Peace. Harmony. Comfort and Joy...Maybe Next Year.
"Fun for everyone. VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever
|All that stands between nine-year-old Ralphie Parker and happiness is a Genuine Red Ryder Carbine Action Two Hundred Shot Lightning Loader Range Model Air Rifle. Unfortunately, standing between Ralphie and the gift of his dreams are two highly emotional parents (Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon) who keep screaming, "No! You'll only shoot your eye out!" Based on humorist Jean Shepherd's best selling novel In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, A Christmas Story is a whimsical and slightly-twisted tribute to the traditional, all-American Christmas. Set in Indiana during the 1940s, the film follows the adventures of Ralphie (Peter Billingsley of Real People) as he pursues that elusive rifle. Tripping him up at every step are his gruffly lovable "Old Man" and madcap Mom. Director Bob Clark's (Porky's) uplifting tale of determination triumphing over unconquerable odds won the hearts of critics everywhere. "An instant classic." (The Boston Globe) "The funniest new movie of the season." (Los Angeles Herald Examiner)|
"The cast is wonderful... the laughs nonstop and the whole thing deserves to become a Christmastime classic. A must see. Motion Picture Guide
"Here is a movie to treasure, to throw your arms around and hug. Chicago Daily Herald
"A classic. Christopher Smith, Chicago Tribune
"Charming. Consistently funny. Full of delightful, recognizable episodes. Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic
"...an instant classic, a film that will give pleasure to people not only this Christmas, but for many Christmases to come. Jay Carr, Boston Globe
"Shepherd narrates in the first person and Billingsley portrays him (delightfully) as a boy. Truly funny for kids and grownups alike... Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide
"The cast is wonderful...the laughs are nonstop...and the whole thing deserves to become a Christmastime classic. TV Guide
This vignette-laden, nostalgic view of Christmastime in 1940s Indiana follows nine-year-old Ralphie, who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas--and is waging an all-out campaign to convince his reluctant parents that the toy will be safe in his hands. By turns warped and winsome, the comedy follows Ralphie as he prepares for the big day with his rather idiosyncratic family. Based on the novel by humorist Jean Shepherd (who also narrates the film), A CHRISTMAS STORY gained popularity long after its theatrical run, through frequent holiday broadcasts that turned its schoolyard "triple-dog" dares, family neuroses, and childhood indignities into a Yuletide tradition.
Cast & Crew
"...A version of Christmas as it exists only in the imagination....Shepherd has always been best at evoking the texture of life as it used to be in his midwest childhood..."
"...There are many small but perfect moment in A CHRISTMAS STORY....There is a real knowledge of human nature beneath the comedy..."
"...Think of it as IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE for post-Reagan generations as it morphs from cult to classic 20 years down the road..."
"...[A] modern-classic telling of Jean Shepard's '40s-based Midwest yarn..."
Motion Picture Guide 0 of 10
Somehow usually tasteless director Bob Clark (Porky's)... managed to make a totally charming and lovable Christmas film... A Christmas Story is an episodic comedy set in 1940s about the family life of young Billingsley... The cast is wonderful -- especially McGavin -- the laughs nonstop and the whole thing deserves to become a Christmastime classic. A must see.
VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever 0 of 10
Unlikely but winning comedy of a boy's single-minded obsession to acquire a Red Ryder BB-gun for Christmas. Particularly great sequence involving an impatient department-store Santa. Fun for everyone.
ReelViews 9 of 10
A Christmas Story has something no other holiday film - new or old, comedic or serious - can boast: perfect nostalgia. That quality fuels this modern-day classic and has made it one of the season's most beloved motion pictures. One of the Turner cable stations annually runs the movie non-stop for 24 hours and that's the mark of something with which people feel comfortable. A Christmas Story takes place in the early 1940s, but so much material in the film is universal that, irrespective of your birth date or religious affiliation, you're likely to find more than one familiar thing contained herein...Director Bob Clark, whose resume is nothing if not diverse (Black Christmas, Porky's, Rhinestone, Baby Geniuses) is the right choice for the material. He understands Shepherd's script and achieves the tone necessary to make this an enduring movie rather than a holiday throw-away. When it was released, MGM saw this as a minor blip on their release schedule - a Thanksgiving morsel designated for a two-week run. They were surprised by the movie's theatrical staying power in 1983 and even more surprised by its long-term appeal. If you're a fan of Christmas movies or films that use nostalgia as a driver, A Christmas Story cannot be missed. Then again, if you're in either category, you have probably already seen it.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 10 of 10
One of the details that "A Christmas Story" gets right is the threat of having your mouth washed out with Lifebouy soap. Not any soap. Lifebouy. Never Ivory or Palmolive. Lifebouy, which apparently contained an ingredient able to nullify bad language. The only other soap ever mentioned for this task was Lava, but that was the nuclear weapon of mouth-washing soaps, so powerful it was used for words we still didn't even know...There are many small but perfect moments in "A Christmas Story," and one of the best comes after the Lifebouy is finally removed from Ralphie's mouth and he is sent off to bed. His mother studies the bar, thinks for a moment, and then sticks it in her own mouth, just to see what it tastes like. Moments like that are why some people watch "A Christmas Story" every holiday season. There is a real knowledge of human nature beneath the comedy...In a poignant way, "A Christmas Story" records a world that no longer quite exists in America. Kids are no longer left unattended in the line for Santa. The innocence of kids' radio programs has been replaced by slick, ironic children's programming on TV. The new Daisy BB guns have a muzzle velocity higher than that of some police revolvers, and are not to be sold to anyone under 16. Nobody knows who Red Ryder was, let alone that his sidekick was Little Beaver.
- Roger Ebert