National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Holiday fun with characters everyone can identify with


Movie Info

Movie Name: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Studio: Warner Bros.

Genre(s): Comedy/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): December 1, 1989

MPAA Rating: PG-13


Why does Christmas always end in an arrest?

Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has a goal: the best Christmas ever for his family. He’s planning a pool for the family as soon as his boss (Brian Doyle-Murray) comes through with his bonus and he’s going to have the best light display in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, his whole family is coming for Christmas and when his wife’s brother Randy shows up with his family, Christmas is going to get a whole lot more crowded at the Griswold house. Will the family survive or will they end up killing each other before Christmas morning?

Directed by Jeremiah Chechik, Christmas Vacation has become one of the most popular holiday movies ever. It is the third outing for the Griswold family and after National Lampoon’s Vacation in 1983 and National Lampoon’s European Vacation in 1985. The movie was written by John Hughes and based on his short National Lampoon story Christmas ’59.


Let’s light this sucker up!

Christmas Vacation works because of Chevy Chase’s pure glee in the holiday experience. He loves Christmas and shows it in every shot. Like for many people, the holidays are one of the best times of the year and one of the most frustrating. His attempts to make the best holiday continuously backfires for him and the control is taken from him. It is this frustration that people can identify with. If you don’t know a Clark Griswold, you might be a Clark Griswold.

The movie also has a great supporting cast. Beverly DAngelo continues to be a nice balance to Chase’s exasperation. Clarks children were de-aged this time with Johnny Galecki and Juliette Lewis as his sarcastic children. The in-laws of John Randolph and Diane Ladd (as Clarks parents) and E. G. Marshall and Doris Roberts (as Ellens parents). The scene stealer of course is Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid)…he steals every scene…and commentary reveals that is a water-bottle shoved in his pants…you know the scene.


S****er’s full!

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation has become a Christmas institution along with other modern classics like Home Alone. Now, as families gather for the holiday, they also gather around and watch the Griswolds celebrate the season…something that Clark would have loved.  The movie was followed by Vegas Vacation  in 1997 and a Made-for-TV sequel to Christmas Vacation in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure in 2003.

Related Links:

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)

National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

Vegas Vacation (1997)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2:  Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure (2003)

Vacation (2015)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response