close as anyone here.

Creating a story centered around nostalgia is a tricky thing as the memories that creates it are unique to each of us. The themes, however, are similar and that's where the success lies.

I didn't want a Red Ryder BB gun when I was that age but my Christmas wish was just as fervent and I schemed just as hard as Ralphie. The bully at my school didn't have yellow eyes but he was pretty much like Scut Farkus. And so on, from the fantastically flawed parents to the pop-heroes, A Christmas Story captures it all.

Truly wonderful.
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A true classic . . .
pobodysnerfect-9091830 November 2019
We watch it every year, all day on the 25th of December . . . It doesn't get old. It's indescribable. A must watch.
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Family holiday fun
Jennydavis1319 January 2004
A Christmas story is a classic holiday film that is very funny and entertaining. This is a movie that should be viewed by everyone, and can been seen on television during thanksgiving and Christmas time. In most families, this film is already a tradition to watch every year and that's because it has a wonderful plot, great characters and believable actors.

A Christmas Story is about an average middle class family living in a small town in the 1940's. The film contains an average family of a regular husband and wife relationship and two young boys. The eldest of the boys is named Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) who is the star of the film. All that Ralphie wants is to have a perfect Christmas containing the perfect gift, a Red Ryder carbon action BB gun. This is all that Ralphie can think about day and night. When Ralphie has to write a Theme about what he wants for Christmas, his teacher replies to him `you'll shoot your eye out' which seems to be the only reply to him throughout the whole film.

What makes this film so great is the ability to relate to Ralphie with his problems throughout the movie, such as wanting that one gift that everyone thinks that you're too young to have and are unable to get. The acting is very convincing and makes you think that this could even be you in the movie.

There are some very hilarious parts in this film that also make it very good. This particular scene also contains some very cheesy acting which also makes it funny. Ralphie has a dream about getting his Red Ryder BB gun and saving his family from a bunch of evil villains. In this scene Ralphie is wearing the white sparkly cowboy suit and he shoots down the evil villains and saves the day with his gun in a very unrealistic way.

There really wasn't much music that can be commented on in this movie, just that it was the orchestral type of music that was out in the time period of the 40's. The costumes where great and convincing. I also liked how real they made the 40's look. You actually think it might have been made in that time period which makes the film very authentic.

I would recommend this film to anyone who wants some holiday laughs and some great family time together. I would rate this film a 9 out of ten because it's so memorable.
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The 12 Days of A Christmas Story...
evildead19789 December 2004
12 reasons that A Christmas Story is a modern Classic!

12: "Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra" 11: "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine" 10: "Nadafinga!!" 9: Ralphie's pink bunny outfit 8: Scut Farkus' yellow eyes 7: "Fuuuuuuuudddggee" 6: "Randy...how do the little piggies eat?" 5: "Fra-Gi-Le...it must be Italian" 4: "Where's the glue?" "We're out of glue!" "You used up all the glue on purpose!!" 3: "I triple-dog dare ya!" 2: "Alright, I'll get that kid to eat. Where's my screw driver and my plumber's helper? I'll open up his mouth and I'll shove it in" ... and, of course, the #1 reason: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

A Christmas classic and tradition in every sense of the word!
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Christmas is Not Complete Without Watching This
Sober-Friend29 December 2017
The 1983 "Terms of Endearment" won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Now it was deserved. The film still remains popular today. What's hard to believe now is that "A Christmas Story" (released the same year) was ignored everywhere. If anything it should of been nominated for best adapted screenplay!

Now when the film was released it was "Critically Acclaimed" but, MGM failed to capitalized on that. The film was poorly handled & failed to capture a large theatrical audience!

Well thanks to the Home Video Market & television this film has now become part of Americana. It also helped that Ted Turner made "24 Hours Of A Christmas Story" an annual event.

It is now 2017, and "A Christmas Story" it is now one of the most popular films of all time. Even "Return of the Jedi" ( The Highest Grossing Film of 1983) "Isn't gaining as many new fans". .

