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A timeless Christmas film
JPTaylor22 December 2003
"A Christmas Story" is a rare film about children yet for adults. While kids will definitely enjoy this Christmas-themed saga, adults will find a deeper level of depth than they may remember from seeing the film at a younger age.

The movie strikes a sharp contrast between the exaggerated, polysyllabic narration of Ralphie, filled with nostalgia and lucid memories, and the soft, high-pitched childlike wonder of Ralphie's spoken word. The narrator is clearly not the same character as the one portrayed on film, but a character wholly outside the story, reliving his childhood emotions and anecdotes. Yet he is the heart of the film, the true center of gravity. This is because the movie is not about a scary Santa Clause and a BB gun - it's about childhood memories and the feelings they evoke. To that end, "A Christmas Story" is flawless.

"A Christmas Story" tells of the epically materialistic journey of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he searches for the golden, upheld idol of all red-blooded American boys: A Red Rider Air Rifle. Ralphie spins an intricate web of cunning and deceit as he plots to get his hands on it - including an essay, a trip to Santa Claus and more. The movie also shows us a glimpse of his family - his irritable, foul-mouthed father with a good heart, his whiny brother Randy, and his sweet, all-American mother. It is not so much a continuous story as a series of vignettes, but it ultimately serves the movie's purpose.

This is a funny film. The narration by Jean Shepherd is filled with love for this story. He absolutely captures the emotions and logic of childhood. In a subtle but amusing moment, Shepherd intones the incomparably eloquent pouring forth of thought into writing - only to have Billingsley note in his awe-filled, high-pitched voice that "I think everyone should have a Red Rider BB gun. It's very good for Christmas." (paraphrased). Most of the humor is similar - the natural exaggeration of a child as expressed by Shepherd's consistent string of hyperbole.

Also, there's a reason why it's played constantly on cable TV throughout the Christmas season - it's a movie everyone can relate to. There are moments of such pure truth here that few can deny their power. I'm sure that there is a scientific law left unwritten that determines that every kid must at some point fantasize about his parents feeling absolutely terrible and forever regretting some unutterable punishment they inflicted on their child - in this case, the immortal washing of a mouth out with soap.

Obviously, "A Christmas Story" is not a film that can be compared to Casablanca or Citizen Kane. It simply excels at its simple goals, and comes together as an extraordinarily entertaining piece of cinema.
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Christmas Classic
Tommy-58 December 2005
A Christmas Story touches my heart as does no other film, and I know the reason for this is because it reminds me so much of my own 1950's boyhood. For sure it strikes a nerve in persons of my generation. This is Bob Clark's masterpiece and I know I am not the only person who feels this way.

I am going to assume that, if you are reading this, chances are you have seen the film; indeed, probably have seen it countless times as I have. This is not a film review in the normal sense. It is more a reminiscence and appreciation of a great story captured for all time in moving pictures which, in turn, captured the essence of the time and place of its setting; that time and setting being a typical town in Indiana during Christmas season in the 1940s as we observe a typical family (the Parkers) with two young sons named Ralphie and Randy.

Most of us over the age of 50 can relate very well to the story's key elements. I recall vividly family outings to crowded downtown sidewalks, Mom and Dad squeezing in a season's worth of shopping in one day and doing it under the nose of one who had a visit to Santa Claus on his mind. Staring at the prominent HIGBEES sign in the downtown square, I could almost see the words John A. Brown in its place. Browns was the main department store in my hometown of Oklahoma City and the place where I would make my annual visit with Santa Claus.

I am sure most who have seen the film realize this is Ralphie's story, but Melinda Dillon as the typical 1940's stay-at-home mom and Darren McGavin as the grumpy but kindly father made the story work. The stove in the Parker's kitchen reminds much of the one my grandmother had, and the rest of the house reminded me of the home my other grandparents lived in. As you see, viewing A Christmas Story is always a magical experience for me. It is almost as if Mr. Clark made this film with Tom Fowler in mind.

There are so many comments to make. It will be impossible to relate them all in a short review, but here are some that I know people my age will be most familiar with:

Beautiful toys displayed in department store windows. The agonizingly long wait for toys ordered via mail and learning too late they are not quite what was expected. The excitement of buying a Christmas tree, the joy of setting it up and how much bigger Christmas trees seemed then. Neighborhood bullies who were not nearly as tough as they seemed. Ralphie wanting a BB gun more than life itself. Mom covering trouble for Ralphie to his dad, and the same mom making him eat soap for uttering words -- learned from Dad. Randy sitting underneath the kitchen sink when depressed. A panicky visit to a tired Santa. An unwanted gift from a well-meaning aunt. The furious unwrapping of gifts on Christmas morning. I could go on and on. I will make two more observations and then will sign off and let somebody else speak.

In the film's sweetest scene, we see Dad coming through for his son at the last possible moment. To see the look on young Ralphie's (ably played by Peter Billingsley) face as he unwraps his best and last gift is one of filmdom's true golden moments.

But, for me the best moment was the last. Ralphie is in bed at film's end. We see snow outside and Ralphie dreaming of his wonderful gift, as the story's author and narrator Jean Shepherd, speaking as the grown up Ralphie, realizes this was the best Christmas he ever had, or ever would have.

If you are middle age or older and have not seen A Christmas Story, you are perhaps unaware that you have cheated yourself. Buy or rent the 2003 20th anniversary DVD. It will be the best money you spend this Christmas -- or any Christmas.
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The funniest, most touching family Christmas film of ALL time!
Kimta15 March 1999
I lived the life of Ralphie! Even though I'm a girl and was born in the late seventies, my Christmases were much the same as Ralphie's.

From playing Santa on Christmas morning to sipping my Dad's Christmas cocktail to visiting Santa at the department store, I lived the very same Christmas memories. This movie brings out the true essence of Christmas happiness. Everyone, young and old, can relive the magic of being a child.

Ralphie's vibrant imagination and inventiveness in his ploys to seduce his parents into buying him the ultimate gift are "pinch-his-chubby-cheeks" adorable. And Randy...need I say anything?? He is the perfect picture of the baby brother!

This movie is universal in its appeal to audiences of all ages, race, and nationalities. My husband, who grew up in Lebanon and who's first language is Arabic, even knew the famous "oh fudge" line when I first played this movie for him here in the States.

I get giddy every time I sit down to watch this movie. Curling up with a warm cup of cider in front of the fireplace, wrapping Christmas presents, making Christmas cookies, or writing a letter to Santa Claus...those are all perfect times to watch this classic family film. This has been and always will be my all-time favorite Christmas film.
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A timeless movie that will never get old
Smells_Like_Cheese16 November 2003
A Christmas Story, there is absolutely no way that anyone could ever say they never saw this film since it's shown every Christmas, especially on TNT when they do the 24 hours of A Christmas Story, lol. But onto the movie, I've watched A Christmas Story since the day I was born, it's one of those films you never get sick of because of the simple fact that each year of your life you could relate to it in some way. Each character has these memorable moments and you could say that you've been in the same situation. It's great seeing this movie because it makes us laugh about the silliest moments in our life during the Christmas season.

Ralphie is a little boy who just so badly wants a B.B. gun for Christmas, it's just his dream. Only one problem, it'll shoot his eye out according to the adults around him. We go through Christmas with Ralphie and his family, his father who is obsessed with a prize leg lamp he won. His mother who is greatly under-appreciated but extremely loving. His brother, Randy, who is your typical silly and annoying younger brother who makes fun of him. And his friends who are on a constant run from the school bully. But all Ralphie can think about during this hard time in his adolescence is that B.B. gun.

A Christmas Story has constant unforgettable scenes, like the pink bunny out fit that Ralphie gets as a present from his aunt, him saying his first swear in front of his dad, Mom and Dad's fight over using the glue on purpose, visiting Santa at the mall, and of course that great ending that is sure to bring a that is sure to bring a tear to your eye. It's just the perfect Christmas movie that is a BIG recommendation for the season. It has great comedy, terrific acting, and just the most touching moments you'll ever see in a Christmas movie.

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Just wonderful
preppy-323 December 2004
Nostalgic tale of a Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) growing up in the 1940s (I believe). He wants nothing more than a Red Ryder Ranger Model Air Rifle (a BB gun for short) for Christmas but everyone tells him it will "shoot your eye out".

That's about it for plot but the film has sequences that every child (and adult) can relate to. My favorites: Ralphie's best friend getting his tongue stuck to a pole when he's dared to lick it; Ralphie accidentally swearing in front of his father; the bully that threatens Ralphie and his friends every day until Ralphie beats him up (in a GREAT scene); Ralphie's constant fights with his little brother (wonderfully played by Ian Petrella) and Billingsley and his brother being terrified by a department store Santa.

Also Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin are just great as the parents-- especially Dillon. She has one uproarious scene where she gets Petrella to eat by imitating a pig! This was totally ignored when it came out in 1983 but has slowly developed a cult following. It's now considered one of the best Christmas movies ever made--right up there with "It's a Wonderful Life" (which was also ignored at its release).

A charming, wonderful Christmas film. A 10 all the way!
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Classic Christmas film that doesn't age
MovieAddict201613 December 2004
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Rider BB Gun for Christmas but his mother is totally against it - the "you'll shoot your eye out" discussion being a major opposition.

This is essentially a story about childhood and is very spot-on in regards to the yearning of children and the whole Christmas era - I've been watching it since I was a child and every Christmas when it comes on TV I watch it again. It's funny, poignant and totally memorable - it has some of the best scenes of all-time and although I know a few people who dislike it because it's a bit "weird" and "dark," most people I know love it.

Worth watching every Christmas, forever!
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Pure joy!
CMUltra25 December 2005
How difficult is it to perfectly capture nostalgia? It must be pretty darn difficult or else everyone would make movies like this. It may not be absolute perfection but Jean Shepherd, Bob Clark and the outstanding cast came as close as anyone here.

Creating a story centered around nostalgia is a tricky thing as the memories that creates it are unique to each of us. The themes, however, are similar and that's where the success lies.

I didn't want a Red Ryder BB gun when I was that age but my Christmas wish was just as fervent and I schemed just as hard as Ralphie. The bully at my school didn't have yellow eyes but he was pretty much like Scut Farkus. And so on, from the fantastically flawed parents to the pop-heroes, A Christmas Story captures it all.

Truly wonderful.
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Christmas is Not Complete Without Watching This
Sober-Friend29 December 2017
The 1983 "Terms of Endearment" won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Now it was deserved. The film still remains popular today. What's hard to believe now is that "A Christmas Story" (released the same year) was ignored everywhere. If anything it should of been nominated for best adapted screenplay!

Now when the film was released it was "Critically Acclaimed" but, MGM failed to capitalized on that. The film was poorly handled & failed to capture a large theatrical audience!

Well thanks to the Home Video Market & television this film has now become part of Americana. It also helped that Ted Turner made "24 Hours Of A Christmas Story" an annual event.

It is now 2017, and "A Christmas Story" it is now one of the most popular films of all time. Even "Return of the Jedi" ( The Highest Grossing Film of 1983) "Isn't gaining as many new fans". .

"Return of the Jedi" has always rode the coattails of the earlier "Star Wars" films. "A Christmas Story" has gained fans for just being a great film!

Now my review Set in the 1940's the film makes you identify with Ralphie and you your routing for him in every single way!

Ralphie is in elementary school. His has a little brother and all he wants for Christmas is a BB-Gun. He wants this more than anything. Before Christmas gets there he has many obstacles to overcome. One of them is getting home! He & his friends are always being bullied before they can make it home.

The film is flawless. It is a joy to watch and only improves every time you watch it. It is also true that for some reason the older it gets the better it becomes!

You need to see this. Also there is a fan made documentary called "A Christmas Story Documentary: Road Trip for Ralphie". That is a great fan made documentary.
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Family holiday fun
Jennydavis1319 January 2004
A Christmas story is a classic holiday film that is very funny and entertaining. This is a movie that should be viewed by everyone, and can been seen on television during thanksgiving and Christmas time. In most families, this film is already a tradition to watch every year and that's because it has a wonderful plot, great characters and believable actors.

A Christmas Story is about an average middle class family living in a small town in the 1940's. The film contains an average family of a regular husband and wife relationship and two young boys. The eldest of the boys is named Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) who is the star of the film. All that Ralphie wants is to have a perfect Christmas containing the perfect gift, a Red Ryder carbon action BB gun. This is all that Ralphie can think about day and night. When Ralphie has to write a Theme about what he wants for Christmas, his teacher replies to him `you'll shoot your eye out' which seems to be the only reply to him throughout the whole film.

What makes this film so great is the ability to relate to Ralphie with his problems throughout the movie, such as wanting that one gift that everyone thinks that you're too young to have and are unable to get. The acting is very convincing and makes you think that this could even be you in the movie.

There are some very hilarious parts in this film that also make it very good. This particular scene also contains some very cheesy acting which also makes it funny. Ralphie has a dream about getting his Red Ryder BB gun and saving his family from a bunch of evil villains. In this scene Ralphie is wearing the white sparkly cowboy suit and he shoots down the evil villains and saves the day with his gun in a very unrealistic way.

There really wasn't much music that can be commented on in this movie, just that it was the orchestral type of music that was out in the time period of the 40's. The costumes where great and convincing. I also liked how real they made the 40's look. You actually think it might have been made in that time period which makes the film very authentic.

I would recommend this film to anyone who wants some holiday laughs and some great family time together. I would rate this film a 9 out of ten because it's so memorable.
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The 12 Days of A Christmas Story...
evildead19789 December 2004
12 reasons that A Christmas Story is a modern Classic!

12: "Fa-Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra Ra-Ra-Ra-Ra" 11: "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine" 10: "Nadafinga!!" 9: Ralphie's pink bunny outfit 8: Scut Farkus' yellow eyes 7: "Fuuuuuuuudddggee" 6: "Randy...how do the little piggies eat?" 5: "Fra-Gi-Le...it must be Italian" 4: "Where's the glue?" "We're out of glue!" "You used up all the glue on purpose!!" 3: "I triple-dog dare ya!" 2: "Alright, I'll get that kid to eat. Where's my screw driver and my plumber's helper? I'll open up his mouth and I'll shove it in" ... and, of course, the #1 reason: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

A Christmas classic and tradition in every sense of the word!
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a contemporary classic
postmanwhoalwaysringstwice21 December 2006
Bob Clark, the director behind the collegiate slasher flick "Black Christmas" and the naughty sex comedy "Porky's" surprisingly went on to hold the reins of the charming, innocent, nostalgic holiday romp "A Christmas Story" in 1983. The film is seen through the eyes of nine-year-old Ralphie, and is frequently told through the older more knowing voice of Jean Shepherd, who wrote the source material "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash" in 1966. The film takes place sometime in the early 1940s (Shepherd has been quoted as saying specifically 1940), although the tone and texture of the film allow for more of the uncertain "period" look. The film follows the struggles of our child protagonist, specifically his longing for a very specific BB gun, which he references nearly thirty times during the course of the film, explaining why the come back "you'll shoot your eye out" is so associated with this movie. "A Christmas Story" is a wonderful, relaxing, little movie that never seems to age.
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It never . . . . . EVER gets old!
Mr-Fusion24 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The filmmakers didn't set out to make a lasting piece of Americana, but that's exactly what we got.

I have no idea how many times I've seen this movie since I was a kid, but it never loses its lustre. Year after year, it's always a relatable story that any kid hoping for that big Christmas gift can identify with. And it helps tremendously that this movie is well-acted and directed, with great performances coming from not only the leads, but also the supporting players.

A great deal of the visual humor rests on the facial expressions and reactions of Peter Billingsley, which go a long way in selling this thing. The same can be said for Darren McGavin, who perfectly wears the mask of eternal annoyance and gruffness for laughs.

But it's Shepherd's writing that's the real star of the piece, at least for me. Just as he did in the novel, the man can paint a vivid picture of how things were when he was growing up in Indiana. His words go down smooth, and his impressive linguistic prowess is on full display in his narration.

"A Christmas Story" has a cultural success story that is unlike that of any other film; or at least any movie I can think of. The movie enjoyed a second life on HBO and home video after being ignored at the box office, but it has made a slow, steady, tenacious comeback into mainstream acceptance. Licensed and marketed to the hilt (novelty leg lamps, action figures, mugs, ornaments, etc.) and maintaining a high cultural visibility for many years, it's become (for my money) the most recognizable American Christmas movie ever made. You can mention Bedford Falls, and someone might get the reference. But if you mention Scut Farkus, a leg lamp, Red Ryder, or "You'll shoot your eye out!", everyone in the room will instantly know what you're talking about.

It's just about as iconic as a Christmas move can get.

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The latest Christmas Classic -- A true gem!
mdm-111 June 2005
Peter Billingsly in a custom made role as Ralphy, the 9-year old who wants a toy rifle for Christmas in 1940 Cleveland. Everyone from his mom to his teacher, to even Santa Claus himself tell him that "he'll shoot his eye out" and should not have such a dangerous toy. Many wonderful scenes of "boys will be boys" trouble, including the unforgettable "tongue frozen to the flag pole" make this movie a delight to watch again and again.

As an added bonus there is much authentic Cleveland nostalgia, including the old wooden escalators at Higgbees and the main Square in front of Tower City. Add this to your Christmas Classics and place it right next to "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It's A Wonderful Life"!
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A True Classic
Christmas-Reviewer17 December 2016


Say what you want about modern films about the holidays. Yes The Hallmark Movies seem to follow a pattern. They are uninspired and always seem to cast the same people in everything. However the jewel of Modern Christmas Movies is not made by Hallmark but by MGM and it is the crown jewel of "Modern Christmas Films" and that film is "A Christmas Story".

Based on the humorous writings of author Jean Shepherd, this beloved holiday movie follows the wintry exploits of youngster Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), who spends most of his time dodging a bully (Zack Ward) and dreaming of his ideal Christmas gift, a "Red Ryder air rifle." Frequently at odds with his cranky dad (Darren McGavin) but comforted by his doting mother (Melinda Dillon), Ralphie struggles to make it to Christmas Day with his glasses and his hopes intact.

This film is perfect. It captures what every child feels like at Christmas. The cast is perfect and the film is never dull. What was nice about this film was that it was very respectful of the holiday itself and it showed how all of us go through some sort of stress during Christmas.

The film not a huge success when released in 1983 however home video and cable showing the show developed a huge following. Its easy to see why. It is the perfect family holiday film. Its not sappy and its not snarky. It is a tribute to the way America celebrates Christmas.

My Christmas is not complete without watching this
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One of a--Wonderful--Kind
pangraz-22 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Many cuts above the usual "feel-good" Christmas movie, but it's all that and much more. One of a handful of movies that are beyond description, such as Repo Man, The Wizard of Oz, and Apocalypse Now. As the storied producer said, "Don't miss it if you can!" While there are no "name" performers, all are excellent, and the kids are beyond compare, like the movie. Set in the most unimaginable city on earth for such a movie (not Hong Kong, not Rio de Janeiro, not Tristan de Cunha), Cleveland, Ohio, the movie plumbs the depths of a boy's Christmas desire for what was once far more magnetic than any video game or latest electronic marvel: a genuine Daisy B-B gun (politely known as an "air rifle"). The kids he hangs out with are also intriguing, and his family is a joy. As the famous man said, "Don't miss it if you can!"
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I triple-DOG-dare ya to watch A Christmas Story. It's a good film. You won't get your eyes shot out.
ironhorse_iv30 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It will never be a complete Christmas without watching "a Christmas story". A Christmas Story is a significant kid's movie directed by Bob Clark. Based on the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author and raconteur Jean Shepherd. The movie is based on a number of things; one is his book, 'In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash", others derived from 'Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories' and others from short stories from Playboy magazine. All of them, manage to mix in, pretty well. I love Jean Shepherd's narration...a great story-teller. Glad he was given the job. He had a soothing voice that help inspired the creation of 1988's TV show, The Wonder Years. Christmas Story tells the story of nine year old, Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) who wants one and only one thing for Christmas: a BB gun. It's not just any BB gun he wants, either; his heart is set on an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle. Sadly, everybody thinks it's a little too dangerous for him. Will, Ralphie get the BB gun or will Christmas for him, be a huge disappointment? Watch it to find out. Without spoiling too much, the movie's main plot isn't that strong to stand by, itself. So the writers add a lot of sub-plots to push the run-time for the film such as Ralphie's father (Darren McGavin) winning a major prize in a contest or Ralphie's friend, Flick (Scott Schwartz) memorable getting his tongue stuck on the icy pole. The movie has tons of filler scenes. Some of them were hits to the funny bone, while others were kinda a waste of time like the Bumpuse's dogs. Glad, they cut the Flash Gordon fantasy sequence. It doesn't make sense with the rest of the film. For a kid's movie, it's very smart. Examples are the mock heroic tone of the narration, filled with great hyperbole motif full sentences. It matched well with the extensive use of familiar classical music themes. The movie is beautiful to listen to. You see a lot of leitmotifs references from other works such as author, Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf story, Harold Gray's comic strip, Little Orphan Annie, Television shows like 1940's Adventures of Red Ryder, and films like 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs & 1939's Wizard of Oz. The movie was shot pretty well and the use of old timing locations really made it seem like it takes place in the late 1930s/early 1940s. There is a debate about when the film takes place as the movie never state it, but still, I like the nostalgia feel of the film. I think the pre-World War II era America is a great location for this childhood majestic. The movie is very well acted. Looks for the cameo of director Bob Clark, and Jean Shepard. It's pretty sad, that none of the main cast went on to bigger success. It's pretty weird, that actor, Scott Schwartz became a pornstar for a while. Maybe, one day, they will. Some people might not like the film, due to its off color humor. For a PG film, it's got tons of some dirty jokes, under aged swearing and violence & a few racist stereotype humor. The film was supposed to be R-Rated, but the R-rated script was scrapped when the vice president of Higbee's, the department store, the filmmakers used for locations, refused to allow the store to be associated with a movie depicting a kid dropping the F-bomb, and the filmmakers were forced to change it. Honestly, I think the movie became a lot clever with its swearing through it use of heavy euphemisms of gibberish. Still, if you're looking for a movie to watch with small children. This movie might not be for you. For me, personally, I didn't mind it, as it gives something, that both adults and children might like. It's still a family-friendly movie, but there an edgy sense of humor; that will be lost on little kids. Some people might hate it for its love for commercialization over the religious aspect of Christmas. Of course, the holiday supposed to be about religion, but I think most people, like to get stuff for the holidays. Is it greedy to love films like this, promoting materialism lifestyle. No, because the movie was still made with a lot of heart and love, and we still see the family in the end, celebrating the holiday as a family unit. A Christmas Story did only modest box-office business in 1983, despite every critic, I know, saying it was a disappointment bomb when it came out. The film became a holiday classic, due to the overplayed value of television. Often in Christmas movie marathons. It's estimated that nearly fifty-five million Americans tune every year to watch the film, making it a Christmas movie juggernaut. The film spawned a play, as well as two "sequels": the made-for-TV Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss and 1994's It Runs in the Family aka "My Summer Story". Both are not worth watching, as it has none of the original film's cast members. A Direct-to-Video sequel called A Christmas Story 2 was released on 2012. It's a miserable film that fans of the original, must stay away from. In 2008, a documentary was made call 'Road Trip for Ralphie". It's a fun-watch. Overall: Hands down; it's one of the best Christmas films, ever. It is a must-watch. You will have tons of fun!
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In memoriam: Bob Clark
juliafwilliams4 April 2007
It is with the utmost sadness that I have read that Bob Clark, the director who turned this little-film-that-could into a minor cult classic and annual television Christmas tradition, was killed in an automobile crash, along with his 22-year old son. The crash happened because the driver of the other automobile was under the influence of alcohol.

It is my hope that if a 25th anniversary edition DVD is released in 2008, it will contain a fitting tribute to the life and career of Mr. Clark.


Please, please DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.
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the english appreciate american comedy at its very best....
andrew-31717 December 2000
We are an english family, now back in the uk but were on assignment in NY for three years and we came across this wonderful film by chance, and have never seen anything more entertaining for the whole family - it is a real gem of a film and a definite must for all families. Have at last found it to buy with amazon.uk and are thrilled.
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Christmas traditions of Santa, snow, presents and "A Christmas Story"
BobbyT2425 November 2015
"A Christmas Story" is perfection at Christmastime. The nostalgic feel of early-1940s Americana at the year's most magical time could not have been more appropriately filmed by Bob Clark ("Porky's). This excellent comedy proves how through the eyes of a 10-year-old child, hopes and dreams for the ultimate Christmas present can overcome neighborhood bullies, homework and even "The Old Man".

I have watched this movie at least 30 times. Not just at Christmas but year-'round. It's just that perfect. Although I wasn't around, I would almost guarantee this is what my own father lived like during the time portrayed in this excellent movie. It makes me wish for a time machine to go back to this more innocent and simpler way of life.

There is nothing I could add to what the other IMDb reviewers are saying on this site. Although the "8" score that this universally is receiving is still too low. Watch it every Christmas as a family tradition with hot chocolate, a roaring fire, snuggly blankets and sitting next to your Christmas tree. You will feel the warmth of family and laughter. This is an American treasure.
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Easy To Understand Its Popularity
ccthemovieman-118 March 2007
This has always been a favorite with a lot of people, and I can see why. It's a nice comedy about a little boy's wish for Christmas and is set back in the 40s. It's narrated by the boy who is now much older and is fondly looking back at the period, which included a lot of funny moments for he and his friends and family.

Jean Shepherd narrates and Peter Billingsley plays the little kid, "Ralphie Parker." He's fun to look at, with his nerd-like looks. It's also a good-natured film and, except for a few swear words, is safe for the whole family.

Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon also shine as Ralphie's parents. I haven't seen this in a long time, but I always remember the little kid's favorite Christmas present, a red air rifle and his friend getting his tongue frozen stuck to a pole. That last scene has been a classic since this film came out almost 25 years ago.
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My favourite Christmas movie, and one of the most enjoyable movies ever
TheEtherWalk23 December 2009
A Christmas Story is the tale of Ralphy, who wants nothing more than a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. It's a heartwarming holiday movie, as well as a great coming-of-age story.

