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Parents' Guide to

A Christmas Story

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Wonderful antidote to cutesy holiday tales; some swearing.

Movie PG 1983 98 minutes
A Christmas Story Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 52 parent reviews

age 14+

CSM needs to review their review

I registered just to write about this movie since it really is not what CSM claims it is, at least in the 2020s My 9yo daughter had a BAD time watching this supposedly "funny" and "family" movie. This is really not for kids at all. Anyone watching this movie has to understand very well the context of 1940s US and why the way things were in schools and homes were by no means what they are today. There´s lots of violence (physical, racism and psicological), lots of consumerism, lots of drinking... If you watch it even with a 12yo kid, you'll have to do lots of explaining on why those things are not acceptable or even funny these days. Please CSM, review your review. Thanks.
age 13+

Racist and weird

I know it’s dated which I expected but it was so boring for our 10 and 15 year olds, as well as lots of inappropriate language/innuendo and a racist restaurant scene.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (52 ):
Kids say (84 ):

Part of the appeal of this movie, based on the memoirs of humorist Jean Shepard (who narrates), is the authenticity of the period detail. Much of Ralphie's world may seem bizarre to kids today, especially if they're from different racial/ethnic, religious, or economic backgrounds, but Shepard's feel for the timeless details of childhood emotions and growing pains is genuinely engaging. Today's kids may not have Ralphie's exquisitely calibrated system of dares and double-dog dares, but they will have some equivalent that's just as thoroughly understood and immutable in their own community. And many will have to deal with bullying, an annoying sibling, an assignment to dream of impressing the teacher with, the adult world to try to figure out, and, most of all, some magic dream of the ultimate gift to hope for beyond all reason.

A Christmas Story is a nice antidote to all those Christmas movies with perfectly harmonized carols and perfectly wrapped gifts. Because people tend to get so obsessive about every single detail at Christmas, the last scene of this movie, when the family's Christmas dinner is exactly the opposite of what they had planned, is especially sweet (other than the racist portrayal of Asian people, that is). Their reaction, seeing it not as a disappointment but as a delightful activity to enjoy remembering in future Christmases, is a lesson for all families.

Movie Details

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