"Return of the Jedi" has always rode the coattails of the earlier "Star Wars" films. "A Christmas Story" has gained fans for just being a great film!

Now my review Set in the 1940's the film makes you identify with Ralphie and you your routing for him in every single way!

Ralphie is in elementary school. His has a little brother and all he wants for Christmas is a BB-Gun. He wants this more than anything. Before Christmas gets there he has many obstacles to overcome. One of them is getting home! He & his friends are always being bullied before they can make it home.

The film is flawless. It is a joy to watch and only improves every time you watch it. It is also true that for some reason the older it gets the better it becomes!

You need to see this. Also there is a fan made documentary called "A Christmas Story Documentary: Road Trip for Ralphie". That is a great fan made documentary.
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Wonderful Film, Never gets old!
forgiven-3156919 December 2020
As a 13 year old, one might think I have strong or hateful feelings for an "older" movie because of my younger age demographic. That is certainly not the case! You have probably already seen this film because of its massive popularity and wonder why I'm writing a review about a 37 year old film, the main reason is, well its a great movie as far as screenplay, writing, casting and almost any other thing you can critique this movie on, but it's not all about that sometimes, a movie should be how it makes you feel and when critics stand on a high horse judging every little bit of a film/movie, we can get very caught up. This movie a is a great example of that, the way this film makes me feel is almost indescribable, It kind of makes me feel like I'm nine again, spoiled rotten and very unlucky (at least in my eyes at the time). The way the writers convey Ralphie's (The main character) point of view and thoughts makes me have almost this relatability and connection with the main character really makes this movie for me! If you haven't seen it yet (somehow!) please just go watch it, its a fantastic film that you will most likely love!
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a contemporary classic
postmanwhoalwaysringstwice21 December 2006
Bob Clark, the director behind the collegiate slasher flick "Black Christmas" and the naughty sex comedy "Porky's" surprisingly went on to hold the reins of the charming, innocent, nostalgic holiday romp "A Christmas Story" in 1983. The film is seen through the eyes of nine-year-old Ralphie, and is frequently told through the older more knowing voice of Jean Shepherd, who wrote the source material "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" in 1966. The film takes place sometime in the early 1940s (Shepherd has been quoted as saying specifically 1940), although the tone and texture of the film allow for more of the uncertain "period" look. The film follows the struggles of our child protagonist, specifically his longing for a very specific BB gun, which he references nearly thirty times during the course of the film, explaining why the come back "you'll shoot your eye out" is so associated with this movie. "A Christmas Story" is a wonderful, relaxing, little movie that never seems to age.
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The latest Christmas Classic -- A true gem!
mdm-111 June 2005
Peter Billingsly in a custom made role as Ralphy, the 9-year old who wants a toy rifle for Christmas in 1940 Cleveland. Everyone from his mom to his teacher, to even Santa Claus himself tell him that "he'll shoot his eye out" and should not have such a dangerous toy. Many wonderful scenes of "boys will be boys" trouble, including the unforgettable "tongue frozen to the flag pole" make this movie a delight to watch again and again.

