Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki
Advertisement
Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki


National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is a 1989 Christmas comedy film directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. It is the third installment in National Lampoon's Vacation film series, and was written by John Hughes, based on his short story in National Lampoon magazine, "Christmas '59". This film stars Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and Randy Quaid, with Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki as the Griswold children Audrey and Rusty, respectively.

Since its release in 1989, Christmas Vacation has often been labeled as a modern Christmas classic. It is also the only sequel in the Vacation series to have spawned its own direct sequel: a 2003 made-for-TV release entitled National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure.

This film has achieved four home video releases: VHS and Laserdisc in early 1990, a bare bones DVD in 1997, and a "Special Edition" DVD in 2003. In 2009, the film was released as an "Ultimate Collector's Edition." At the same time of this release, it was also released on a simple Blu-ray/DVD combo. A steelbook Blu-ray was released in 2015.

Plot

Chicago-area resident Clark Griswold plans to have a great Christmas with his entire family. He gathers his wife Ellen, daughter Audrey, and son Rusty and drives out to the country to find a tree. After walking through the snow for hours, Clark picks out the largest tree he can find. Realizing too late that they did not bring any tools to cut the tree down, they are forced to uproot it instead, before driving home with the tree strapped to the roof of their car.

Soon after, both Clark's and Ellen's parents arrive for Christmas, but their bickering quickly begins to annoy the family. Clark, however, maintains a positive attitude, determined to have a "fun old-fashioned family Christmas". He covers the house's entire exterior with 25,000 twinkle lights, which fail to work at first, as he has accidentally wired them through his garage's light switch. When they finally come on, they temporarily cause a citywide power shortage and create chaos for Clark's yuppie neighbors, Todd and Margo. While standing on the front lawn admiring the lights, Clark is shocked to see Ellen's redneck cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie, as they arrive unannounced with their children, Rocky and Ruby Sue, and their Rottweiler dog, Snot. Eddie later admits that they are living in the RV they arrived in, as he is broke and has been forced to sell his home and acreage. Clark offers to buy gifts for Eddie's kids so they can still enjoy Christmas. Soon afterward, Clark's senile Aunt Bethany and grumpy Uncle Lewis arrive as well.

Clark begins to wonder why his boss Frank Shirley has not given him his yearly bonus, which he desperately needs to replace an advance payment he has made to install a swimming pool for the coming summer. After a disastrous Christmas Eve dinner, along with Bethany's cat getting electrocuted and Uncle Lewis accidentally burning down the Christmas tree while lighting his cigar, he finally receives an envelope from a company messenger, who had failed to deliver it the day before. Instead of the presumed bonus, the envelope contains a free year's membership for the "Jelly of the Month Club". This prompts Clark to snap and go into a tirade about Frank and, out of anger, request that he be delivered to the house, wrapped in a bow, so Clark can insult him to his face.

Eddie takes the request literally, drives to Frank's mansion, and kidnaps him. Frank admits to having cancelled the Christmas bonuses, and Clark chastises him for doing so. Meanwhile, Frank's wife, Helen, calls the police, and a SWAT team storms the Griswold house and holds everyone at gunpoint. Frank decides not to press charges and explains the situation to his wife and the SWAT leader, both of whom scold him for his decision to scrap the bonuses, and he decides to reinstate them (with Clark getting a bonus equal to last year's amount, plus 20% as compensation).

The family heads outside when Rocky and Ruby Sue believe they see Santa Claus in the distance. Clark tells them it is actually the Christmas Star and that he finally realizes what the holiday means to him. Uncle Lewis says the light is coming from the sewage treatment plant; reminding Clark that Eddie had been dumping his RV sewage into the nearby storm drain. Before Clark can stop him, Uncle Lewis tosses a match used to light his cigar into the drain, triggering an explosion. The explosion sends a Santa's sleigh decoration flying into the sky. Aunt Bethany starts singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" and everyone joins in as the flaming decoration flies into the distance. The entire family and the SWAT team members then celebrate inside the house, while Clark and Ellen happily share a Christmas kiss, and Clark stands outside satisfied that he provided a great Christmas for his family.

