Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 78 Ratings

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  • Summary: This delightfully funny holiday gem tells the story of Ralphie Parker a 1940's nine-year-old who pulls out all the stops to obtain the ultimate Christmas present. (Warner Bros.)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. 100
    The affection audiences feel for A Christmas Story is related to the holiday spirit, yes, but specifically to Clark and Shepherd's awareness of how the true meaning of Christmas manifests in the real world, where a warm meal on a cold, dark day—and a surprising moment of parental grace—can ease a troubled mind.
  2. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    In short, A Christmas Story isn't just about Christmas; it's about childhood and it recaptures a time and place with love and wonder. It seems an instant classic, a film that will give pleasure to people not only this Christmas, but for many Christmases to come. [19 Nov 1983, p.1]
  3. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    The cast is wonderful--especially McGavin, Billingsley and Petrella--the laughs are nonstop if rarely subtle, and the whole thing deserves to become a Christmastime classic.
  4. 75
    It is pitch-perfect, telling the story through the enthusiastic and single-minded vision of its hero Ralphie, and finding in young Peter Billingsley a sly combination of innocence and calculation.
  5. Though Mr. Billingsley, Mr. Gavin, Miss Dillon and the actress who plays Ralphie's school teacher are all very able, they are less funny than actors in a television situation comedy that one has chosen to watch with the sound turned off.
  6. 60
    Director Bob Clark teamed with nostalgic humorist Jean Shepherd for this squeaky clean and often quite funny 1983 yuletide comedy, adapted from Shepherd's novel In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephen Godfrey
    Needless to say, what's refreshing about A Christmas Story is subversive to the sepia-toned and loving references to the forties which director Bob Clark has provided for the film. The fictional Parker family that Shepherd has written about for 20 years is not as gentle or gauzy as they first appear. It's possible to imagine them so preoccupied with their own problems, whether dealing with the neighbor's dogs or winning a mail- order contest, that they could forget Christmas altogether. [25 Nov 1983, p.E5]

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 13
  2. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Dec 25, 2012
    A perfect Christmas movie, if not a perfect film. This is one of the movies that you revisit every year, and is a joy to do so. A joy to talk about with friends, and a joy to recite your favorite lines. This is one of those movies where when the next scene pops up you think, oh yeah I have been waiting for this part, just delightful throughout. I love the narration in this film, the poetry of of the narration against the story of this young man adds humor in almost every scene. There are also many great tender moments in this comedy. Ralphie's moment with his mom after beating up the bully, and his father giving him the bb gun at the end are my two favorite. I look forward to watching this movie every year, I hope TBS never ends there 24 hours of A Christmas Story. Expand
  2. Nov 28, 2012
    Nostalgic, enduring, farcical, and near-perfect, "A Christmas Story" is a story so relatable and affecting that the film has become a tradition in and of itself. Collapse
  3. Jul 26, 2013
    It's a classic holiday movie! I mean what more is there to say? It's funny, clever and a must watch every Christmas day. Fragile? That must be Italian! Expand
  4. Feb 23, 2013
    How many times do you watch it on Christmas? This movie certainly is a classic. I'm a sucker for flashback films told by a narrator and this is perhaps a primary example of these films. For those of you living under a rock and unfamiliar with this film, it's about a little boy named Ralphie and what he wants for Christmas. The cast is fantastic and it's hilarious without being raunchy. This is how comedies used to be and some would argue should be. No doubt this film is great, but what most people don't know is that there is actually a sequel, with the same narrator, made 11 years later. My Summer Story follows Ralphie and his family the following summer and while the cast is different, the story is equally as good. I'd suggest you check out both films and be careful not to shoot your eye out kid! Expand
  5. May 30, 2013
    Surprised to see this film listed among Top 250 films of IMDb years ago (a glory will not return considering it has been outranked by other newcomers), but still it is an unthinkable feat since family-slewed holiday season comedies has rarely been able to manage on that prestigious list, less to mention it is from a Tinseltown hack, the late director Bob Clark.

    Now I finally have watched it with BluRay calibre, what can I say? It is a damn good family boon, a bona-fide Christmas film outshines all its contemporary duds.

    Set in 1940s, an ordinary American family, Ralphie is a schoolboy lives with his parents and a younger brother Randy, all he wants for the approaching Christmas is a BB gun which every adult considers it is dangerous since it will shoot your eyes out! (An utter antithesis of what I wanted when I was that age, of course, not for Christmas, for Spring Festival instead). So the film minutely recollects what has happened during this unforgettable Yuletide by a congenial voiceover from Ralphie in his adulthood, the mischiefs at the school and at home, all from Ralphie’s viewpoint, which perfectly aligns with the whimsical nature of a kid’s chimera.

    Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin makes such a dynamic onscreen duo as the cool mother and the naff father (McGavin is too old to be their old man, a grandfather should be more appropriate though). What happens in the family (a piggy-imitation incentive on the dining table, the leg-shape lamp accident, the icicle misconduct, and the f-word punishment etc.) radiates great affinity towards its viewers since it is not overtly soliciting for instant laughters, rather it stays with its audiences and brings ripple effects to everyone’s own memory of their most memorable holidays in childhood. Peter Billingsley, a bespectacled precocious over-thinker, does offset the abundance of epidemic smart-alecks among recent child-performances. Tedde Moore, as Ralphie’s schoolteacher, whose deadpan sanctimoniousness satires the traumatizing condescendence on the nose, personally I have met quite a few in my school days. Other skits such as Peter and the wolf parody, the impatient Santa Claus with his fiendish elves in the mall, and the tongue-stuck-on-the-ice prank, all goes well without hyperbole. Bob Clark may not be a great filmmaker, and A CHRISTMAS STORY doesn’t possess any unique talking point among cinephiles, but with a retrospective nostalgia, it certainly occupies a snug spot among many people’s guilty-pleasure bracket.
  6. Dec 23, 2012
    "A Christmas Story" is perhaps one of the more widely-beloved and classic holiday films, and it certainly deserves the attention. Following the (mis)adventures of 12-year-old Ralphie on his eternal quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas, this is a heartwarming and pleasant movie with good acting, fun narration and great comedy. And, like many iconic holiday films, it has plenty of oddball identity, including a decidedly less-than-jolly mall Santa Claus. Not necessarily one of my must-have seasonal viewings, but you certainly can't go more than a couple of years without visiting it again. Expand
  7. Jan 17, 2014
    A very creepy holiday movie as a kid growing up even owning the leg lamp from this movie, I can say I hate this movie and it ruins the holidays for me. I will say the father in the movie was great and probably can related to any ones dad but, What I find creepy in this movie is the narrator voice hearing the voice every christmas over and over dramatically explaining his most memorable Christmas is terrible as well as the creepy Santa Claus, his elf, and the little midget bully that until now I realizes he was really a kid. This has a huge Cult following and that makes me wonder in the voice of Kenan Thompson "WHY". Expand

See all 13 User Reviews


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