Home Alone

Critics Consensus

Home Alone uneven but frequently funny premise stretched unreasonably thin is buoyed by Macaulay Culkin's cute performance and strong supporting stars.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,026,251
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Movie Info

Home Alone is the highly successful and beloved family comedy about a young boy named Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) who is accidentally left behind when his family takes off for a vacation in France over the holiday season. Once he realizes they've left him home alone, he learns to fend for himself and, eventually has to protect his house against two bumbling burglars (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) who are planning to rob every house in Kevin's suburban Chicago neighborhood. Though the film's slapstick ending may be somewhat violent, Culkin's charming presence helped the film become one of the most successful ever at the time of its release.~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide

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Macaulay Culkin
as Kevin McCallister
Joe Pesci
as Harry
Catherine O'Hara
as Kate McCallister
John Heard
as Peter McCallister
John Candy
as Gus Polinski
Angela Goethals
as Linnie McCallister
Devin Ratray
as Buzz McCallister
Gerry Bamman
as Uncle Frank
Hillary Wolf
as Megan McCallister
Larry Hankin
as Off. Balzak
Michael C. Maronna
as Jeff McCallister
Terrie Snell
as Aunt Leslie
Jeffrey Wiseman
as Mitch Murphy
Virginia Smith
as Georgette
Matt Doherty
as Steffan
Ralph Foody
as Johnny, 1st Gangster
Bill Erwin
as Man in Airport
Michael Guido
as Snakes, 2nd Gangster
Ray Toler
as Uncle Rod
Billie Bird
as Woman at Airport
Clarke Devereux
as Officer Devereux
Lynn Mansbach
as French Woman
Alan Wilder
as Scranton Ticket Agent
Hope Davis
as French Ticket Agent
Dianne B. Shaw
as Airline Counter Person
Keegan Connor Tracy
as Check Out Girl
Jim Ryan
as Stock Boy
Sandra Macat
as Santa's Elf
Ann Whitney
as Drugstore Clerk
Richard J. Firfer
as Store Manager
Jim Ortlieb
as Herb, Drugstore Clerk
Kate Lang Johnson
as Police Operator
Jean-Claude Sciore
as French Gate Agent
Monica Devereux
as Flight Attendant
Gerry Becker
as Officer #1
Victor Cole
as Officer #2
Michael Hansen
as Airport Driver
Peter Pantaleo
as Airport Driver
Edward Bruzan
as Polka Band Member
Frank R. Cernugel
as Polka Band Member
Eddie Korosa
as Polka Band Member
Robert Okrzesik
as Polka Band Member
Leo Perion
as Polka Band Member
Vince Waidzulis
as Polka Band Member
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Critic Reviews for Home Alone

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (13)

