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Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

PG | | Comedy, Family | 22 May 1987 (USA)
Ernest, a lovable loser who works as a summer camp handyman and dreams of becoming a guidance councilor, must find a way to inspire a group of juvenile delinquents as well as stop a shady strip mining company from closing the camp.


John R. Cherry III (as John Cherry)


John R. Cherry III (screenplay by) (as John Cherry), Coke Sams (screenplay by) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Varney ... Ernest P. Worrell
Victoria Racimo ... Nurse St. Cloud
John Vernon ... Sherman Krader
Iron Eyes Cody ... Old Indian Chief
Lyle Alzado ... Bronk Stinson (Foreman)
Gailard Sartain ... Jake
Daniel Butler Daniel Butler ... Eddie
Patrick Day ... Bobby Wayne
Scott Menville ... Crutchfield
Jacob Vargas ... Bubba Vargas
Danny Capri Danny Capri ... Danny
Hakeem Abdul-Samad ... Moustafa Hakeem Jones
Todd Loyd Todd Loyd ... Chip Ozgood
Andrew Woodworth Andrew Woodworth ... Pennington
Richard Speight Jr. ... Brooks


At the beginning Ernest gets a shot by Miss. St.cloud then they get a group of kids from a institution. Then Ernest becomes a camp counselor. Later on Ernest gets bit by fire ants at a picnic with Nurse St.cloud and the Chief which is Miss. St.clouds Grandfather. Then The Chief is tricked into selling the camp by Krader Mining company. Then Ernest gets beat up and Miss. St.cloud patches him up. Then he saves Kamp Kikike which is where they live and they become a year round camp.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Family


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Jim Varney himself sang the song "Gee I'm Glad It's Raining" in a single take. Reportedly, when he finished performing the song, there wasn't a single dry eye on set. See more »


When Ernest is fighting the foreman, at one point his hat is knocked off his head, but it is back on in the next shot. See more »


Jake: [Jake is trying to get Ernest to eat his food] Eddie? It's time for the plane to go to hangar!
See more »

Crazy Credits

An additional scene during the credits features Jake finally coming up with the "quintessential" eggs erroneous and feeding it to Eddie. Eddie turns into a classical singer singing "Quando Condo" and Jake eats some eggs erroneous for himself. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Touchstone DVD re-release, the credits have been re-digitized from the old red font to a new, fancier one. See more »


Referenced in Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain (1989) See more »


Lyrics by Alice Keister
Music by Shane Keister
Performed by Jackie Welch
See more »

User Reviews

A pleasant distraction

Ernest's summer camp adventure is actually his second feature-length adventure after he began life in TV commercials (not a lot of people know he actually starred in Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam the year before), and it's fairly standard mid-80s family fare.

The clumsy handyman (played, by the late, ever appealing Jim Varney) gets a job as a counselor for delinquent kids who are having trouble fitting in with the more privileged lot. Through pain and pranks he manages to build their confidence. A very tacked-on subplot about an evil businessman wanting scam the Indian camp owner in order to mine the area into oblivion builds to a moderately entertaining climax as Ernest and the kids revolt.

It reminded me a lot of Meatballs and Bushwhacked (both better films) and while it's shot for the big screen (in lovely anamorphic Panavision) John Cherry still directs like it's for TV, and clearly should have done more takes and rehearsals. I doubt kids will notice or care, but it gives the film the rushed feel of a TV production.

Worth watching, if only just once.

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Release Date:

22 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ernest Goes to Camp See more »

Filming Locations:

Burns, Tennessee, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,171,957, 25 May 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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