A Christmas Story

"Essential"

A Christmas Story Review


Pop quiz: A Christmas Story was directed by Bob Clark. What was the film he made immediately prior to it?

Answer: Porky's.

Who knew?

Also: They sell the infamous "leg lamp" on the Internet now. (They cost $250!) Clark wanted Jack Nicholson to play the role of The Old Man. These insights and others await the patient viewer who sits through the new Christmas Story commentary track on its special edition DVD -- hosted by Clark and Ralphie himself, Peter Billingsley.

For the uninitiated, A Christmas Story ranks as the best holiday movie ever, better even than It's a Wonderful Life. Based on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, it's a period piece set in roughly 1940, telling a series of vignettes about a young boy that's 9 years old in the weeks leading up to Christmas. He faces down bullies, witnesses a dare match over whether a tongue will stick to a frozen metal pole, gets his mouth washed out with soap, and sees the holiday turkey devoured by dogs... and all he wants is a BB gun! But as everyone tells him, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

What makes this film so good? It's so sweet but it has the cynical heart of post-WWII America. None of this happy ever after nonsense; our hero has to have Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant! Billingsley is so perfect as Ralphie that you simply don't want his adventures to end -- and in fact, they didn't; there are two earlier films and two sequels (many made for TV), following the Parker family; none of them have the magic of the central installment. A Christmas Story also has the most hilarious dream/fantasy sequences ever put to film, and the way it pillories our nascent commercial culture ("Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!") makes the film perfect for the whole year, not just Christmastime. I can't think of a single fault.

A second disc included in the DVD release includes a documentary about the film, two short documentaries about the leg lamp and the Daisy Red Ryder gun, plus some precious radio readings by author Jean Shepherd (he's also the narrator in the film). Highly, highly recommended.



A Christmas Story

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th November 1983

Box Office Worldwide: $19.3M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Christmas Tree Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Fresh: 46 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 8.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , René Dupont

Starring: as Mrs. Parker, as The Old Man (Mr. Parker), as Ralphie Parker, as Randy Parker, as Flick, R.D. Robb as Schwartz, as Miss Shields, Yano Anaya as Grover Dill, as Scut Farkus, as Santa Claus, as Christmas Tree Man, as Ralphie as an Adult, Jim Hunter as Freight Man

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.