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A Christmas Story (1983)

tomatometer

88

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 52
Fresh: 46 | Rotten: 6

Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.

83

Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 1

Both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, A Christmas Story deserves its status as a holiday perennial.

audience

89

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 283,717

My Rating

Movie Info

Nine years after the Yuletide slasher flick Black Christmas, Porky's director Bob Clark once again took on the holiday genre, switching from gasps to laughs with A Christmas Story. Adapted from a memoir by humorist Jean Shepherd (who narrates), the film centers on Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), a young boy living in 1940s Indiana, desperately yearning for a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. Despite protests from his mother (Melinda Dillon) that he'll shoot his eye out, Ralphie persists,

PG,

Drama, Kids & Family, Comedy

,

Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, Bob Clark

Sep 28, 1999

MGM - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on A Christmas Story

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Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen looks back on the years he spent listening to "A Christmas Story"...
December 2, 2013:
Cleveland Celebrates A Christmas Story's 30th Anniversary
The city plans a series of events to commemorate a movie that "takes you back to when times were...

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All Critics (52) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (6) | DVD (21)

[A] richly remembered tale of Christmas past.

December 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Shepherd provides the voice-over of the grown hero narrating, and his prominence on the sound track forces Clark to focus on visual humor, resulting in some wild Our Gang-style slapstick.

December 5, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you're a fan of Christmas movies or films that use nostalgia as a driver, A Christmas Story cannot be missed. Then again, if you're in either category, you have probably already seen it.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Delightfully entertaining, with a wryly amusing narration to keep the adults in the audience smirking.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are a number of small, unexpectedly funny moments in A Christmas Story, but you have to possess the stamina of a pearl diver to find them.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comments (19)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There is a real knowledge of human nature beneath the comedy.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comment (1)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It takes pause to recognize the collective good nature we owe to one another all year round, and pays that knowledge forward with charm and wistfulness.

December 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemaphile.org
Cinemaphile.org

Never boring, and holds up wonderfully to repeated viewings.

December 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

It has a warmth and humor that soar with the season.

December 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

It won't make anyone forget Miracle on 34th Street, but this is pleasant fare as far as holiday films go nowadays, which isn't very far.

December 4, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

This witty, insightful, hugely enjoyable movie is riven with glorious home truths and a merciful lack of saccharin.

December 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

An underlying sweetness keeps the cynicism from getting out of hand, while the more subversive moments help temper its saccharine tendencies.

November 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Mania.com
Mania.com

Wonderful antidote to saccharine holiday tales.

December 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

This great heartwarming comedy from the director of Porky's was a flop during its theatrical run, but, like It's a Wonderful Life, has become a staple on cable during the holiday season.

December 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Funny, touching and unabashedly nostalgic. A true classic.

February 20, 2006
FulvueDrive-in.com

A great Hollywood classic!

August 12, 2005
7M Pictures

Upon its release over 20 years ago, everyone realized THIS is a modern classic holiday film.

October 25, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

The vignettes are priceless.

January 5, 2004 Full Review | Comment (1)

With much affectionate humor, A Christmas Story recalls vividly what it was like to be a kid at Christmas in a more innocent era.

December 26, 2003 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide | Comment (1)
Decent Films Guide

Never fails to take me back to a place of welcomed innocence yet it doesn't make me wish I were back there.

December 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Views

[It has] emerged over the past two decades as second only to It's a Wonderful Life as the definitive Christmas flick.

November 4, 2003
Creative Loafing

...sharp, insightful observations, a careful attention to period detail, and, most of all, a gentle good humor.

October 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Audience Reviews for A Christmas Story

Well-crafted and intelligent, A Christmas Story is a delightful classic with iconic scenes and a Middle America charm.
December 23, 2013
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Little Ralphie really wants a Red Ryder B. B. Gun for Christmas, and not even the objections of authority figures will dampen his quest to get it.

Good Lord, I love this movie. It seems like a funny, charming, and quirky little film, and it is, but it's also rather dark, twisted, and mean spirited. Somehow it all manages to work out though, and it somehow finds a balance.

The absurdity of the situations,and Jean Shepherd's excellent writing and narration are some definite highlights. His way of describing stuff and telling a good story is unmatched. The child actors are good, which is surprising since most are usually annoying and ridiculous. The adults are also pretty good, especially Darren McGavin, who just hams it up without overdoing it.

This is a strange Christmas film, but it's hard not to like. I think we've all had that one gift we always wanted, and hoped like Hell we'd get it. Along the way, this film also has some good lessons about life, childhood, growing up, and the ridiculousness both of life in general, and the holiday season.

I never get tired of watching this, and hope I never do.
December 21, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

I don't get the warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia watching this film as until this Christmas just passed, I'd never seen it. That is due to the fact that it never really took off in the UK as it did in the US, so was never on the telly. I wouldn't expect an American to want to watch or appreciate a Tommy Cooper Christmas special or a Morecambe & Wise repeat so please don't be offended by my star rating, it's just not my childhood.
January 3, 2012
SirPant

Super Reviewer

I tuned in halfway during TBS's A Christmas Story marathon. Everything was five-star gold. Watching it three more times kinda wore on me.
December 30, 2011
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

    1. Santa Claus: Ho! Ho! Ho!
    – Submitted by John B (8 months ago)
    1. The Old Man: In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenity that, as far as we know, is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.
    – Submitted by Janet B (20 months ago)
    1. Ralphie: Randy lay there like a slug. It was his only defense.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Mother: Randy... how do the little piggy's eat?
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. Randy: I can't put my arms down!
    2. Mother: You can put your arms down when you get to school.
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
    1. The Old Man: You used up all the glue on purpose!
    – Submitted by Frances H (20 months ago)
View all quotes (17)

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