Cast

  • Chevy Chase as Clark W. "Sparky" Griswold Jr., the patriarch of the Griswold family. Perpetually optimistic, and sometimes in denial, he is nonetheless passionate about and dedicated to putting on the perfect family holiday.
  • Beverly D'Angelo as Ellen Griswold, Clark's wife. She does not share her husband's outlook but still supports him in his Christmas endeavor.
  • Juliette Lewis as Audrey Griswold, Clark and Ellen's daughter. She was previously portrayed by Dana Barron and Dana Hill in the last two films. Audrey hates the entire idea of the big family Christmas, especially when it affects her social life.
  • Johnny Galecki as Russ Griswold, Clark and Ellen's son. He was previously portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall and Jason Lively in the last two films. Russ supports his father but is greatly annoyed by his relatives.
  • John Randolph as Clark Griswold Sr., Clark's father.
  • Diane Ladd as Nora Griswold, Clark's mother.
  • E.G. Marshall as Art Smith, Ellen's father.
  • Doris Roberts as Frances Smith, Ellen's mother.
  • Miriam Flynn as Catherine Johnson, Ellen's cousin.
  • Randy Quaid as Eddie Johnson, Catherine's husband and the patriarch of the white-trash side of the family. He comes to town unannounced and uninvited.
  • Cody Burger as Rocky Johnson, Eddie and Catherine's son.
  • Ellen Hamilton Latzen as Ruby Sue Johnson, Eddie and Catherine's daughter.
  • William Hickey as Lewis, Clark's aged uncle and the husband of Bethany. He wears a wig and smokes cigars.
  • Mae Questel as Bethany, Clark's 80-year-old senile aunt and the wife of Lewis.
  • Sam McMurray as Bill, Clark's co-worker and best friend at work.
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Margo Chester, the Griswolds' yuppie neighbor who despises Clark and takes the brunt of the Griswolds' antics.
  • Nicholas Guest as Todd Chester, Margo's husband who also despises Clark.
  • Brian Doyle-Murray as Frank Shirley, Clark's boss. He does not remember Clark's first name and calls him different names until the final scene of the movie.
  • Natalia Nogulich as Helen Shirley, Frank's wife.
  • Nicolette Scorsese as Mary, a lingerie counter clerk.
  • Alexander Folk as Lead SWAT Officer
  • Doug Llewelyn as the voice of the Parade Announcer

Production

Development and writing

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation originated from a short story by writer John Hughes called "Christmas '59," which was published in the December 1980 issue of National Lampoon magazine.[1] "The studio came to me and begged for another one, and I only agreed because I had a good story to base it on," said Hughes. "But those movies have become little more than Chevy Chase vehicles."[2] Director Chris Columbus initially was to direct the film, but due to a personality clash between him and Chase, Columbus left the film and was replaced by Chechik. Hughes eventually gave Columbus the script to Home Alone.[3][4]

Filming

Principal photography began on March 27, 1989 in Summit County, Colorado,[5] with footage shot in Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Frisco.[6] From there the production moved to Warner Bros. Ranch Facilities in Burbank, California, where the set of the Griswold family's house and street is located.[7]

Release

Home media

The film has been released on home media seven different times: VHS and Laserdisc in early 1990, a bare bones DVD in 1997, and a "Special Edition" DVD in 2003. HD DVD as well as Blu-ray editions were released in 2006.[8] In 2009, a second Blu-ray of the film was released as an "Ultimate Collector's Edition". At the same time of this release, it was also released on a simple Blu-ray/DVD combo.[9][10][11] A steelbook Blu-ray was released in 2015.