Peter Billingsly is adorable as Ralphy, the daydreaming, semi-good natured son of a foul-mouthed 'furnace fighter', a mother who does her best to keep her family in check, and older brother of the slightly infantile Randy. The movie follows a series of events leading up to December 25th, 1940. Ralphy has to deal with the neighbourhood bully, convincing his parents and teacher that a BB gun is a perfect gift, and finding acceptance for his own flaws. He swears, gets in fights and gets his friends in trouble, but his family forgives him. Each of the family members have their own flaws, but thats what makes them so endearing. The movie is narrated by Jean Shepherd, who also wrote the book about his own childhood. His hilarious exaggerations and insights are one of the best things about this movie.

So what makes A Christmas Story so enjoyable? For one thing, it's absolutely hilarious and endlessly quotable. It's also very offbeat, with many of Ralphy's daydreams coming to life in bizarre ways. Being told from the perspective of a child looking back on his younger days gives the movie a sense of nostalgia, and because it's so memorable it's nostalgic to watch as well. To many people, this film has become as much a part of Christmas as Santa or presents. Personally I watch it every year, and it brings a smile to my face for a whole week afterwards. The house in the movie has even been re-opened for fans of the movie to walk through, and many of the cast members have re-united to visit it. This movie is love in it's purest form.

Some of the movie's best moments are when it breaks away from the dreamlike bliss of the child's perspective, and gives us little pieces of reality: The mall Santa hating kids, Ralphy's decoder pin giving him a lousy commercial, and the present from Santa being from the father who had one when he was a kid. Maybe these are the truths about Christmas, and childhood itself: it is fleeting, flawed and illusory, but undeniably magical.
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This one bears up to repeated
MartinHafer28 November 2009
Unlike many people, I don't particularly like seeing movies more than once. Of course there are some exceptions, but I am not a person who usually sees a movie again and again--I find this very boring. However, there are several exceptions--and this movie probably heads the list. Unlike other films this one actually becomes better with repeated viewings--and it's great to see and hear the wonderful and silly lines again--especially when they are are friends and family there to see it and laugh along with you. Perfect writing (albeit, very, very cynical), wonderful acting, great attention to details (the 1940s look to the film is great--down to the boxes of soap and radio programs) and so many funny and sentimental moments make this a perennial favorite. If you haven't seen this then get out from under your rock and see it! If you don't like it, then think about getting psychiatric help! No sane person could hate this wonderful film.
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Most Nostalgic Christmas Movie Ever-Bob Clark's Masterpiece
mike4812831 December 2012
I would never have known about "Christmas Story" if not for the TBS Marathon. I never saw it at the show. Until then, I always though "Porky's" was Bob Clark's best film. If Ted Turner hadn't preserved it, it probably wouldn't exist today. The film has its technical faults: 1. Wavy musical soundtrack. 2. Negative scratches and dust. 3. Video "noise" and tracking. (Maybe too much "copyguard"?) Even Clark couldn't recreate the special magic of this film. Two sequels, one by Clark himself, failed. A perfect ensemble cast and Darin McGavin's funniest role. Everything works: The locations, the nostalgic scenes, the narration. Today this film probably couldn't be "made" the same way. The "Chinese restaurant Christmas carol", complete with terrible accent, would offend Asian people. So many (similar) memories: The house looks like my own childhood home. I had a yellow-haired bully at school. I used to play inside the kitchen cupboards. My school looked exactly like that. I got my mouth washed out with "Fells-Naptha" soap. The dept. store reminds me of the old downtown Detroit Hudson's store. The "mean" Santa reminds me that I was scared of Santa at first. I had 2 aunts that perpetually thought I was 4-years-old and bought me "baby" toys and clothes. (I hated clothing gifts anyway, and only wanted toys.) We constantly blew fuses as well in our under-wired house. I never got a BB gun because I would "shoot my eye out". Too funny to watch only at Christmastime. Even though it was made in 1983, it "feels" like an older movie. Well done, Bob!
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This is what Christmas can be like if you have two boys
ericglunneborg26 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
A Christmas Story is the story told by Ralphie Parker (narrated by Jean Shepherd acted by Peter Billingsley) who is a nine year old boy from Indiana. The main point of this story centes around Raphie's desire for a `Genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle.' Ralphie is like many other kids of the 1940's. He lives with his younger brother Randy(Ian Petrella), his mother( Melinda Dillon), and his Father (Darren McGavin). As the story progresses, Ralphie tries to convince the adults in his life that a ` Genuine Red Ryder 200 Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle,' would be a good choice as a Christmas gift. He leaves advertisements in his mother's magazine, he writes about why he wants it in a school assignment about " What I Want for Christmas". He even asks the head honcho, Santa Clause. They all respond with the classic phrase, `You'll shoot your Eye out.' Ralphie is let down by this but he does not give up.

