Christmas Vacation: Cast, Plot, and Review

Christmas Vacation: Cast, Trailor, and Plot

Christmas is just around the corner! It’s the perfect time for us to snuggle in a cozy blanket and enjoy our favorite movie marathons. Christmas isn’t complete without a Christmas movie, right? There are a wide variety of many great Christmas movies, often full of warmth and romance, and giving audiences that particular feel-good feeling. Christmas movies are wonderful to evoke a sense of togetherness at the greatest time of the year. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is one of the must-watch Christmas movies this year. Romantic, passionate, and tender aren’t words to associate with this outrageously hilarious comedy, but somehow it’s what makes Christmas Vacation be one of the classic movies every season. Now, let’s dig into the Christmas Vacation cast and its reviews. 

Christmas Gift Ideas For Your Loved Ones

Christmas is also a fantastic time of the year to give your loved ones a meaningful gift. If you’re looking for thoughtful Christmas gift ideas for your family members and friends, we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s a fun, cute Christmas present, or personalized gift, you’re bound to find something special here. Take a look at our list of Christmas gifts below:

Christmas Vacation Plot

What is Christmas Vacation

Christmas Vacation is a 1989 American Christmas comedy movie, the third installment in National Lampoon magazine’s Vacation film series directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik. The movie follows Clark Griswold (stars Chevy Chase), a hard-working family man who decides to organize his family’s Christmas haphazardly. 

Griswold takes his wife (Beverly D’Angelo) and children Rusty (Johnny Galecki) and daughter Audrey (Juliette Lewis) to find their Christmas tree. From the ridiculously oversized trees to covering the exterior of his home with more than 25,000 fairy lights, it can’t be denied that Clark is so passionate and excited for the festive season. 

The chaos happening in the Griswolds is enough to alarm curious neighbors Margo (young Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Todd (Nicholas Guest), who become more irritated with Clark’s jokes. As Christmas is nearly coming, more and more Griswold relatives appear for the celebrations, including Clark’s wife Ellen’s redneck cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and her husband Eddie (a humorous Randy Quaid). 

Clark becomes distracted when he finds he still hasn’t got his Christmas bonus although he is a loyal company man, which serves as the catalyst that ultimately pushes him over the edge.

Christmas Vacation ranks as one of the all-time favorite Christmas movies. Rated PG-13 with a run time of just over 1hr 30 mins, the movie is a family-friendly film that you should try. 

YouTube video

Movie Detail

MovieChristmas Vacation
DirectorJeremiah Chechik
ScreenplayJohn Hughes
CinematographyThomas Ackerman
MusicAngelo Badalamenti
U.S. DistributorWarner Brothers
Run Time1:37
U.S. Release Date1989-12-01
MPAA Rating“PG-13” (Profanity, Sexual Situations)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio1.85:1

Where was Christmas Vacation filmed?

Where was Christmas Vacation filmed?

Though the story happens in Chicago, Ill., less than half of the Christmas vacation was filmed in the Windy City. Chicago was used primarily to set the shots. 

According to the official Christmas Vacation IMDb page, the film was partly filmed at Marshall Field & Co. located on 111 N. State Street in Downtown Chicago. Additionally, the John Hancock Center, located at 875 N. Michigan Avenue, was used for the office of Clark’s boss Frank Shirley.

Christmas Vacation was filmed largely in Colorado, aka Centennial State. Some of the comedy scenes in the film were shot in Breckenridge, Colo. The film also took place in Frisco. Along with Chicago and Colorado, Christmas Vacation was filmed in California.

The cast of Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase as Clark-Christmas Vacation

Chevy Chase as Clark

Chevy Chase was a box office star when he undertook the role of Clark Griswold for the third time. After Christmas Vacation, he had some edgier roles in Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Cops and Bandits, as well as starring in the sequel, Vegas Vacation. He later appeared in the film’s 2015 sequel, and the comedy Lovesick.

His famous movies include:

  • Caddyshack (1980)
  • Modern Problems (1981)
  • Spies Like Us (1985)
  • Three Amigos (1986)
  • Man of the House (1995)
  • Hot Tub Time Machine (2010). 
Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen- Christmas Vacation.jpg

Beverly D’Angelo as Ellen

Beverly D’Angelo is best known as Ellen Griswold, the ever-supportive wife of Clark. D’Angelo starred in a host of television roles in the ’90s before she took on the role of Ellen in the 1997 film Vegas’s Vegas Vacation and the 2015 reboot of Vacation.

Beverly D’Angelo appeared in more than 60 movies. Her film roles include: 

  • Sheila Franklin in Hair (1979)
  • Doris Vinyard in American History X (1998)
  • Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (1984)

She’s had recurring roles on Law & Order: SVU and Entourage. She recently had an extended cameo on Netflix’s dark comedy series, Insatiable.

Juliette Lewis as Audrey

Juliette Lewis as Audrey

Juliette Lewis was relatively unknown until she took on the role of Audrey Griswold. Her great success came many years later when she was cast in the lead role by Martin Scorsese in his 1991 film, Cape Fear.

In 2012, she played in the legal thriller film, The Firm, and a year later she starred Julia Roberts’ older sister in the movie August: Osage County. 

Johnny Galecki as Rusty

Johnny Galecki as Rusty

Johnny Galecki took part in two Christmas-themed movies released on the big screen in 1989: Christmas Vacation and Prancer at the age of 14. From 2007 to 2019, he starred as the physicist Leonard Hofstadter in the hit comedy The Big Bang Theory.

He also had a recurring role on Roseanne for five years and reprised his role on the revival of the show in 2018. He was nominated for best performance by an actor in a television series, Big Bang Theory, or the Roseanne follow-up series The Conners.

Other movie stars:

  • John Randolph as Clark, Sr.
  • Diane Ladd as Nora
  • E.G. Marshall as Art
  • Doris Roberts as Francis
  • Randy Quaid as Cousin Eddie Johnson
  • Miriam Flynn as Cousin Catherine Johnson
  • Cody Burger as Rocky
  • Ellen Latzen as Ruby Sue (as Ellen Hamilton Latzen)
  • William Hickey as Lewis
  • Mae Questel as Bethany
  • Sam McMurray as Bill
  • Nicholas Guest as Todd Chester
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Margo Chester
  • Nicolette Scorsese as Mary
  • Keith MacKechnie as Delivery Boy
  • Brian Doyle-Murray as Frank Shirley (as Brian Doyle Murray)
  • Natalija Nogulich as Mrs. Shirley (as Natalia Nogulich)
  • Tony Epper as Bozo #1
  • Billy Hank Hooker as Bozo #2 (as Hank Hooker)
  • Alexander Folk as Swat Officer
  • Jeremy Roberts as Cop
  • Woody Weaver as Cop
  • Michael Kaufman as Young Executive

How to stream Christmas Vacation online?

You can stream Christmas Vacation for free on HBO Max if subscribe to the service. Also, Christmas Vacation is available on Philo service’s library of live and on-demand television programming.

You can rent National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for $3.99 through Amazon Prime, Apple TV, YouTube movies, Vudu, and Redbox’s digital rental service.

Christmas Vacation is a classic Christmas movie that leaves a deep impression on everyone. If you watch it, feel free to let us know your thoughts about the movie.

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