External Links


v - e - d
National-lampoons-vacation-collection-logo.png
Media
Characters
Locations
Transportations
See also


v - e - d
Warner Bros. Pictures 2019.png
1910s
1916: Robinson Crusoe

1918: My Four Years in Germany · Kaiser's Finish
1919: Open Your Eyes · Beware! · Speed

1920s
1920: The Tiger Band · The Lost City · Parted Curtains

1921: Miracles of the Jungle · School Days · Why Girls Leave Home · Ashamed of Parents
1922: Your Best Friend · Rags to Riches · A Dangerous Adventure · The Beautiful and Damned · Heroes of the Street
1923: Brass · The Tie That Binds · Little Church Around the Corner · Main Street · Where the North Begins · Little Johnny Jones · The Printer's Devil · The Gold Diggers · The Country Kid · Lucretia Lombard · Tiger Rose
1924: Conductor 1492 · George Washington Jr. · Daddies · The Marriage Circle · Beau Brummel · How to Educate a Wife · Broadway After Dark · Babbitt · Being Respectable · Her Marriage Vow · Cornered · Lover's Lane · The Tenth Woman · Find Your Man · Three Women · This Woman · The Age of Innocence · The Lover of Camille · The Dark Swan · The Lighthouse by the Sea · A Lost Lady
1925: The Bridge of Sighs · The Narrow Street · On Thin Ice · A Broadway Butterfly · Recompense · My Wife and I · The Man Without a Conscience · Eve's Lover · Tracked in the Snow Country · How Baxter Butted In · Kiss Me Again · The Woman Hater · The Limited Mail · The Wife Who Wasn't Wanted · His Majesty, Bunker Bean · Below the Line · The Man on the Box · Compromise · Bobbed Hair · Red Hot Tires · Seven Sinners · Satan in Sables · Rose of the World · The Clash of the Wolves · Three Weeks in Paris · Hogan's Alley · Pleasure Buyers · Lady Windermere's Fan
1926: The Fighting Edge · His Jazz Bride · The Sea Beast · The Man Upstairs · The Golden Cocoon · The Caveman · The Love Toy · Bride of the Storm · The Night Cry · Why Girls Go Back Home · The Little Irish Girl · Oh! What a Nurse! · The Gilded Highway · Other Women's Husbands · The Sap · Hell-Bent for Heaven · Silken Shackles · The Social Highwayman · Footloose Widows · The Passionate Quest · A Hero of the Big Snows · So This Is Paris · Don Juan · Broken Hearts of Hollywood · The Honeymoon Express · Millionaires · Across the Pacific · My Official Wife · The Better 'Ole · Private Izzy Murphy · While London Sleeps · The Third Degree
1927: Finger Prints · Wolf's Clothing · The Fortune Hunter · Don't Tell the Wife · Hills of Kentucky · The Gay Old Bird · White Flannels · What Every Girl Should Know · Matinee Ladies · Bitter Apples · The Brute · Tracked by the Police · The Climbers · Irish Hearts · The Missing Link · A Million Bid · Simple Sis · The Black Diamond Express · Dearie · What Happened to Father? · The Heart of Maryland · The Bush Leaguer · When a Man Loves · The Desired Woman · Slightly Used · Old San Francisco · Jaws of Steel · One-Round Hogan · The First Auto · A Sailor's Sweetheart · The Jazz Singer · Sailor Izzy Murphy · The College Widow · A Reno Divorce · A Dog of the Regiment · Good Time Charley · The Silver Slave · The Girl from Chicago · Ginsberg the Great · Brass Knuckles · If I Were Single · Ham and Eggs at the Front · Husbands for Rent
1928: Beware of Married Men · A Race for Life · The Little Snob · Across the Atlantic · Powder My Back · Tenderloin · Domestic Troubles · The Crimson City · Rinty of the Desert · Glorious Betsy · Pay as You Enter · The Lion And The Mouse · Five and Ten Cent Annie · Lights of New York · Women They Talk About · Caught in the Fog · State Street Sadie · The Midnight Taxi · The Terror · Night Watch · Waterfront · The Singing Fool · Show Girl · Do Your Duty · Land of the Silver Fox · Lilac Time · Beware of Bachelors · Noah's Ark · The Home Towners · The Haunted House · Outcast · On Trial · Adoration · The Little Wildcat · The Barker · My Man · Conquest · The Ware Case
1929: Synthetic Sin · Cheyenne · Scarlet Seas · Fancy Baggage · Seven Footprints to Satan · Stark Mad · His Captive Woman · The Greyhound Limited · The Million Dollar Collar · Weary River · The Redeeming Sin · The Lawless Legion · The Royal Rider · Stolen Kisses · Why Be Good? · Children of the Ritz · Saturday's Children · One Stolen Night · Kid Gloves · Queen of the Night Clubs · Love and the Devil · Hardboiled Rose · The Divine Lady · No Defense · The Desert Song · Sonny Boy · Frozen River · From Headquarters · House of Horror · Glad Rag Doll · Hot Stuff · The Squall · Two Weeks Off · Prisoners · The Flying Scotsman · Careers · Madonna of Avenue A · The Girl in the Glass Cage · The Gamblers · Broadway Babies · The Man and the Moment · The Time, The Place And The Girl · On with the Show · Twin Beds · Drag · Smiling Irish Eyes · Hard to Get · The Hottentot · Dark Streets · The Argyle Case · Say It with Songs · Her Private Life · Gold Diggers of Broadway · Honky Tonk · In the Headlines · Fast Life · Skin Deep · Hearts in Exile · The Careless Age · The Great Divide · A Most Immoral Lady · The Isle of Lost Ships · So Long Letty · Is Everybody Happy? · Young Nowheres · The Girl from Woolworth's · Disraeli · Paris · Footlights and Fools · The Sap · The Forward Pass · Little Johnny Jones · The Sacred Flame · The Painted Angel · Evidence · The Love Racket · The Aviator · Tiger Rose · The Show of Shows · Wedding Rings

