National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) is the third in the National Lampoon vacation series of movies. It stars Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold, Beverly D'Angelo as Ellen Griswold, Johnny Galecki as Rusty Griswold and a young Juliette Lewis as Audrey Griswold.
Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn reprise their roles as, respectively, "Cousin Eddie" and "Cousin Catherine," from the first National Lampoon's Vacation film. Other supporting roles are played by Brian Doyle-Murray (who also appeared in the original Vacation film, although in a different and much smaller
role), William Hickey, Doris Roberts, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam McMurray, Mae Questel and Cody Burger.
As head of his family, Clark W. Griswold attempts to follow American family Christmas traditions with elaborate Christmas lights and decorations on the exterior of the family home. His comedic attempt at a Grand Illumination for the family reunion is one of the high points of the story. The film has become an annual holiday favorite in many families.
Reviews on the film have been mixed. Some fans and critics felt that this was one of the better movies in the Vacation series. Other critics such as Roger Ebert have pointed out a number of flaws in the film that kept them from giving it a higher rating.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in Popular Culture
The Movie often finds mention in lists like ‘Top five Christmas movies of all time’ or ‘top five things to do on Christmas’. Needless to say that it has captured American interest and is very popular. Many families across the country get together each year and watch the movie on Christmas Day. Its simplicity and portrayal of Human follies is not only amusing but heart warming as well.
The ubiquitous Christmas spirit is what this movie tries to explore. Clark's passion carries the film. More often than not, his big ideas lead to disaster but Clark just keeps on going. His heart is always in the right place (except when he's cussing someone out in a profanity-laden diatribe), even if his head isn't. Clark's motivations are so darned honorable that he's the ultimate dad you don't want to have because you don't have to deal with the headaches, but you wish your friends had fathers like him.
There's no major surprises in the script, but anyone who's ever had a massive family gathering should recognize at least some of the predicaments here, be it senile relatives and their inappropriate gifts or being forced to share a bed with a younger sibling.
This is the only sequel in the Vacation series to have spawned its own sequel: a direct to video 2003 release entitled Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure. Randy Quaid and Miriam Flynn are the only Vacation regulars to reprise their roles.