As an added bonus there is much authentic Cleveland nostalgia, including the old wooden escalators at Higgbees and the main Square in front of Tower City. Add this to your Christmas Classics and place it right next to "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's A Wonderful Life"!
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I triple-DOG-dare ya to watch A Christmas Story. It's a good film. You won't get your eyes shot out.
ironhorse_iv30 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It will never be a complete Christmas without watching "a Christmas story". A Christmas Story is a significant kid's movie directed by Bob Clark. Based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd. The movie is based on a number of things; one is his book, 'In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", others derived from 'Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories' and others from short stories from Playboy magazine. All of them, manage to mix in, pretty well. I love Jean Shepherd's narration...a great story-teller. Glad he was given the job. He had a soothing voice that help inspired the creation of 1988's TV show, The Wonder Years. Christmas Story tells the story of nine year old, Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) who wants one and only one thing for Christmas: a BB gun. It's not just any BB gun he wants, either; his heart is set on an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Sadly, everybody thinks it's a little too dangerous for him. Will, Ralphie get the BB gun or will Christmas for him, be a huge disappointment? Watch it to find out. Without spoiling too much, the movie's main plot isn't that strong to stand by, itself. So the writers add a lot of sub-plots to push the run-time for the film such as Ralphie's father (Darren McGavin) winning a major prize in a contest or Ralphie's friend, Flick (Scott Schwartz) memorable getting his tongue stuck on the icy pole. The movie has tons of filler scenes. Some of them were hits to the funny bone, while others were kinda a waste of time like the Bumpuse's dogs. Glad, they cut the Flash Gordon fantasy sequence. It doesn't make sense with the rest of the film. For a kid's movie, it's very smart. Examples are the mock heroic tone of the narration, filled with great hyperbole motif full sentences. It matched well with the extensive use of familiar classical music themes. The movie is beautiful to listen to. You see a lot of leitmotifs references from other works such as author, Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf story, Harold Gray's comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, Television shows like 1940's Adventures of Red Ryder, and films like 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs & 1939's Wizard of Oz. The movie was shot pretty well and the use of old timing locations really made it seem like it takes place in the late 1930s/early 1940s. There is a debate about when the film takes place as the movie never state it, but still, I like the nostalgia feel of the film. I think the pre-World War II era America is a great location for this childhood majestic. The movie is very well acted. Looks for the cameo of director Bob Clark, and Jean Shepard. It's pretty sad, that none of the main cast went on to bigger success. It's pretty weird, that actor, Scott Schwartz became a pornstar for a while. Maybe, one day, they will. Some people might not like the film, due to its off color humor. For a PG film, it's got tons of some dirty jokes, under aged swearing and violence & a few racist stereotype humor. The film was supposed to be R-Rated, but the R-rated script was scrapped when the vice president of Higbee's, the department store, the filmmakers used for locations, refused to allow the store to be associated with a movie depicting a kid dropping the F-bomb, and the filmmakers were forced to change it. Honestly, I think the movie became a lot clever with its swearing through it use of heavy euphemisms of gibberish. Still, if you're looking for a movie to watch with small children. This movie might not be for you. For me, personally, I didn't mind it, as it gives something, that both adults and children might like. It's still a family-friendly movie, but there an edgy sense of humor; that will be lost on little kids. Some people might hate it for its love for commercialization over the religious aspect of Christmas. Of course, the holiday supposed to be about religion, but I think most people, like to get stuff for the holidays. Is it greedy to love films like this, promoting materialism lifestyle. No, because the movie was still made with a lot of heart and love, and we still see the family in the end, celebrating the holiday as a family unit. A Christmas Story did only modest box-office business in 1983, despite every critic, I know, saying it was a disappointment bomb when it came out. The film became a holiday classic, due to the overplayed value of television. Often in Christmas movie marathons. It's estimated that nearly fifty-five million Americans tune every year to watch the film, making it a Christmas movie juggernaut. The film spawned a play, as well as two "sequels": the made-for-TV Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss and 1994's It Runs in the Family aka "My Summer Story". Both are not worth watching, as it has none of the original film's cast members. A Direct-to-Video sequel called A Christmas Story 2 was released on 2012. It's a miserable film that fans of the original, must stay away from. In 2008, a documentary was made call 'Road Trip for Ralphie". It's a fun-watch. Overall: Hands down; it's one of the best Christmas films, ever. It is a must-watch. You will have tons of fun!
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An oddity that has become a Christmas classic
AlsExGal16 January 2010
This odd little film has become the parallel-universe "It's A Wonderful Life" of our time. It brings up memories that many people can identify with - wanting - with all your heart - a toy that will "shoot your eye out", facing up to the school bully and then getting punished for being violent rather than being commended for courage, and for those of you up north, sticking your tongue on a frozen pole and getting stuck to it. This actually happened to my brother-in-law as a kid in Wisconsin.