1930s
1931: The Maltese Falcon

1935: Captain Blood
1938: Angels with Dirty Faces · The Adventures of Robin Hood
1939: Dark Victory

1940s
1940:

1941: The Maltese Falcon
1942: The Man Who Came to Dinner · Yankee Doodle Dandy · Casablanca
1943:
1944: Arsenic and Old Lace · To Have and Have Not · Meet Me in St. Louis
1945:
1946: The Big Sleep
1947: Dark Passage
1948: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre · Key Largo
1949: White Heat · The Fountainhead

1950s
1951: A Streetcar Named Desire

1952:
1953:
1954:
1955: Rebel Without a Cause
1956:
1957:
1958:
1959:

1960s
1964: The Incredible Mr. Limpet · My Fair Lady
1970s
1971: The Priest's Wife

1974: Blazing Saddles
1977: The Late Show · Brothers · Viva Knievel! · Exorcist II: The Heretic · One on One · Greased Lightning · Outlaw Blues · Oh, God! · A Piece of the Action · Starship Invasions · The Pack · The Goodbye Girl · The Gauntlet
1978: Superman
1979: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie

1980s
1980: Just Tell Me What You Want · Simon · The Ninth Configuration · When Time Ran Out · Tom Horn · Gilda Live · Die Laughing · Heart Beat · Friday the 13th · The Shining · Up the Academy · Bronco Billy · No Nukes · Honeysuckle Rose · Caddyshack · The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu · The Big Brawl · AC/DC: Let There Be Rock · Divine Madness · The First Deadly Sin · One Trick Pony · Oh, God! Book II · Private Benjamin · The Awakening · Any Which Way You Can · First Family · Altered States

1981: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow · Sphinx · Back Roads · Eyes of a Stranger · This Is Elvis · Excalibur · The Hand · Outland · Superman II · Arthur · Wolfen · Under the Rainbow · Prince of the City · Body Heat · So Fine · Chariots of Fire · Looker · The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie · Rollover · Sharky's Machine
1982: Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales · Best Friends
1983: The Man with Two Brains · Stroker Ace · National Lampoon's Vacation · Cujo · Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island
1984: Gremlins · The NeverEnding Story
1985: The Goonies · National Lampoon's European Vacation
1986: The Clan of the Cave Bear · One Crazy Summer
1987: Lethal Weapon
1988: Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
1989: Lethal Weapon 2 · National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation · Tango & Cash

1990s
1990: Gremlins 2: The New Batch

1991: The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
1992: Lethal Weapon 3
1998: Lethal Weapon 4 · Jack Frost
1999: Pokémon - The First Movie

2000s
2000: Pokémon - The Movie 2000 · Pokémon 3: The Movie
2010s
2020s
Upcoming
Advertisement