A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in its the quest for humor and laughs, this film portrays everyone in the Griswold family as irresponsible, amoral, dishonest, and foolish. The Griswold teens either drink, cheat, steal, gamble, or lie throughout. The entire Las Vegas environment is seen as obsessively sensual, tawdry, and alcohol-infused. In fact, many of the leading characters are seen continuously holding or drinking alcoholic beverages. In addition, the film functions as a lengthy commercial for the city's hotels and hot spots, along with lots of other product placement. Language is relatively mild, with some "damns," and "hells." In addition the film teems with sexual innuendo, as well as much leering and ogling at scantily clad women.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) surprises his family with a trip to Las Vegas. Once there, instead of the "togetherness" Clark was touting, each Griswold takes off into his or her own world: gambling, partying, drinking, and in the case of Ellen Griswold (Beverly D'Angelo), embarking on a flirtation with Wayne Newton. Complicating the already manic family behavior is Vacation regular, Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his brood. Some of the Griswolds get in trouble; some of them get rich; all of them are supposed to learn a lesson about the values of sharing and love.
Is it any good?
With cartoonish performances, amateur direction, slapdash editing, and a resolution-free, illogical story, this movie marks a low point in the careers of everyone associated with it. Cameo appearances from Siegfried and Roy and their tigers, the venerable Sid Caesar in a never-ending vaudevillian death scene, and Wayne Newton don't help at all. Even the worst movie may have a few scenes that almost rescues it from the trash heap. VEGAS VACATION is one of those movies. Clark Griswold's visit to an "alternative" casino with such games as "Pick A Number From One to Ten" and "Rock, Paper, Scissors," is hilarious as are a few others, but those scattered minutes can't possibly make up for the rest of this witless mess.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the trips they've taken with their families. What makes a good family vacation?
What did Clark Griswold learn about gambling? What price, if any, did he ultimately have to pay for his irresponsible behavior? What might really happen to someone who gambled as he did?
What did you think about the drinking in the movie? How realistic was it? What would the real-life consequences of that kind of drinking be?
Each Griswold kept his or her Las Vegas adventures a secret from the other family members. When, if ever, is it appropriate or all right to keep a secret from your family?
- In theaters: February 14, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: July 9, 1997
- Cast: Beverly D'Angelo, Chevy Chase, Randy Quaid
- Director: Stephen Kessler
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sensuality, language and thematic elements
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
For kids who love to travel
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
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.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch