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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless - comedy classic
This is a really fantastic film. It has not dated in the least. The jokes are subtly underplayed and very funny and the acting is great across the board. The story works and it is a film that you can watch over and over again and still notice new jokes.
Chevy Chase is at his finest here and one wonders why he doesn't make more films. His timing and expressions...
Published on 21 May 2002 by Alex

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Classic.
National Lampoon's Vacation is a good watch if your in the mood to watch anything funny from an 80's era. Great ending regarding Wally World, and you will enjoy this mad journey across America on this epic family vacation.
Published on 10 Jan 2012 by Steve - Liverpool


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5.0 out of 5 stars This is no longer a vacation! It's a quest! It's a quest for fun!, 26 Dec 2012
Yet another defining 1980s film written by John Hughes (and directed by Harold Ramis), "National Lampoon's Vacation" chronicles a classic every man character named Clark W. Griswold, treating his family to a road-trip vacation. Hughes based his script on his short story published in the Lampoon magazing called "Vacation 58'", which recounts his family's trip and the subsequent fallout in going to Disneyland. I often vascilate between which is the best in the "Vacation" series: "Vacation" or "Christmas Vacation". Both are seminal classics in their genre, but I'd probably give a (very) slight edge to the original.

However, in "Vacation", John Hughes, Chevy Chase, and Harold Ramis laid the foundation for the Vacation series. The Griswolds are traveling to Wally World (a thinly disguised parody of Disneyland). Throughout the trip, mishaps galore plague the family, yet Clark bravely [passes on] presses onward, determine to make this trip a roaring success despite obstacles and events that would neutralize any further attempts by a rational person. But don't worry. Clark is not rational.

The subsequent films take their cue from the characterizations determined in this film. Clark is a good-hearted but rather flawed father who, when events get too much (which they frequently do), memorably flies off the handle due to the vacation not living up to his highly idealised view and dream. Ellen Griswold is Clark's long suffering wife and acts as an anchor to "Sparky's" rather outrageous and frequently unrealistic ideas. Their two children, Rusty and Audrey, are simply along for the ride. Clark is in the food additive business.

Although very funny, for "family viewers" you should be aware "National Lampoon's Vacation" is an adult comedy. As this is National Lampoon's, the comedy is rather edgier [harder edged] at times, although not quite as racy as the 1978 Ramis "Animal House". There are several instances of profanity, including multiple uses of "f--". There are two brief instances of nudity - one where Beverly Delango is topless during a show scene, and another very brief shot that again shows Beverly topless before she jumps into a pool skinny dipping. During the visit with the admittedly very dysfunctional Cousin Eddie and Katherine clan, Cousin Dale introduces Rusty to porn magazines and masturbation, and Cousin Vicky introduces Audry to marijuana. Cousin Vicky also tells Audry that she french kisses her father, so the film makes references to incest as well.

A brief overview of this particular film is that Clark, after purchasing a new "family truckster" from Eugune Levy, takes an extended roadtrip. In the course of the film, the Griswolds kill a dog, visits the infamous Cousin Eddie and his family, destroy their car after driving it off a huge sand dune in Arizona, goes broke, have severe marriage problems (which is played strictly for comedy; Clark goes skinny dipping with Christie Brinkly and has a mental affair with her for the entire film), and Clark ends the vacation by kidnapping security guards and make them operate Wally World (which is closed for repairs).

Hughes has always been quite notable for his ultimate skill in truly capturing the common life experiences of teenagers. Yet with "Vacation" (and with the 1989 "Christmas Vacation" as well), Hughes proves he can write characters that people from so many different walks of life can walk too. Here are some relevant quotes from the DVD commentary.

"I can't tell you how many thousands of people have said to me in these 20 years, `Just like my family.'" - Matty Simmons (producer)

"Basically we figured this was the story of a dad who gets two weeks off a year and overcompensates like a mad man to give his family he didn't give them for the rest of the year. [...] He's not a very good person [meaning Clark]. No, he's not a good husband or even a good person, but he's enough like people really are that we see ourselves in it." - Harold Ramis

"This is all very funny physical stuff if I may say so my damn self." - Chevy Chase

Ramis in the commentary talks about how in his early films he was trying to find his "comedic tone". In later films he could do with serious issues in a funny way that still retain their seriousness, but in the early films not so much.

The quote regarding Clark not being a good person is really spot on. He shows callous indifference to Aunt Edna's difference, he is willing to have an affair with a random woman, and his relationship with his wife and children are severely lacking. He is willing to commit violence against security personnel at a "fun park" in order to meet his own personal agendas. Yet we relate to Clark, which is what makes both John Hughes and Chevy Chase so successful in this film. Despite the seriousness of so many different situations [present] that occur in the film, all are played strictly for comedy, despite the situational gravity present.

The film is notable for several cameos. John Candy is the security guard. Eddie Bracken plays Roy Wally (he also appeared in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York", another John Hughes project). Bracken even looks like Walt Disney. Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill Murray's older brother) briefly as a Kamp Komfort clerk. Brian would later play Clark's boss in "Christmas Vacation". Eugune Levy is the carsalesman. Jane Krakowski plays Cousin Vicky. She would later go on to find prominence in Ally McBeal and 30 Rock.

My personal favorite though is Mickey Jones, who plays the mechanic/sherriff that rips Clark off after he crashes his car in the desert. Being the Dylan fanatic that I am, I was thrilled to learn this was Mickey Jones, who played drums for Bob Dylan on his world famous 1966 tour. The Band backed Dylan on this tour, and Mickey Jones replaced their regular drummer, Levon Helm. Jones was the drummer on the infamous "Royal Albert Hall" concert, which Dylan released in 1998 as "The Bootleg Series 4".

DVD BONUS FEATURES AND DELETED SCENES: There aren't any deleted scenes, at least not on the DVD copy I have. There is a brief (and very pointless) 40 second introduction by Matty Simmons, Chevy Chase, and Randy Quaid. There is a feature length commentary by Simmons, Chase, and Dana Baron (who plays Audrey). Toward the very end I think Anthony Michael Hall makes a brief appearance too.

The famous "lost ending", which apparently Chase has on a VHS tape somehwere, is similiar to the "Jitterbug" sequence from the 1939 "The Wizard of Oz" - the end is [apparently] lost and has never been released commercially. Chase and the crew, after discovering that Wallyworld is shut down for repairs, goes to Roy Wally's house and holds them hostage at gunpoint. We learn that Christie Brinkly's character is Roy Wally's daughter, and Christie pleads to her father to not prosecute Clark. Ultimately the Griswolds fly back to Chicago, wearing Marty Moose hats. The snapshot of the Griswolds wearing these hats on an airplane in the end credits come from this fabled lost ending. The movie end tested horribly with test markets and preview audiences, so Ramis had Hughes rewrite the ending, and six months after filming wrapped they reconvened and shot the ending we all know in four days. For those familiar with "Christmas Vacation", the ending of that film plays out like a slightly reworked version of "Vacation"'s original ending.

On the DVD commentary Dana Barone said she had never seen the original ending, which prompted Chase to reveal he still had the ending on a VHS tape. Like the fabled two and a half hour extended cut of Hughes' "The Breakfast Club" (of which Hughes reportedly had the only copy), none of this extra footage has ever been commercially released or even available on bootleg or black market. Hopefully one day we will get to see the lost footage. The more Hughes, the better.

For those wanting a good family friendly version, Ramis did record several santised takes which frequently air on cable TV, so watch the movie next time it comes on. Probably the most famous santised verison is where Cousin Vicky changes her french kissing partner from her father (who is not only a dead beat but sexually abusive) to her science teacher. For those looking for the original, pick up the DVD. Just be aware the extras aren't all that great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the best, 14 Dec 2012
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This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I think this film is actually better than National Lampoon's Christmas. It is hilarious all the way through. The funny'est bit is where they finally get to the amusment park and it is shut. I won't spoil it any more. For the price it is well worth it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars lampoon dvd, 21 Oct 2011
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C.J (WILTSHIRE,ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I thought I was buying a cd as I only wanted it for one song, so I have not actually watched the dvd yet.My mistake
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious early Lampoon, 17 Dec 2010
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B. Schuermann - See all my reviews
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This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This film is not quite so enormously good as the
"Christmas Vacation" and the characters are not quite so finetuned, but it is still one of the best really funny movies around.
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4.0 out of 5 stars even funnier than than i remember it being, 6 Mar 2010
This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
i remember watching this movie more than a few years ago and thinking it was OK,but nothing great.then,having just watched it again,i really enjoyed it.i laughed a lot in all the right places.all the jokes worked worked.there's not a boring moment.and as someone who also lived through a vacation from hell which was almost a carbon copy of the one endured by the Griswold clan,i could certainly sympathize with them.of course it's always nice to see someone else go through something instead of yourself.it's hard to believe this movie came out in 1983.it still stands the test of time,in my opinion.it's one of those classics that will never(hopefully)get old.for me,Vacation is a 4/5
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5.0 out of 5 stars well funnyh, 31 Oct 2009
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a must see comedy, i laughed my head off when this film first came out and i still do now.
this is a must buy film.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing and not funny, 17 Feb 2014
This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
As a rule I don't mind Chevy Chase I saw him in the three amigos and as a supporting actor he is ok but on his own he falls flat and to be honest I found this disappointing to me there is nothing worse than someone trying to be funny like he is in this film I am honestly surprised to find that some have given this 4 or even 5 stars I must be missing something in this film to find it funny but then thats my opinion.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service, great product, 23 Aug 2012
This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Ordering was simple & item arrived early and as described. Great service and wouldn't hesitate to use again the company again!
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The original...but not the best.., 23 Oct 2003
As this film was the beginning of Clark W. Griswold's journeys, it should be the best, because as we all know, most original films are alot better than their sequels. Not so in this case, its not that its a bad film, its just not as good as the other vacation outings.
Chevy Chase is of course hilarious as the stressed out but great all American family man Clark. Beverly D'Angelo is also good as she begins making the role of Ellen her own. The children are ok (Rusty is played by 80's film veteran Anthony Michael Hall). I'm not sure what makes this film less great than its successors but maybe it was a learning curve. John Candy also makes a short but funny appearance as a theme park worker. One of my favorite scenes is when Clark goes looking for help across a desert, just one of the reasons I love Chevy Chase so much!
If you are a fan, I'd say you should own this. However, if you haven't seen any of the National Lampoon vacation movies before I'd recommend Christmas vacation(mine and most peoples favorite) or European vacation(another classic) to introduce you to the genius that is this family.
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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No Point, 30 Aug 2012
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This review is from: National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
You know I seriously disliked this piece of trashy american money-making.

Rarely funny, often glaringly mucky just for the sake of the cheapest laugh from the cheapest audience member.

Don't bother.
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National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983]
National Lampoon's Vacation [DVD] [1983] by Harold Ramis (DVD - 1999)
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