This story is not only about Ralphie's quest for a BB gun, it also is a story about Ralphie's childhood n the 1940's. Like any other movie told from a child's perspective, there is some kind of school or neighborhood bully, who picks on others as well as the main character. This movie would not be the same with out Scut Farcus, a tall nasty looking green/yellow toothed kid. (probably twelve or thirteen) and who could forget a trusty sidekick named Grover Dill. Ralphie and his friends are afraid of Scut and try to avoid him as much as possible. These emotions build up in Ralphie until one day, he can take it no longer, his anger gets the best of him, and he beats up Scut Farcus. All the neighborhood kids gather around to watch the fight which came to be known as the Scot Farcus affair. Although Ralphie was worried that he would get not trouble as a result of this fight, he soon forgot about this as he continued tot think of ways to get what he wanted for Christmas.

We are also introduced to Ralphie's parents and brother. like. Any film of the forties can't be complete with out the house wife/ mother. Melinda Dillon acts, and looks like the typical house wife of the forties who cares for her family. Ralphie's dad, who is refrred to as `the old man', is somewhat crabby, but for the most part he is a very likable character. He likes to enetr contests and eventually wins a `major award' which turns out to be a sexy leg lamp. The `Old Man has a tendency to use bad language, however, when Ralphie starts to use some of these words, he is punished by having his mouth washed out with Life Boy Soap. . Jean Shepherd's narration, and Peter Billingsley's portrayal of Ralphie make it seem as though the two really grew up in the forties. From the way he dresses to the way he acts, Peter does a great job acting out Ralphie's part. The same goes with Jean Shepherd. Although he is not acting, just narrating, he describes Ralphie's childhood so well that it almost seems as though we are growing up with him. Similarly, the supporting actors and actresses, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Ian Petrella and Ralphie's friends, Schwartz and Flick who are played by Scott Schwartz and RD Robb, add a lot of humor to the story.

The reviewer would rate this movie a six out of five star rating. No matter what happens in the movie it manages to have a great plot. Ladies and Gentlemen. Make room for this movie on your video or DVD rack at home!
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A classic? This movie is really, really bad.
malkovichmalkovich715 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I don't just mean bad, I mean impressively, surprisingly, stupendously, monumentally, horrendously awful.

The people who told me this was a Christmas classic... I wonder when the last time they saw it and paid attention was. This movie sits atop a lofty reputation, which is all that it has in its favor. What is the case for this being a good film?

No character is likable. In any scene when the main character is with one of his friends from school, that scene ends with one of them being abandoned by their "friends" to a horrible fate of some kind alone, bullies, frozen tongues, etc.

The younger brother lives under the sink and is only able to eat his food when his mom tells him to act like a pig, which he does for a really, really long time (editing, anyone?)in disgusting, glorious detail. Probably that kid grows up to be a serial killer.

Mom pulls little Ralphie off a kid whose nose he has just broken, and without waiting to find out what happened, leaves the other kid there lying in the snow, bleeding. Covered in blood. Really, the blood is all over his face.

Dad is a more endearing character because he is bumbling and likes to drop the f-bomb around his little kids at home while he leaves the parenting to mom.

And now I will anticipate a response in the defense: "but that's how things were." I hope life at the time was better. This movie celebrates mediocrity. The whole goal of it is to connect to Americans because "these things really happened to people." There were bullies! There were teachers, and -GASP- pranks! There were trips to the shopping mall! Creepy elves and Santas! Dorky kids who constantly wore repulsive sweaters! Dogs stole the turkey! STOP THE PRESSES. THERE WERE PINK BUNNY SUITS.

Is that really funny? No episode or moment of the movie is really any more than mediocre, the humor is pedestrian at its best moments, and the movie just isn't ever remotely interesting.

I didn't know whether to be more disturbed by Ralphie's fantasy about shooting imaginary black people trying to rob his house or by the "amusement" created by Chinese people trying to speak English; perhaps in the end it was the simple fact that all of the terrible stock characters and pedestrian humor and mediocrity and cheesy voice-overs and all the rest of it were structured around a boy's desire to get a gun for Christmas. Which he did.
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