National Lampoon's Vacation

  • Review Date: November 11, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Funny family comedy, but dated and risque.
  • Review Date: November 11, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Traditional family, with loving but slow-witted father who always tries to do good for his family. He does, however, brandish a gun at the end.

Violence

Some threat of violence. Most violence is cartoonish (a dog is dragged to death by accident).

Sex

Flirting, frequently suggested and implied sex, brief nudity, implied masturbation.

Language

All major curse words used, somewhat frequently, until end of film when language gets courser.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Implied marijuana use by kids, young boy chugs a beer his father gives him, otherwise very little drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film's humor relies mostly on innuendo. While drug use and sex are never seen, they're very frequently implied and are generally the butt of jokes. The father of this family comes close to cheating on his wife but doesn't succeed and realizes that he loves his wife. Like every other social taboo this film encounters, the father's almost cheating is treated as a joke, as he is rather inept at it.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Poor Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase), nothing seems to go right for him and his dream vacation, a road trip from Chicago to California's Walley World amusement park. Things go wrong from the start when a slick car salesman played by Eugene Levy, convinces Clark to settle for a wood paneled puke green station wagon dubbed, "The Family Truckster" ("You think you hate it now, but just wait until you drive it"). On the road, anything that can go wrong does go wrong. Aunt Edna dies in the car, the dog pees on the picnic basket, and the credit cards get cancelled. Meanwhile a hot blonde in a red hot Ferrari (Christy Brinkley) flirts with Clark leading almost to the demise of his marriage. With the family's bond barely intact, they arrive at their final destination only to find the home of Marty Moose closed for repairs.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION is a classic comedy, and though this is R rated, it comes off tame by today's standards. Even kids who didn't grow up with Chevy Chase will enjoy watching him plays his usual deadpan character.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about comedies. How can a dead dog -- or a dead old lady -- be funny? Can you think of other popular movies that turn disgusting and depraved situations into laughs -- or at least try to? How far can filmmakers push it before they've crossed the line into true tasteless territory? Who do you think most of these movies are targeted to? How do you know?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 29, 1983
DVD release date:July 29, 1997
Cast:Beverly D'Angelo, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid
Director:Harold Ramis
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Comedy
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of National Lampoon's Vacation was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bymovieluvr125 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

There is no way this is 12+!!!!

This movie is not appropriate for 12 year olds! Strong language throughout, lots of drug references, and lots of sexual innuendo(including nudity). DONT LET YOUR KIDS SEE THIS!!!!!!
Teen, 15 years old Written byViolinPlaya650 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 August 28, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

national lampoons vacation

Families can talk about comedies. How can a dead dog -- or a dead old lady -- be funny? Can you think of other popular movies that turn disgusting and depraved situations into laughs -- or at least try to? How far can filmmakers push it before they've crossed the line into true tasteless territory? Who do you think most of these movies are targeted to? How do you know?
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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