National Lampoon's Vacation

Movie review by Afsheen Nomai, Common Sense Media
National Lampoon's Vacation Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 16+

Funny family comedy is dated and risqué.

R 1983 99 minutes

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 66 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

"Hasn't aged well" would be putting it lightly.

Our family absolutely loves Christmas Vacation, and had what we thought were good memories of the first in the "Vacation" series -- holy cow were we wrong! It's full of so many cringe-inducing racist and misogynistic "jokes" that we had to just turn it off after attempting to skip forward to a better part. Turns out, there is no better part. If you do decide to watch it with your kids it should only be as a cautionary tale about how backwards popular culture really was only a few decades ago.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
2 people found this helpful.
age 15+

Cringingly sexist and racist

I'm a liberal atheist guy who doesn't have a problem with nudity, but I have a big problem with this movie filled with sex jokes that are all at the expense of women. Add a gobsmackingly racist scene, and the weak humor isn't reason enough to bother renting this. Some movies have sex humor that goes over my kids' heads, but my kids ages 10 to 12 got everything. It wasn't subtle. Quite the opposite: the humor was heavy-handed and since the only "joke" was that they were talking about sex, the movie has to hit you over the head with it repeatedly. Every sex reference revolved around women being objects for men: boys looking at porn, girl being kissed by her dad, pointless scene to show mom topless in the shower. At that point I walked out. Some examples: 1) The family visits poor rural relatives whose tween daughter brags that her Dad told her she's the best French kisser. Hah hah. 2) Poor rural tween boy tells his tween cousin that he has some nudie magazines, and then the scene cuts to the boys reading porn. There's no punch line beyond the fact that they look at porn. 3) Dad encounters a sexy woman in a convertible who flirts with him and he speeds up to try to catch her. 4) The dad pretends a banana is a knife and pulls back the shower curtain while he wife showers and scares her. The nudity (breasts) was brief but also gratuitous. 5) Dad takes a wrong turn and ends up in a bad part of town, where "bad" means African American. Everyone is either a pimp, prostitute, drug dealer, or thief. The African Americans treat the family rudely and steal their hubcabs. The scene is supposed to be funny because we get to see the white family in scary black part of town and watch the black folk act like stereotypical black people are expected to. Hilarious, huh?

This title has:

Too much sex
1 person found this helpful.

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate