A Christmas Story (1983)

a christmas story poster 1983 movie
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 10/10

Classic Christmas spirit


Movie Info

Movie Name: A Christmas Story

Studio: MGM

Genre(s): Comedy/Family/Seasonal

Release Date(s): November 18, 1983

MPAA Rating: PG

christmas story flick stuck to lamp pole peter billingsley scott schwartz

Stuck?!?! STUCK!?!?!

All Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun and the only thing in his way is life. His mother (Melinda Dillon) is against it and the Old Man (Darren McGavin) is too busy with his crossword puzzles and battling the furnace. Ralphie has to deal with bullies like Scut Farkus (Zack Ward) and Grover Dill (Yano Anaya) and his little brother Randy (Ian Petrella) who seems to get more attention. Ralphie is going to have to work to get the Red Ryder, and he might be against more odds than Red Ryder himself.

Directed by Bob Clark, A Christmas Story is a holiday comedy.  The movie adapts stories from the 1966 Jean Shepherd novel In God We Trust:  All Others Pay Cash.  The movie was released to so-so reviews and an average box office return but since its release it has gained a cult following leading to 24 Hours of A Christmas Story often running on the holiday.

christmas story leg lamp darren mcgavin melinda dillon hd

A major award!!!

Bob Clark who directed horror films like Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and Black Christmas and the gross-out teen comedy Porky’s, A Christmas Story comes as a bit of surprise.  I didn’t see it in the theater but saw it soon afterwards…and it became a must for every Christmas viewing.

The reason why A Christmas Story works is that everyone who celebrates Christmas has been in Ralphie’s shoes. There has been that one item you wanted more than anything and getting it meant the world (or the end of the world if you didn’t find it on Christmas morning). The ups and downs of the holiday season are mentally and sometimes even physically exhausting for a kid just trying to make it to the day.

The cast does a great job. Peter Billingsley as Ralphie emotes sheer optimism and hope for the BB gun which helps drive the movie. Even Ralphie’s friends seem like friends you’ve had over the years. Ian Petrella’s Randy is the typical little brother that is always in the way, and Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin are great as the parents exhausted by children who have too much energy for the holiday season.  The writer Jean Shepherd provides the narration but also has a cameo as the angry man at the start of the Santa Claus line.

christmas story black bart ralphie bb gun peter billingsley

Will Ralphie have his dreams?

Setting the movie in 1940s also helped. It gives the movie a classic feel and opens it up to appealing to multiple generations. The common themes keep it tied, but the setting keeps the movie from dating. There aren’t any special effects and the movie still has the same appeal as when it was released.

A Christmas Story is a classic and encompasses most of what made Christmas important to you as a kid. There isn’t much mention of church or religion, and when your little, that usually isn’t what you are thinking about. It is about what shape is that box and could that be the toy you want. What’s going to be in the stocking, what’s under the tree, and can you even make it through Christmas Eve to find out. It also contains another important message: Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.  The film was followed by A Christmas Story 2 in 2012 and an official sequel A Christmas Story Christmas in 2022.

Related Links:

A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

A Christmas Story Christmas (2022)

A Christmas Story Live! (2017)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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.

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