However, Ralphie, the child protagonist in our film, has a completely dysfunctional family. To be specific, he has a completely dysfunctional father. In the narration Ralphie never even calls him "dad" - he's just "the old man". "The old man" cares about nothing more than he cares for the tackiest of lamps that he received as an award that is made out of a mannequin's leg that he displays in a position of prominence in the living room. Ralphie's father is no George Bailey. If he got to see the world as it was if he never existed, no doubt the only noticeable difference would be that the tacky lamp would belong to someone else and Ralphie and his mother would be better off. The narration is wonderful as you see everything from a child's perspective, and if you remember your childhood at all, you can probably remember reasoning things out as Ralphie does. In Ralphie's world adults - including his parents - are the arbitrary givers of reward and punishment who all seem to be in odd and unreasoned alignment. These adults are mazes to be solved, not givers of lessons to be learned. However, as an adult, you'll see the humor in the situations too. Highly recommended.
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the english appreciate american comedy at its very best....
andrew-31717 December 2000
We are an english family, now back in the uk but were on assignment in NY for three years and we came across this wonderful film by chance, and have never seen anything more entertaining for the whole family - it is a real gem of a film and a definite must for all families. Have at last found it to buy with amazon.uk and are thrilled.
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A Wonderful Christmas Movie
thatgirlmyra-994626 December 2019
This is such a classic. I can't think of a single person who actively DISlikes this movie.

It's just such a sweet and funny movie of a young boy who desperately wants a toy gun for Christmas. Each character is real and relatable, and you just can't help but love them.

Honestly, a simple and sweet Christmas classic.
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Finally saw!
lakishaferguson2126 December 2018
I've been aware of this movie for years thanks to the TBS yearly marathon but never been inclined to watch. Glad I finally gave it a chance bc it was enjoyable especially those moments when we'd see Ralphie's desires on-screen. Definitely one that could become a part of my xmas rotation
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I triple-dog-dare you to watch this movie!
cricketbat17 December 2019
Few stories capture the magic of being a child during the holidays like A Christmas Story. This endlessly quotable classic is one that I enjoy watching every season. It somehow makes me nostalgic for an era in which I never lived. And this simple story has made an impact on all those who grew up watching it. If you haven't seen this movie yet, I triple-dog-dare you to do so!
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It never . . . . . EVER gets old!
Mr-Fusion24 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The filmmakers didn't set out to make a lasting piece of Americana, but that's exactly what we got.

I have no idea how many times I've seen this movie since I was a kid, but it never loses its lustre. Year after year, it's always a relatable story that any kid hoping for that big Christmas gift can identify with. And it helps tremendously that this movie is well-acted and directed, with great performances coming from not only the leads, but also the supporting players.

A great deal of the visual humor rests on the facial expressions and reactions of Peter Billingsley, which go a long way in selling this thing. The same can be said for Darren McGavin, who perfectly wears the mask of eternal annoyance and gruffness for laughs.

But it's Shepherd's writing that's the real star of the piece, at least for me. Just as he did in the novel, the man can paint a vivid picture of how things were when he was growing up in Indiana. His words go down smooth, and his impressive linguistic prowess is on full display in his narration.

"A Christmas Story" has a cultural success story that is unlike that of any other film; or at least any movie I can think of. The movie enjoyed a second life on HBO and home video after being ignored at the box office, but it has made a slow, steady, tenacious comeback into mainstream acceptance. Licensed and marketed to the hilt (novelty leg lamps, action figures, mugs, ornaments, etc.) and maintaining a high cultural visibility for many years, it's become (for my money) the most recognizable American Christmas movie ever made. You can mention Bedford Falls, and someone might get the reference. But if you mention Scut Farkus, a leg lamp, Red Ryder, or "You'll shoot your eye out!", everyone in the room will instantly know what you're talking about.

It's just about as iconic as a Christmas move can get.

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A True Classic
Christmas-Reviewer17 December 2016


Say what you want about modern films about the holidays. Yes The Hallmark Movies seem to follow a pattern. They are uninspired and always seem to cast the same people in everything. However the jewel of Modern Christmas Movies is not made by Hallmark but by MGM and it is the crown jewel of "Modern Christmas Films" and that film is "A Christmas Story".

Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a "Red Ryder air rifle." Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

This film is perfect. It captures what every child feels like at Christmas. The cast is perfect and the film is never dull. What was nice about this film was that it was very respectful of the holiday itself and it showed how all of us go through some sort of stress during Christmas.

The film not a huge success when released in 1983 however home video and cable showing the show developed a huge following. Its easy to see why. It is the perfect family holiday film. Its not sappy and its not snarky. It is a tribute to the way America celebrates Christmas.

My Christmas is not complete without watching this
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Easy To Understand Its Popularity
ccthemovieman-118 March 2007
This has always been a favorite with a lot of people, and I can see why. It's a nice comedy about a little boy's wish for Christmas and is set back in the 40s. It's narrated by the boy who is now much older and is fondly looking back at the period, which included a lot of funny moments for he and his friends and family.

Jean Shepherd narrates and Peter Billingsley plays the little kid, "Ralphie Parker." He's fun to look at, with his nerd-like looks. It's also a good-natured film and, except for a few swear words, is safe for the whole family.

Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon also shine as Ralphie's parents. I haven't seen this in a long time, but I always remember the little kid's favorite Christmas present, a red air rifle and his friend getting his tongue frozen stuck to a pole. That last scene has been a classic since this film came out almost 25 years ago.
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This one bears up to repeated
MartinHafer28 November 2009
Unlike many people, I don't particularly like seeing movies more than once. Of course there are some exceptions, but I am not a person who usually sees a movie again and again--I find this very boring. However, there are several exceptions--and this movie probably heads the list. Unlike other films this one actually becomes better with repeated viewings--and it's great to see and hear the wonderful and silly lines again--especially when they are are friends and family there to see it and laugh along with you. Perfect writing (albeit, very, very cynical), wonderful acting, great attention to details (the 1940s look to the film is great--down to the boxes of soap and radio programs) and so many funny and sentimental moments make this a perennial favorite. If you haven't seen this then get out from under your rock and see it! If you don't like it, then think about getting psychiatric help! No sane person could hate this wonderful film.
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Pretty Much a Live-Action Cartoon
bbrebozo24 December 2014
So maybe I'm just an old out-of-touch crank. Everyone on IMDb loves this movie. My kids and their friends enjoyed it, and made me sit through it twice on two different Christmases.

But I have to say it: I thought this movie was terrible. And I don't mean, "Not as good as everyone says." I mean, if you tied me up and made me watch this movie again, inside of an hour I'd give you anything you wanted to let me go.

Based on this film, the secret to creating a movie classic appears to be: Write a series of disjointed, semi-humorous vignettes about a group of largely unlikeable one-dimensional characters, hire a bunch of loud hammy over-actors to gesticulate wildly and shout most of their lines, narrate it with the most punchable voice I've ever heard, and tie it all very loosely to a Christmas theme.

If your idea of a good time is watching some poor kid get his tongue stuck on a iced pole and getting it partially ripped open, or an obnoxious little kid repeatedly smash his face into a plate of food while snorting like a pig, or a loud buffoonish father threaten to forcibly cram the food down the kid's mouth, this may be the movie for you. And don't even get me started on the leg lamp.

But do yourself a favor: Before you watch it, go to the Quotes section of the Christmas Story IMDb web site, and see if you find any of the quotes from this movie remotely witty or funny. I don't. But maybe you will.

BOTTOM LINE: This movie couldn't decide if it wanted to be Prairie Home Companion or National Lampoon's Vacation, so it tried for a 50/50 mix. Apparently this was a winning formula. Just not for me.
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