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National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

1:19 | Trailer
The Griswold family's cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.


Harold Ramis


John Hughes (screenplay), John Hughes (short story "Vacation '58")
1,189 ( 41)


Cast overview, first billed only:
Chevy Chase ... Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo ... Ellen Griswold
Imogene Coca ... Aunt Edna
Randy Quaid ... Cousin Eddie
Anthony Michael Hall ... Rusty Griswold
Dana Barron ... Audrey Griswold
Eddie Bracken ... Roy Walley
Brian Doyle-Murray ... Kamp Komfort Clerk
Miriam Flynn ... Cousin Catherine
James Keach ... Motorcycle Cop
Eugene Levy ... Car Salesman
Frank McRae ... Grover
John Candy ... Lasky, Guard at Walleyworld
Christie Brinkley ... The Girl in the Ferrari
Jane Krakowski ... Cousin Vicki
Learn more

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The Griswold family are on a quest. A quest to a Walley World theme park for a family vacation, but things aren't going to go exactly as planned, especially when Clark Griswold is losing all thought towards a mysterious blonde in a red Ferrari. Written by FilmFanUK

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every summer Chevy Chase takes his family on a little trip. This year he went too far.


Adventure | Comedy


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The poster art was by fantasy illustrator Boris Vallejo, and is a parody of the poster art for Conan the Barbarian (1982). See more »


After the Griswold's get the truckster fixed and drive away, you can see that the wheels are wobbly. In later scenes the wheels are fine. See more »


Clark Griswald: [to the Dodge City bartender] Hey Knucklehead, set us up with four Red eye's will ya?
[the bartender ignors him]
Clark Griswald: Hey Yellabelly, I'm talking to you!
[the bartender glares at Clark]
Clark Griswald: Hey Tender foot, move your chicken wings turkey!
[the bartender angrily glares at Clark]
Ellen Griswold: Clark, that's not nice.
Clark Griswald: Relax, it's all part of the act.
[to the bartender]
Clark Griswald: Hey Underpants...
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the credits the title of the Ramones song "Blitzkrieg Bop" is misspelled as "Blitzkreig Bop" See more »

Alternate Versions

When originally released in theaters, the song "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters was present, but quickly withdrawn, having June Pointer's "Little Boy Sweet" replace it; hence why it does not appear on the soundtrack. Mistakenly, the song is credited (as should be) but not featured in the film on VHS or DVD, just when shown on TV. "Summer Hearts" by Nicolette Larson was apart of the original ending to the film, and only remains on the soundtrack. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2013) See more »


Deep River Blues
Music by Ralph Burns
[Plays when the Griswolds drive into a black neighborhood.]
See more »

User Reviews

Funnier Than I Thought It Would Be!
11 October 2019 | by gab-14712See all my reviews

The National Lampoon franchise was the face of comedy in the 1980's, no doubt about it. Honestly, I initially shied away from these films because I thought they looked pretty lame if I am to be blunt. Given the fact that I really enjoyed National Lampoon's Animal House and given the talent behind and in front of the camera, I knew I would have to give in at one point. Plus, there was a much-heralded remake of this film (which was maligned). I saw the movie, and well I can say I did not hate it. It was silly, but in a fun way. There are jokes that were actually hilarious. The script, which was written by 80's lovable stalwart John Hughes, was pretty decent. Harold Ramis, who previously directed an 80's favorite Caddyshack, was behind the camera for this feature and does quite well with the material that is given to him.

This film introduces us to the Griswold family, headed by patriarch Clark (Chevy Chase). He, along with his wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), and daughter Audrey (Dana Barron) plan to travel to Wally World, an amusement park in Los Angeles. Clark has everything planned out to the wire, but if you think it will stay that away, think again. Many hijinks ensue on their way to family paradise; such as getting lost and given bad directions, a family meetup with Ellen's cousin and her rather sloppy husband, Eddie (Randy Quaid). Then there is the super annoying Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca). A whole bunch of issues occur on the road, and these issues are driving Clark insane! Who can forget about the woman in the red Ferrari (played by Christine Brinkley)? Will his family make it to Wally World in one piece?

I do not think the movie would have even been adequate if it was not for the cast. These roles are natural for the unique talents that each actor/actress brought to the table. Chevy Chase made a career out of turning strait-laced characters into comedy gold. While this performance somewhat reminds me of his Caddyshack role, but it is a more relatable performance in a way, at least to me. How many times do I plan something down to the second and it turned out not to be that way? I feel your pain, Clark Griswold. In addition to the regular cast, this film is filled with awesome cameos. Eugene Levy as a shady car salesman? Awesome! Henry Gibson as a hotel clerk? Even more awesome! John Candy as one of the guards at Wally World? The most awesome cameo of all! The last 20 minutes of the film may be my favorite thanks to John Candy. He is a national treasure!

There are many kind of jokes to watch out for. There are the usual in-your-face sort of jokes, but also more subtle ones that are hard to pick up. Not every joke worked for me, but enough did where I would want to continue on with the zany adventures of the Griswold family. I heard Christmas Vacation and European Vacation are must-sees so perhaps I will give them a look. There are lines that you'll remember for a long time, and it was a shock for me to discover John Hughes was the writer behind this R-rated, crude comedy. As a road trip film, I had a really fun time. I do not consider this to be a comedy "classic", but it's good enough for me.

My Grade: B

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

29 July 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vacation See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,333,358, 31 July 1983

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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