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National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)



Average Rating: 6.2/10
Reviews Counted: 35
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 13

While Christmas Vacation may not be the most disciplined comedy, it's got enough laughs and good cheer to make for a solid seasonal treat.


Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 3

While Christmas Vacation may not be the most disciplined comedy, it's got enough laughs and good cheer to make for a solid seasonal treat.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 219,311

My Rating

Movie Info

Chevy Chase, star of National Lampoon's Vacation and its sequel, is back as the paterfamilias of the Griswold family (including Beverly D'Angelo as his missus) to skewer the Yuletide season. Chevy mugs, trips, falls, mashes his fingers and stubs his toes as he prepares to invite numerous dysfunctional relatives to his household to celebrate Christmas. Amidst the more outrageous sight gags (including the electrocution of a cat as the Christmas tree is lit) the film betrays a sentimental streak,




John Hughes

Nov 18, 1997

Warner Bros. Pictures

Watch It Now


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All Critics (35) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (13) | DVD (20)

Solid family fare with plenty of yocks.

November 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The new film does little more than reintroduce these familiar characters (with new actors playing the children, who would otherwise be college age by now) and let them get on one another's nerves in earnest.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the great unanswered questions in Hollywood is how Chevy Chase still gets work.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: ReelViews | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sequence after sequence seems to contain all the necessary material, to be well on the way toward a payoff, and then it somehow doesn't work.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Comments (5)
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Christmas Vacation may not be a fancy package, but it is a diverting stocking stuffer.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[A] fairly perfect blend... of cartoon violence and mayhem and the pleasant lightness of a Christmas movie.

November 7, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

John Hughes wrote the screenplay for this silly, warm little guilty pleasure that nails most of the trials and tribulations of spending the holidays with family.

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

With enough sight gags to please slapstick fans and enough good-natured Christmas cheer to qualify as a good holiday film, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation should keep most viewers occupied and provide 97 minutes of goofy entertainment.

November 27, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Easily the funniest of the four Vacation movies. Just try keeping a straight face when the uncouth Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) is on screen.

October 9, 2005

hilarious, a classic

August 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

The best of the four "Vacation" movies.

January 5, 2004 Full Review

The ultimate family holiday film, playing on both the heart strings and the horror to capture a genuine Christmas spirit.

October 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Views

...a roller-coaster ride of hilarity, poignancy, vulgarity, and just plain dumbness.

October 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comment (1)
Movie Metropolis

the last funny installment of the series

September 26, 2003 Full Review Source:

Haven't watched it in awhile, but I remember it well and I remember enjoying it. One of the better Vacation movies (Vegas Vacation is still the best, though).

August 29, 2003
Kansas City Star

Amusing Chase vehicle on its way to being a Xmas perennial.

August 24, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

There never, ever should've been more than one of these movies.

January 9, 2003 | Comments (2)
New Times

The human frailty at the center of the story makes the jokes all the funnier. Holiday films are rarely as priceless.

July 25, 2002
Matinee Magazine

As always the visual gags are more prevalent then the verbal ones, and are lit up in neon so you can't miss them.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source:

Many of those episodic moments, particularly in the film's first half, are hilarious. But as picture goes along there are far too many dry spells.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Christmas Vacation never quite reaches the levels of suburban-angst rage that other Vacation movies do, but it does have its moments.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

Audience Reviews for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

First California, then Europe, now entry #3, the Griswold family set their sights on Christmas...and the result is a real holiday classic.

Rather than hit the road this time, Clark and Co. stay home and play host to family as part of Clark's vision to have a perfect, fun, old-fashioned celebration of the birth of Jesus. Oh, but don't worry, this isn't a religious movie; It does come around and have a nice message to it though.

Yeah, the movie is very over-the-top, formulaic, cheesy, predictable, and pandering, but it's still a blast, with too many great quotes to rehash, and some truly memorable screwball set pieces.

As far as the cast go, we get the return of Chevy and Beverly, as well as reappearances from Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie and Brian Doyle Murray, who, in the first played the campground clerk, but shows up here as Clark's Scrooge-esque boss. Then there's Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki filling in as Rusty and Audrey, Juila Louis-Dreyfuss as a snotty yuppie neighbor, and my favorites: William Hickey and Mae Questel as Uncle Lewis and Aunt Bethany. As for Clark and Ellen's parents we get E.G. Marshall, Doris Roberts, Diane Ladd, and John Randolph.

Pretty great cast if you ask me.

The writing from John Hughes is quite hilarious, even if on the nose a lot of the time, and the film really ups the ante as far as bawdy content and Christmas films are concerned..well, until Bad Santa, at least.

All in all, this is one of my favorite holiday films, and a deliriously fun comedic romp that everybody should see.
December 21, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

With a powerhouse cast and a hilariously written script by John Hughes, "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" is the type of holiday film that never fails to make me laugh my ass off. The plot is simple, following a family through the holidays, where every piece of slapstick in the book occurs. The family is loveable and there are many touching moments throughout this film, even though it may seem like the comedy always takes over. This is one of my favourite films that revolve around Christmas. Chevy Chase is fantastic as always, and just makes the Griswold character funnier than he would have been on paper. The gags are fresh, the cast is awesome, and the direction is very well done, for a comedy that is. I love "Christmas Vacation"!
December 1, 2012
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

This is the weakest of the three but its still a very good Xmas comedy, probably the best ever really which still tells you allot. It hits all the right cozy Christmas notes and cliches but because its part of the Griswold series and has Chase hamming it up it still comes across as a great family comedy.

It has a nice animated section at the beginning credits and continues with some great slapstick and dialog throughout, nothing too surprising but it works. The Xmas dinner, the house lights (copied by many now) the squirrel in the tree, cutting down the tree, the snobbish neighbours, 'cousin Eddie' etc...there are still some great moments here but you can see how the franchise is slowly grinding to a halt, this just keeps its head above water :)
April 3, 2012

Super Reviewer

There's no Christmas that goes by without me watching this at least once. I've seen it so many times now, yet it's still as side-splitting as ever. Not only do we all have something we can relate to in it, but it's also the perfect marriage between slapstick and the more intelligent kind of humor. It's my hands-down favourite "Vacation" movie, and also one of my top 3 beloved Christmas flicks, along with Home Alone 1 & 2. From the cat that gets burned into the rug to the white trash antics of Cousin Eddie, there's so much to love about this film that you'll keep coming back for more. A must-see for the holiday season, whether you're a Chevy Chase fan or not.
December 22, 2011
Mike S

Super Reviewer

    1. Ellen Griswold: Clark, I think that it would be best for everybody if they all just went home...before things get any worse.
    2. Clark W. Griswold Jr.: WORSE? How can things get any worse? Take a look around you Ellen! We're at the threshold of Hell!
    – Submitted by Andrew D (20 months ago)
    1. Clark W. Griswold Jr.: [as company execs walk by] Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas. Kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your ass. Happy Hanukkah.
    – Submitted by Cody H (20 months ago)
    1. Todd Chester: Hey Griswold! Where do you think you're gonna put a tree that big?
    2. Clark W. Griswold Jr.: Bend over and I'll show you!
    – Submitted by Cody H (20 months ago)
    1. Clark W. Griswold Jr.: Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
    – Submitted by Nik M (23 months ago)
    1. Cousin Eddie: [to neighbor] Merry Christmas! Shitter was full!
    – Submitted by Nik M (23 months ago)
    1. Uncle Lewis: [to Aunt Bethany] You couldn't hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.
    – Submitted by Robert K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (13)

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