Christmas Vacation

December 1st, 1989


Christmas Vacation

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The Griswold family's plans for a big family Christmas predictably turn into a big disaster.

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 7.3/10 (45,781 voted)

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Juliette Lewis

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.

Chevy Chase - Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo - Ellen Griswold
Juliette Lewis - Audrey Griswold
Johnny Galecki - Russell 'Rusty' Griswold
John Randolph - Clark Wilhelm Griswold, Sr.
Diane Ladd - Nora Griswold
E.G. Marshall - Art Smith
Doris Roberts - Frances Smith
Randy Quaid - Cousin Eddie Johnson
Miriam Flynn - Cousin Catherine Johnson
Cody Burger - Cousin Rocky Johnson
Ellen Hamilton Latzen - Cousin Ruby Sue Johnson
William Hickey - Uncle Lewis
Mae Questel - Aunt Bethany
Sam McMurray - Bill

Taglines: Yule crack up!

Release Date: 1 December 1989

Filming Locations: Breckenridge, Colorado, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $11,700,000 (USA) (3 December 1989)

Gross: $71,320,000 (USA)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The old Dodge pickup that tailgates Clark and the family in the opening scenes of the movie was previously used as 'Kurt Russell''s work truck in the movie Overboard.

Continuity: When Clark is putting up the Christmas lights on the roof, he tells Rusty to put down the plastic reindeer and to help him. When Rusty drops the reindeer, you can clearly see at least one of their legs break off. Later, when Clark can't get the lights to start, all the legs of every reindeer are intact.

Clark: Well I'm gonna park the cars and get check the luggage, and well, I'll be outside for the season.

User Review

Holidays are only complete with this movie


My Christmas is filled with ritual, as I guess most people's are. Part of that ritual is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, about which I have nothing but good things to say. This should be part of your Holiday season too, because despite it not seeming like it all the way through, the film as a whole is just so thoroughly festive, cheery and good-hearted.

It opens with a great set-piece, Clark taking his family out in the "front-wheel drive sleigh" to dig their Christmas tree out of the snow-covered ground. He's a desperate loser, but you have to love the guy, working his butt off to give his extended family the perfect Christmas. (That's the difference in this Vacation movie, by the way - the Griswolds don't go anywhere, their folks come to them).

So the shenanigans finding a tree set the pattern for a season of chaos, fighting in-laws, squirrels, stupid relatives, huge dogs, snooty neighbours and collapsing turkeys. And as if that wasn't stress enough for poor Clark, he's waiting for his Christmas bonus to come through to cover a cheque he's already written.

The script brims with festive jollity, enthusing the audience with Clark's excitement for the holidays. Stand out moments include the welcome (and hilarious) return of Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie, the uber-hick sponger with a trailer-full of weirdo kids and rubber sheets, and Mae Questel's appearance as Aunt Bethany. She used to voice Betty Boo, and plays the crazy old woman to perfection.

See this movie. Get it on video. I normally watch it the first time on a miserable October Sunday, when I start to think properly about Christmas. Nothing can replace this movie as the one thing guaranteed to get me looking forward to late December. Fabulous stuff, and as festive for me as tinsel and carols. Cuddle up with this one.


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