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The original: 

National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)

Directed by: 

Harold Ramis (Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This) 


Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron; with Randy Quaid, Eugene Levy, John Candy, Eddie Bracken, Imogene Coca, Brian Doyle-Murray. 


What’s it about? 

Clark Griswold (Chase) wants a family Vacation to end them all- and nearly gets his wish. 

Traveling from Chicago to legendary Wally World in California, The Griswold’s must survive mad dogs, crazy relatives, corrupt sheriffs, skeletons in the desert, trigger happy bar keeps, hub cap stealing locals and a corpse on the roof. 


Written knowingly by John Hughes and directed winningly by Ramis, the situations escalate, but it always feels… possible. This is the genius of the film- It is zany, wacky, horrific and outlandish, and also utterly relatable. 

From the family dynamic (not least the tensions of a long distance drive with the whole clan), the relations, tourist traps, and rip-offs, we’ve all been here. 


One of the gold standards of cinema comedy, Vacation gives us more amazing lines, astonishing situations, wonderfully realised side characters and in Clark, one of the perfect comedy creations of all time. 


The sequels have their moments. The original is pure joy. 


Security Guard Lasky- 'Your dad didn’t really kill any one, did he?' 

Rusty-  'Only the dog. Oh, and my Aunt Edna.’ 

Clark- ‘You can’t prove that, Russ.” 


Clark- ‘I think you're all fucked in the head. We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out. Well I'll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. You're gonna have fun, and I'm gonna have fun... We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we're gonna need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles! You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes! I must be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy Shit!’ 

Rusty- (Holds Clark's shoulder] 'Dad, you want an aspirin? 

Clark- 'Don't touch!' 


“Good talk, son.” 


The pitch: "Come up with a new 80s-set National Lampoon Vacation movie."

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