National Lampoon's Vacation


National Lampoon's Vacation

Critics Consensus

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.



Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 113,376
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National Lampoon's Vacation Photos

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

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Chevy Chase
as Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo
as Ellen Griswold
Imogene Coca
as Aunt Edna
Randy Quaid
as Cousin Eddie
Anthony Michael Hall
as Rusty Griswold
Dana Barron
as Audrey Griswold
Eddie Bracken
as Roy Walley
Brian Doyle-Murray
as Kamp Komfort Clerk
Miriam Flynn
as Cousin Catherine
Denny Freeman
as Policeman
James Keach
as Motorcycle Cop
Eugene Levy
as Car salesman
Christie Brinkley
as Girl in Red Ferrari
Jane Krakowski
as Cousin Vicki
John P. Navin Jr.
as Cousin Dale
Nathan Cook
as Man Giving Directions
Mickey Jones
as Mechanic
John Diehl
as Assistant Mechanic
Jeannie Dimter Barton
as Dodge City Cashier
Gerry Black
as Davenport
James Staley
as Motel Desk Clerk
Tessa Richarde
as Motel Guest
Fritz Ford
as Neighbor
Scott Perry
as Swat Leader
Dennis Freeman
as Policeman
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News & Interviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

Critic Reviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (5)

  • Half-baked but occasionally hilarious, National Lampoon's Vacation gets a reasonable amount of mileage out of depicting the disaster-prone journey of a "typical" family of four, the Griswolds of suburban Chicago.

    Jun 24, 2015 | Full Review…
  • National Lampoon's Vacation is an enjoyable trip through familiar comedy landscapes.

    May 7, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top 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…
  • 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.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • The result is a confident humor and throwaway style that helps sustain the laughs -- of which there are quite a few.

    Aug 30, 2004
  • It's a pleasant diversion with a few memorable bits and a likable cast, but true comic invention is hard to locate in the meandering screenplay by the late John Hughes.

    Aug 1, 2015 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

  • Jul 19, 2015
    Mass hysteria. One of the funniest films from the mid 80's which is saying a lot. An all around hilarious film
    Kameron W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2014
    National Lampoon's Vacation is a very good comedy film that is one of the finest comedies of the 80's. With a great cast lead by Chevy Chase. The film is engaging from start to finish, and there are several memorable scenes in the film. I really enjoyed the film, and I'm glad that I finally got to see it. What makes the film work well is the great chemistry between the cast, and the script is very well written, with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Vacation is great fun from start to finish, and is a must see for viewers that need to watch something humorous, well acted and memorable. This is a great comedy and is well worth your time. Chevy Chase is at his funniest here, along with the sequel that would follow a few years later after European Vacation, Christmas Vacation. The film is very good and delivers effective laughs throughout. The script like I said is well written, with a good story that is simple, yet is peppered with good gags, National Lampoon's Vacation is a memorable comedy that ranks among the finest films of the 80's. I think it's a shame however that only one sequel in this series matched this film because, there could have been a few memorable entries, and however European Vacation and Vegas Vacation would never match this movie. Stick with this film as well as Christmas Vacation and forget the other two films in the series ever happened. With good acting, effective jokes and plenty of memorable moments on-screen, National Lampoon's Vacation is a film well worth your time, and ranks among the comedy classics of the 80's.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2013
    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.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    Directed by Harold Ramis and written by John Hughes, National Lampoon's Vacation is an outrageous comedy about the American family vacation. The Griswolds, an All-American family, head off to the California theme park Walley World for their summer vacation, but they have to go through hell to get there. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo lead the cast and have great chemistry together. And, there are featured performances by Eugene Levy, Christie Brinkley, and John Candy; which are all hilarious and fun. The satire about vacationing is especially clever and done perfectly. The soundtrack is also exceptional, and includes the classic songs "Holiday Road" and "Dancin' Across the U.S.A." However, the R rated comedy bits holds National Lampoon's Vacation back a bit, yet it still manages to deliver an entertaining adventure that's full of laughs.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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