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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)

PG-13 | | Comedy | 1 December 1989 (USA)
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The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

Director:

Jeremiah S. Chechik (as Jeremiah Chechik)

Writer:

John Hughes
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chevy Chase ... Clark
Beverly D'Angelo ... Ellen
Juliette Lewis ... Audrey
Johnny Galecki ... Rusty
John Randolph ... Clark, Sr.
Diane Ladd ... Nora
E.G. Marshall ... Art
Doris Roberts ... Francis
Randy Quaid ... Cousin Eddie Johnson
Miriam Flynn ... Cousin Catherine Johnson
Cody Burger Cody Burger ... Rocky
Ellen Latzen ... Ruby Sue (as Ellen Hamilton Latzen)
William Hickey ... Lewis
Mae Questel ... Bethany
Sam McMurray ... Bill
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Yule crack up! See more »

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 December 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Christmas Vacation See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,700,000, 3 December 1989

Gross USA:

$71,320,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was based on John Hughes' short story "Christmas '59", the second Vacation story to be published in National Lampoon's Magazine (the first was "Vacation '58", which was the basis for National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)). The Christmas story was printed in December 1980. The label on the home movie reel that Clark found in the attic was labelled "Xmas '59", a further allusion. See more »

Goofs

When they are in the car at the beginning of the movie, and each time Clark floors the accelerator, the background in the shots of Clark and Ellen shows the car is moving at a slow and constant speed. See more »

Quotes

Clark: I can't believe you're standing here in my living room, Eddie. Never thought the day would come.
Eddie: Yeah I'm excited about it too.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits feature a cartoon of Santa delivering the Griswold family's Christmas presents while also getting electrocuted, hit by bricks, falling into the snow and being chased by a rolling snowman head See more »


Soundtracks

The Star-Spangled Banner
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Francis Scott Key
Music by John Stafford Smith
Performed by the Griswolds
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Perfect Holiday Comedy
15 August 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

The Griswold family is set to celebrate the holidays like never before, in `National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation,' directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and written by John Hughes. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has decided to have a traditional, old-fashioned family Christmas, and has invited his parents and in-laws to stay with them through the season. He has a surprise he wants to share with everyone this year; with his Christmas bonus from work, he's putting in a pool, to which he's already committed the down-payment money (so the bonus had better come through, big time, or he's `in it up to here'). To kick off the season, he takes Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) and the kids, Audrey (Juliette Lewis) and Rusty (Johnny Galecki) to the mountains to find the perfect `Griswold family Christmas tree. And it's only the first of one hilarious scene after another, as we follow Clark and clan through one long laugh-fest, filled with surprises and fun. Chase is at his best here, in the most enduring (and endearing) character he's ever done; Clark the Everyman, who only wants the best things for his family and himself, but whose plans more often than not go awry, doomed to fall just short of realization. When he decorates the outside of the house, he uses 25,000 twinkle lights; they use enough juice to black-out an entire neighborhood, and they do (once he can get them to work). Then when cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) show up unexpectedly in the `RV' they now call home, Eddie asks Clark if he's surprised to see him. Surprised? Eddie is the last person on earth Clark expected, or wanted, to see. `Eddie,' he tells him, `I couldn't be more surprised if I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sewn to the carpet.' Another memorable scene involves a wild squirrel who came in with the Christmas tree and proceeds to make his appearance during dinner, only to provoke a wild romp upstairs and down as they all pursue (and in some cases try to elude) the deadly invader. A terrific cast was assembled for this movie, but Quaid is the stand-out, and he perfects the Eddie character in this one; forever the lamebrain with the big heart, and the one who takes the situation in hand when Clark's bonus turns out to be an enrollment in a jelly-of-the-month club. Clark's parents are played by Diane Ladd (Nora) and John Randolph (Clark, Sr.), and Ellen's by Doris Roberts (Frances) and E.G. Marshall (Art). Other notable performances are turned in by Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Margo) and Nicholas Guest (Todd), as Clark's yuppie next door neighbors, and also by William Hickey (Uncle Lewis) and Mae Questel (Aunt Bethany). Rounding out the supporting cast are Nicolette Scorsese (Mary), Cody Burger (Rocky), Ellen Hamilton Latzen (Ruby Sue) and Brian Doyle-Murray (Frank Shirley). `National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' is timeless comedy, a must for every video collection. It can be watched over and over again, and the humor stays fresh while the laughs get even bigger. There's a little bit of every family in here, and this movie may be just the tonic you'll need some day to get you through your own `special' holiday season. I rate this one 10/10.


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