National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) - Rotten Tomatoes

National Lampoon's Vacation1983

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)



Critic Consensus: Blessed by a brilliantly befuddled star turn from Chevy Chase, National Lampoon's Vacation is one of the more consistent -- and thoroughly quotable -- screwball comedies of the 1980s.

National Lampoon's Vacation Photos

Movie Info

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. Less 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

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Chevy Chase
as Clark Griswold
Beverly D'Angelo
as Ellen Griswold
Imogene Coca
as Aunt Edna
Randy Quaid
as Cousin Eddie
Anthony Michael Hall
as Rusty Griswold
Dana Barron
as Audrey Griswold
Eddie Bracken
as Roy Walley
Brian Doyle-Murray
as Kamp Komfort Clerk
Miriam Flynn
as Cousin Catherine
James Keach
as Motorcycle Cop
Denny Freeman
as Policeman
Eugene Levy
as Car salesman
Christie Brinkley
as Girl in Red Ferrari
Jane Krakowski
as Cousin Vicki
John P. Navin Jr.
as Cousin Dale
Nathan Cook
as Man Giving Directions
Mickey Jones
as Mechanic
John Diehl
as Assistant Mechanic
Jeannie Dimter Barton
as Dodge City Cashier
Gerry Black
as Davenport
James Staley
as Motel Desk Clerk
Tessa Richarde
as Motel Guest
Fritz Ford
as Neighbor
Scott Perry
as Swat Leader
Dennis Freeman
as Policeman
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News & Interviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

Critic Reviews for National Lampoon's Vacation

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (5)

Half-baked but occasionally hilarious, National Lampoon's Vacation gets a reasonable amount of mileage out of depicting the disaster-prone journey of a "typical" family of four, the Griswolds of suburban Chicago.

June 24, 2015 | Full Review…

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

May 7, 2008 | Full Review…

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.

May 7, 2008 | Full Review…

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.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

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

August 30, 2004

...Hughes and Ramis make a decent fist of finding humour in everyday situations...

August 27, 2021 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for National Lampoon's Vacation


"Vacation" is the dream film that everyone wanted from Chevy Chase (especially me). He livens any film that he is in, from his facial expressions to his snappy dialogue delivery. When the Griswold family sets out on a family road trip to Wall World, chaos ensues as they try to reach their destination. Such a simple story with such greatly written humour and witty dialogue makes this film one to watch over and over again. The cast works great together and you totally buy them as a family. The R-rating really helps the gags feel natural and as if an actual family would be going through these scenarios. In the end, the film was not all about the destination, but the journey to get there, and let me say, it is one hilarious journey. My only complaint about this film is that there are a few moments that seemed to pad out the run time, but aside from that, it is a near perfect comedy for what it sets out to be. I love "Vacation."

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer


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.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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 that 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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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