Audience Reviews for Home Alone

  • Dec 26, 2016
    Some of the best holiday/Christmas movies are those movies that, really, have very little to do with Christmas. And I really think that that's the problem with a lot of these films. Christmas is, really, such a limiting concept. You can only go a couple of ways with these films and, usually, filmmakers go for the sweet, sappy and corny. There's films like Bad Santa and Uncle Nick that try to subvert this genre with darker stories, but, even then, the end goal of the film isn't really about Christmas. They just happen to take place during the Christmas season and they certainly have some themes associated with the season, but they're not completely centered around Christmas with a, sort-of, tunnel vision where nothing else can come in. And, really, this movie is one of those holiday movies that takes place during the holidays, but isn't really completely centered on the holiday itself. Like I said, there's certain some elements associated with the 'genre', like when Kevin, after an incident where he gets grounded after a fight with his brother and ruins the family dinner, wishes for his family to disappear. I don't know who Kevin was asking for when he asked for this, but let's say it was Santa Claus. Actually now that I think about it, it was Santa Claus since, later in the film after his family has left for Paris, he goes to one of Santa's 'representative' for him to tell Santa that all he wants for Christmas is his family back. But I digress, maybe this movie wasn't even good in the 90s, but I don't think time has been super kind to this. Though, if we're being honest, this movie was never meant to be more than a crowd-pleaser. It was never made to please critics or people like me, who appreciate well-written movies with strong character development. That's not to say that I can't enjoy a film like this, as in something lighter in tone, I obviously have, but I don't think this movie has enough material to justify its own existence. John Hughes wrote some truly great movies in the 80s, but this is obviously not one of his best. Or at least it's a middle-of-the-road for him, considering that this is the same guy that wrote The Breakfast Club. Those two have nothing in comparison with the minor exception that Hughes wrote both of them. I think the main problem with the film is that it's fairly repetitive. Kevin wakes up, finds out that his family is gone. He does everything he couldn't do when he didn't have a family, rinse and repeat. There's not much variety in the movie. Oh and he also has to deal with these thieves that want to go in his house to steal his family's shit since, naturally, they feel that they can handle him. I haven't seen this movie in a long-ass time, seriously, and I remembered it being much more geared towards Kevin fucking over the thieves with various traps. Yet, it turns out that those segments of the film only, really, comprise like 15% of the entire movie. The thieves do follow Kevin around and they scout out his house, but the actual traps that Kevin sets and their effects on the thieves is actually very minimal. So, for the most part, I felt that the movie was really killing time before they got to that point. And, realistically speaking, I get why they left it all for the third act. You can't build an entire movie out of a kid foiling the thieves' plans with his traps, eventually the jokes would be repeated and the law of diminishing returns would end up applying here. So I get that, but there's no actual narrative to speak of here. Maybe Kevin realizing that he loves and misses his family in spite of how they treat him. But that's another thing that you can't build an entire movie out of. You also have Catherine O'Hara, who plays the mom, doing whatever it is she can do to get back to Chicago to Kevin. There's also this subplot with this old man that the kids around town believe to be a serial killer. And this is actually the best part of the entire film, once you get to see who this man is and his backstory. It's the only part of the film that has any actual emotional resonance. Which is strange seeing how much slapstick this film employs. And I'm not saying that this movie is ever bad, not even close, it's average at best. But I'm still surprised at that part of the story considering everything the movie ends up being about. And I guess the inclusion of this more emotional subplot does make sense what with it relating to Kevin's own issues with his family, but it still feels somewhat out of place. I will say that the segment with Kevin and the traps are surprisingly inspired and effective. And I don't even know why I'm surprised, really, but it's pretty good all things considered. So I can't complain about that aspect of the film. What I can complain is the lack of focus and direction for the rest of the movie. Macaulay Culkin was cute and good here, he didn't have great delivery but I liked him here, so I think it certainly got by for most people just because of him and him alone. But if you inspected the movie closer, you would obviously notice the flaws. It's a fairly decent movie and nothing more than that, I'm sure others will enjoy this much more than I did.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jun 21, 2016
    This is the movie as a kid that proved to me that laughter is great medicine. I was pretty sick the day my dad took me to see this in the theaters and walked out of the theater feeling much better. Great script by John Hughes and full of slapstick greatness by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern.
    Patrick W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2015
    I'll get right to the chase. This movie was funny.... I understand that... but basically watching it a bunch of times doesn't make it funny anymore. For the 25th anniversary of the movie, we mostly saw the movie again. It became exactly an overrated Christmas comedy as we most likely saw it again. I respect this movie in one way, but for the other way... not so much.
    EpicLadySponge t Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2012
    Home Alone is a very popular family film for the holidays. And rightfully so. The film is all about family and has themes that makes the adult think and plenty of humor for the kids. The humor really is solid for a family film. John Hughes does his thing with the screenplay and has plenty of moments for the adults to enjoy with the kids and for the adults to enjoy without the kids. It's another script to add to John Hughes's wonderful career and helps in his contention as one of the greatest screenwriters ever. Few could find the balance of dramatic themes and flat out humor the way he could. The actors are also good. Culkin is impressive at such a young age and Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci have always been able to make me chuckle in this movie. It isn't without its flaws, though. The slapstick gets a little too much during the climax, ranging from stupid to flat out ridiculous with the traps Kevin sets up for the burglars. I'm fine with the ice on the steps or even the tar on the steps, but things like the zipline and blowtorch to the head make me shake my head a bit. It's great for the kids though. Complaints aside, this is a solid holiday film that I've enjoyed since I first saw it in theaters as a young kid over 20 years ago.
    Drew O Super Reviewer

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