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National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 41
Fresh: 39 | Rotten: 2

Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1

Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.

audience

85

liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 111,308

My Rating

Movie Info

The first film in the Vacation comedy franchise stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, an ad exec who becomes consumed with taking his family cross-country to Wally World, a California amusement park. Less a vacation than a descent into a peculiarly American kind of hell, the Griswolds suffer through an endless series of catastrophes, culminating in a run-in with the law. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

R,

Comedy

John Hughes

Aug 27, 1997

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (41) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (2) | DVD (20)

National Lampoon's Vacation is an enjoyable trip through familiar comedy landscapes.

May 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite plenty of gross-out gags and dumb slapstick bits, the careful viewer can occasionally detect some acrid and original satire in this 1983 film.

May 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is not so much a comedy about American values as a 2,500 mile skid on a banana skin. The visual gags come thick and fast, and are about as subtly signposted as the exit markers on a freeway.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is a confident humor and throwaway style that helps sustain the laughs -- of which there are quite a few.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Thanks largely to Chevy Chase's zaniness and comic timing this is a very funny movie.

August 2, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

The humor in Vacation also taps into something beyond the trials and travails of a road trip gone wrong.

July 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Mania.com
Mania.com

National Lampoon's Vacation is a comedic cross-country adventure like no other, thanks to Chevy Chase and the rest of the Griswold family.

May 31, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

The Griswolds are a national treasure.

May 25, 2013 Full Review Source: CraveOnline
CraveOnline

A timeless comedy. Hysterical.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

A perfect marriage of collaborators on both sides of the camera.

September 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

Funny family comedy, but dated and risque.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Though lacking in narrative and comic sophistication, National Lampoon's Vacation has something arguably more important: built-in, instant audience identification. [Blu-ray]

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

...a zany, lighthearted look at numbskull American tourism at its most chaotic.

August 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Funny, though often obvious.

May 7, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

This boasts a great cast from start to finish, but the funniest moments in this film for me invariably come from Randy Quaid, who plays Chase's dumb country cousin.

August 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Chevy Chase is hilarious once again.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

There are plenty of funny moments in this comedy that introduced the world to bumbling everyman Clark Griswold. The second best in the series after Christmas Vacation.

October 8, 2005
Fantastica Daily

Relive some of your own dreadful family vacation moments with National Lampoon's comedy classic, Vacation.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

sublimely silly

February 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Funny Griswold adventures. Don't forget Aunt Edna's dog!

October 16, 2004

Audience Reviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

This is for sure one of the most remember and one of the comedy movies that is the characteristic of the 80's American humour.
April 23, 2013
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

Directed by Harold Ramis, scripted by John Hughes, and starring Chevy Chase, this film is essentially one of the all-time greatest screwball comedies. That it's a road movie makes it even better in my eyes.

Clark Griswold is your typical all-American whose just trying to be a good husband and loving father. He and his family set out from Chicago to L.A. for what should be a great vacation, with their ultimate destination being a theme park called Wally World.

The trip ends up being anything but paradise as they family encounter a number of oddball problems and colorful events that just keeping piling on top of one another.

Chase is great, and so is Beverly D'Angelo as his wife Ellen. Their kids Rusty and Audrey are played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron, and, they're decent, but nothing amazing. The real scene stealer though is Randy Quaid as Clark's redneck cousin-in-law Eddie, who is really obnoxious and a big leech, yet still lovable, and definitely memorable. Eugene Levy also appears in a fun cameo early on. And of course, who can forget Christie Brinkley as a mysterious woman who becomes the object of Clark's desire?

There's good location shooting, decent music, hilarious one-liners, and some truly outrageous moments here, all of which add up to an American comedy classic. Bottom line: don't miss it.
December 21, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

MAJOR blast from the past here and it still holds up really well today despite being really seriously dated. The appearance is almost historical with all those 80's clothes, cars and electronic gear (the sequence with 'Clarke' using the old computer, check those graphics! may have even been an old Atari, not sure) but the laughs all round are still gold, silly but pure gold.
You have to remember that these days this kind of thing is completely unoriginal and pretty lame really, but when this first came out it was quite unique.

Best scenes include...the red Ferrari driving blonde and 'Clarke' trying to impress her, highjacking 'WallyWorld', the annoying auntie who then pops her clogs, Randy Quaid as 'Eddie' and arriving at 'WallyWorld' to find its closed with 'Clarke' then throwing a wobbly LOL!! many other various in-car travel moments along the way also make you smile.

The main thing is you can relate to it completely, maybe not now, but back in the day as a kid I had a few roadtrips on holiday with my parents and it actually was like this at times, it really was haha! especially how 'Clarke' sweats allot through his gloriously 80's t-shirts, my dad did exactly that lol!

Ramis really hit home with this excellent comedy and to think for years I had no clue he was the director, much like the rest of the cast I didn't really know who they were. Now of course its a cult and virtually part of the American way, the rest of the world used to see Americans as the Griswold's, best not mention that to them hehe.
April 3, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Easily one of the best comdies ever made. This was made back when comedies were taken seriously, not on the actors in it, but the overall plot. Nowadays, whenever Will Ferrel is in a movie, people automatically assume it's going to be a funny movie. Then when people go to see his movie, they focus too much on Ferrel and not the storyline. Vacation was genuinely funny, whereas Will Ferrel movies have to rely on Ferrel acting like a child to get laughs. Vacation not oly has laughs, but the build up to laughs. We know Clark (Potrayed by the always funny Chevy Chase.) wants the road trip to be perfect for his family, but unfortunate events continue to pile on including the death of a dog and getting lost in the ghetto. The audience knows that Clark is eventually on the verge of flipping out and when he does, the laughs don't stop. Will Ferrel movies (Sorry to always bring him up, I just hate the guy, he's not funny and his movies suck. I need a good example of how NOT to make a comedy.) always have the same crap: Will Ferrel jumping around, acting like a kindergarten brat. I recommend this to anyone who wants to laugh as soon as the movie starts and keep laughing even when the movie is over.
January 12, 2012
Tyler Robertson

Super Reviewer

    1. Clark Griswold: Sure, how much you need?
    2. Cousin Eddie: $52,000.
    – Submitted by Javier T (15 months ago)
    1. Clark Griswold: Excuse me, Holmes?
    – Submitted by Michael B (18 months ago)
    1. Clark Griswold: Excuse me, holmes.
    – Submitted by topher h (2 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Latest News on National Lampoon's Vacation

April 24, 2013:
New Line Puts New Vacation Movie on Hold
Those pesky creative differences are afoot.
March 28, 2013:
Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo in Talks for New Vacation
Their roles are described as being "on the cameo level."
March 20, 2013:
Christina Applegate in Talks for Vacation
Is she the new Beverly D'Angelo?

Foreign Titles

  • National Lampoon's Vacation (DE)
  • National Lampoon's Vacation (UK)
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