close [×]

Dear Flixster Community,

After seven fabulous years with you all, we are sorry to let you know that we're going to be retiring the Flixster Community site on September 30, 2014. Please note that you can still access your ratings, reviews, and quizzes on Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes using your same login. We have had so much fun building this community with you.

Thanks for all the memories,

Get movie widget Recommend it Add to Favorites

Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid ... see more see more... , Dana Barron , John Candy , Eddie Bracken , Christie Brinkley , Denny Freeman , John P. Navin Jr. , Brian Doyle-Murray , Miriam Flynn , James Keach , Eugene Levy , Frank McRae , Jane Krakowski , Nathan Cook , Christopher Jackson , Mickey Jones , John Diehl , Jeannie Dimter Barton , Randolph Dreyfuss , Gerry Black , James Staley , Tessa Richarde , Fritz Ford , Scott Perry , Michael Talbott , Joh Candy

The first film in the Vacation comedy franchise stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, an ad exec who becomes consumed with taking his family cross-country to Wally World, a California amusement park. L... read more read more...ess a vacation than a descent into a peculiarly American kind of hell, the Griswolds suffer through an endless series of catastrophes, culminating in a run-in with the law. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi

Flixster Users

85% liked it

111,691 ratings


95% liked it

42 critics

DVD Release Date: August 27, 1997

Stats: 3,812 reviews

Your Rating

clear rating

Flixster Reviews (3,812)

  • June 5, 2014
    National Lampoon's Vacation is a very good comedy film that is one of the finest comedies of the 80's. With a great cast lead by Chevy Chase. The film is engaging from start to finish, and there are several memorable scenes in the film. I really enjoyed the film, and I'm glad tha... read moret I finally got to see it. What makes the film work well is the great chemistry between the cast, and the script is very well written, with plenty of laugh out loud moments. Vacation is great fun from start to finish, and is a must see for viewers that need to watch something humorous, well acted and memorable. This is a great comedy and is well worth your time. Chevy Chase is at his funniest here, along with the sequel that would follow a few years later after European Vacation, Christmas Vacation. The film is very good and delivers effective laughs throughout. The script like I said is well written, with a good story that is simple, yet is peppered with good gags, National Lampoon's Vacation is a memorable comedy that ranks among the finest films of the 80's. I think it's a shame however that only one sequel in this series matched this film because, there could have been a few memorable entries, and however European Vacation and Vegas Vacation would never match this movie. Stick with this film as well as Christmas Vacation and forget the other two films in the series ever happened. With good acting, effective jokes and plenty of memorable moments on-screen, National Lampoon's Vacation is a film well worth your time, and ranks among the comedy classics of the 80's.
  • April 23, 2013
    This is for sure one of the most remember and one of the comedy movies that is the characteristic of the 80's American humour.
  • December 21, 2012
    Directed by Harold Ramis, scripted by John Hughes, and starring Chevy Chase, this film is essentially one of the all-time greatest screwball comedies. That it's a road movie makes it even better in my eyes.

    Clark Griswold is your typical all-American whose just trying to be a go... read moreod husband and loving father. He and his family set out from Chicago to L.A. for what should be a great vacation, with their ultimate destination being a theme park called Wally World.

    The trip ends up being anything but paradise as they family encounter a number of oddball problems and colorful events that just keeping piling on top of one another.

    Chase is great, and so is Beverly D'Angelo as his wife Ellen. Their kids Rusty and Audrey are played by Anthony Michael Hall and Dana Barron, and, they're decent, but nothing amazing. The real scene stealer though is Randy Quaid as Clark's redneck cousin-in-law Eddie, who is really obnoxious and a big leech, yet still lovable, and definitely memorable. Eugene Levy also appears in a fun cameo early on. And of course, who can forget Christie Brinkley as a mysterious woman who becomes the object of Clark's desire?

    There's good location shooting, decent music, hilarious one-liners, and some truly outrageous moments here, all of which add up to an American comedy classic. Bottom line: don't miss it.
  • April 3, 2012
    MAJOR blast from the past here and it still holds up really well today despite being really seriously dated. The appearance is almost historical with all those 80's clothes, cars and electronic gear (the sequence with 'Clarke' using the old computer, check those graphics! may hav... read moree even been an old Atari, not sure) but the laughs all round are still gold, silly but pure gold.
    You have to remember that these days this kind of thing is completely unoriginal and pretty lame really, but when this first came out it was quite unique.

    Best scenes include...the red Ferrari driving blonde and 'Clarke' trying to impress her, highjacking 'WallyWorld', the annoying auntie who then pops her clogs, Randy Quaid as 'Eddie' and arriving at 'WallyWorld' to find its closed with 'Clarke' then throwing a wobbly LOL!! many other various in-car travel moments along the way also make you smile.

    The main thing is you can relate to it completely, maybe not now, but back in the day as a kid I had a few roadtrips on holiday with my parents and it actually was like this at times, it really was haha! especially how 'Clarke' sweats allot through his gloriously 80's t-shirts, my dad did exactly that lol!

    Ramis really hit home with this excellent comedy and to think for years I had no clue he was the director, much like the rest of the cast I didn't really know who they were. Now of course its a cult and virtually part of the American way, the rest of the world used to see Americans as the Griswold's, best not mention that to them hehe.
  • fb100000716838411
    January 12, 2012
    Easily one of the best comdies ever made. This was made back when comedies were taken seriously, not on the actors in it, but the overall plot. Nowadays, whenever Will Ferrel is in a movie, people automatically assume it's going to be a funny movie. Then when people go to see his... read more movie, they focus too much on Ferrel and not the storyline. Vacation was genuinely funny, whereas Will Ferrel movies have to rely on Ferrel acting like a child to get laughs. Vacation not oly has laughs, but the build up to laughs. We know Clark (Potrayed by the always funny Chevy Chase.) wants the road trip to be perfect for his family, but unfortunate events continue to pile on including the death of a dog and getting lost in the ghetto. The audience knows that Clark is eventually on the verge of flipping out and when he does, the laughs don't stop. Will Ferrel movies (Sorry to always bring him up, I just hate the guy, he's not funny and his movies suck. I need a good example of how NOT to make a comedy.) always have the same crap: Will Ferrel jumping around, acting like a kindergarten brat. I recommend this to anyone who wants to laugh as soon as the movie starts and keep laughing even when the movie is over.
  • January 4, 2012
    Lampoon's Vacation is so not one of the greatest comedy movies all time. However, on a positive note, it's the movie that made modern road trip movies extremely popular. Chevy Chase and his family are very likable but I felt the whole "American values" thing nearer to the end of ... read morethe film was either a failed joke or a cheesy moral. Not everything in the movie was funny or worked well but you know what? The bits that didn't miss were sublimely silly. It's the start of a franchise that is undeniably likable no matter how many times the plot is repeated. Franchises like that are hard to come by. Some of the sequels went wrong though...
  • fb1664868775
    November 20, 2011
    This comedy masterpiece is one of my favorites. Chevy Chase delivers one of his best performances as the dad that can't get anything right, a character that I wills always remember because I saw him in my dad and now I see Clark Griswold in myself.
  • October 23, 2011
    Not until 2006 (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) has a road comedy even come close to being as great as NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION. It's funny, raunchy, and it spawned a few decent films. (Though VEGAS VACATION was not good.)

    Okay, I really do not like "hard-R" comedies at all... read more, and this may actually be a good example of a "hard-R" comedy. But if you overlook the nudity (though the one-scene spoof of both JAWS and the shower scene from PSYCHO is admittedly funny), profanity, and innuendo of NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, what remains is still a whole lot of good, solid humor. And the good thing about VACATION is that it has all sorts of humor: the immature kind young kids would enjoy (not that they should be watching this uncensored!); the farcical kind that was resurrected less than two decades later in films such as MEET THE PARENTS; the slapstick kind that brings back the memories of Curly, Larry, and Moe (if you don't know who they are, you are probably a miserable low-life--no offense); the racist kind (the scene in which the Griswolds ask for directions in downtown city area, for a memorable example); the absurd/dumb kind (for another classic example, the scene in which Clark Griswold is driving while sleeping); even the gross-out kind and (well, of course) the raunchy kind!

    The "Vacation" films are most likely the only National Lampoon films I will ever watch. Maybe ANIMAL HOUSE, but the rest of the company's films (particularly VAN WILDER) are bound to be no match for NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION.
  • June 26, 2011
    Possibly, the greatest comedy film ever made in history. Clark Griswold wants to take his family to Wally World in California, but during the road trip, he is jacked by the ghetto, kills a dog, kills Aunt Edna, destroys his car and crashes it (more than once), and much more. Th... read moreis is Chevy Chases best performnace, his side comments, his look, and just himself in general is great. The plot never lets down, it keeps bringing more and more funny jokes. Vacation is a GREAT COMEDY, and is one of the best of all time.
  • May 23, 2011
    Classic dumb comedy

Critic Reviews

Variety Staff
May 7, 2008
Variety Staff, Variety

National Lampoon's Vacation is an enjoyable trip through familiar comedy landscapes. Full Review

Dave Kehr
May 7, 2008
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Despite plenty of gross-out gags and dumb slapstick bits, the careful viewer can occasionally detect some acrid and original satire in this 1983 film. Full Review

Richard Rayner
June 24, 2006
Richard Rayner, Time Out

The result is not so much a comedy about American values as a 2,500 mile skid on a banana skin. The visual gags come thick and fast, and are about as subtly signposted as the exit markers on a freeway. Full Review

Janet Maslin
August 30, 2004
Janet Maslin, New York Times

The result is a confident humor and throwaway style that helps sustain the laughs -- of which there are quite a few. Full Review

Joanna Berry
August 24, 2014
Joanna Berry, Radio Times

Director Harold Ramis, who went on to make Groundhog Day, keeps the silliness coming at a fast and furious pace. Full Review

Ralph Novak
August 2, 2013
Ralph Novak, People Magazine

Thanks largely to Chevy Chase's zaniness and comic timing this is a very funny movie. Full Review

Rob Vaux
July 31, 2013
Rob Vaux,

The humor in Vacation also taps into something beyond the trials and travails of a road trip gone wrong. Full Review

Jeremy Lebens
May 31, 2013
Jeremy Lebens, We Got This Covered

National Lampoon's Vacation is a comedic cross-country adventure like no other, thanks to Chevy Chase and the rest of the Griswold family. Full Review

Fred Topel
May 25, 2013
Fred Topel, CraveOnline

The Griswolds are a national treasure. Full Review

Mike McGranaghan
May 21, 2013
Mike McGranaghan, Aisle Seat

A timeless comedy. Hysterical. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by

Fresh (60% or more critics rated the movie positively)

Rotten (59% or fewer critics rated the movie positively)

More Like This

Click a thumb to vote on that suggestion, or add your own suggestions.

  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (89%)
  • National Lampoon's European Vacation
    National Lampoon's European Vacation (91%)
  • Due Date
    Due Date (88%)
  • Seems Like Old Times
    Seems Like Old Times (100%)


    • Clark Griswold: Sure, how much you need?
    • Cousin Eddie: $52,000.
    • Clark Griswold: Excuse me, Holmes?
    • Clark Griswold: Excuse me, holmes.

National Lampoon'... : Watch Free on TV

National Lampoon's Vacation Trivia

  • In the movie, National Lampoons Vacation, to what theme park are the Griswolds going to?  Answer »
  • In the movie "National Lampoon's Vacation" what is the name of the actor/comedian (R.I.P.) that plays the security guard Chevy Chase takes hostage in Wally World???  Answer »
  • In National Lampoons Vacation the man that sells the Griswolds the cabins is also Clark's boss in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation  Answer »
  • in "National Lampoons Vacation" what was the theme park the family were trying to get to?  Answer »

Movie Quizzes

Recent Lists

Most Popular Skin

No skins yet. Interested in creating one?