A Christmas Story
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From the manufacturer
'You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out'
At least that’s what little Ralphie Parker is told when he asks his parents for a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Air Rifle for Christmas. Hilarity ensues as Ralphie, along with his friend, Flick, try to convince Ralphie’s parents and even his teacher, Miss Shields, that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift for a nine-year-old boy.
A Christmas Story aired before Thanksgiving (on November 18) in 1983.
The movie opened on 883 screens.
Director, Bob Clark, had to agree to make a horror movie for the film studio as a trade off for making 'A Christmas Story'.
The movie was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio, and many of the townspeople temporarily donated their antique cars to help the film appear more authentic for its 1940s time period.
A Christmas Classic
- A fun and appropriate comedy for the entire family
- Available on DVD or Blu-ray
- 94 minutes of charm and laughter
- 8.5/10 rating from a leading movie review site
- The perfect Christmas movie to get everyone in the holiday spirit
Meet the Cast
Ralphie (Peter Billingsley)
All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun and there’s not much he won’t do to try and convince everybody around him that he needs one. Will his comical and manipulative antics get him what he wants come Christmas morning?
Old Man Parker (Darren McGavin)
Old Man Parker is Ralphie’s dad and the quintessential father of the 1940s. Between winning a contest for the first time in his life, to seemingly never-ending battles with the furnace and the neighbors’ dogs, Old Man Parker is the temperamental, yet loveable, character you’ll secretly cheer for throughout the movie.
Mother Parker (Melinda Dillon)
Mother Parker is the glue holding the Parker household together. While refusing Ralphie’s request for a BB gun that will 'put his eye out', she must also make sure that her youngest son eats and her husband stays away from the Christmas turkey. Now if only she could get rid of that ugly leg-shaped lamp.
Flick (Scott Schwartz)
Ralphie’s trusty sidekick could always be counted on to help fight the bullies and get into general mischief. In one of the most memorable scenes from 'A Christmas Story', Flick gets his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole after receiving a triple dog dare from one of the school bullies.
A Christmas Story is a Christmas classic on DVD that tells the story of nine-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley). In the movie, Ralphie wants only one thing: a Red Ryder Range 200-Shot BB gun. When he mentions it at the dinner table, his mother's immediate reaction is that he'll put his eye out. He then decides it's the perfect theme for a report for his teacher, but her reaction is like his mother's. He fantasizes about what it would be like to be Red Ryder and catch the bad guys. When the big day arrives he gets lots of presents under the tree including a lovely gift from his aunt that his mother just adores. But what about the BB gun?
Director Bob Clark's charming, touching, and very funny adaptation of humorist Jean Shepherd's nostalgic, autobiographical Yuletide novel, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, remains essential holiday family viewing. Narrated by a man (Shepherd) recalling his childhood, the film looks back at the compulsive efforts of 7-year-old Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) as he tries every means possible to acquire his dream Christmas gift--a Daisy-brand Red Ryder repeating BB carbine with a compass mounted in the stock. Problem is, he lives in a Norman Rockwell-esque Midwestern town in the 1940s, where his parents, teachers, and even Santa Claus all warn Ralphie that "he'll shoot his eye out." Episodic in nature and seen entirely through the eyes of a child, the film offers a wonderful look at the day-to-day eccentricities that grew out of this conservative period. More interestingly, it cleverly captures childhood urgency, where even the most trivial fantasies or objects become immediate life-or-death necessities. While countless family Christmas movies serve up clichéd situations suffocating with preachy sermons, Clark's acute eye for detail and odd mixture of warmth, satire, and quirky humor are the reasons why so many viewers have rediscovered this after it initially bombed in the theaters. Sentimental without being syrupy, it's a true rarity: a holiday movie that adults and children can enjoy equally, for completely different reasons and regardless of the season. --Dave McCoySee all Editorial Reviews
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While I appreciate the added featurette, this 30th Anniversary Edition could have been and should have been SO much better than this. Obviously, this is a five-star+ movie, but I'm being generous in giving this Anniversary edition three stars for the effort in creating it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my review, and I hope you find it helpful in making a buying decision.
Almost everything works.
I have to point first to the prescient direction by Bob Clark.
That’s something of a surprise. Clark made his bones in horror and the Porky’s movies.
But it’s manifestly a welcome surprise. Clark and co-writer/narrator Jean Shepherd, working from Shepherd’s books In God We Trust: All Other Pay Cash and Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, offer a careful blend of children and adults on the one hand and reality, fantasy and neighborhood myth on the other and the blend is exhilarating in a fashion that sometimes recalls Hal Roach’s “Little Rascals” shorts from the 1930s.
This is well before my time — I was born in 1955 — but no matter: I connected instantly to this vivid depiction of a young boy’s life.
It wouldn’t work as well as it does without these performers. They’re perfect or so close to perfect that the difference doesn’t matter.
Young Peter Billingsley is at the top of the heap and it would be a mistake to minimize the impact of his guileless charm, spectacles and blue eyes. He’s the movie’s face and his moods quickly become our own moods.
But I did notice this time around that Billingsley doesn’t have to act much here — though he’s splendid when he does, as in his iconic scene with an impatient department-store Santa — and tends to be used in shorter, sometimes static scenes that maximize his impact.
And I can’t go on without mentioning Melinda Dillon, who fairly exudes gentleness, Darren McGavin, who seems to feel his every scene as though he’s living it, and Tedde Moore, who brings a solemn yet vaguely mirthful edge to her performance as Ralphie’s teacher.
I won’t linger over other iconic moments. You’ll find them yourself and love them better for the finding. Suffice to say there are many and that there’s very little about A Christmas Story that doesn’t work. Even the most minor of characters. The house. The school. The scenes downtown (which were filmed in Cleveland). In a broader tableau, the film even captures the relative innocence of middle-class life in post-Great Depression America and that is no small achievement by itself.
Alas, there’s one notable lapse: A portion of the last sequence relies on stereotyping. It’s a cheap laugh and its position gives it an unfortunate power to influence what viewers take away from the film. And the real shame of it is that the creators might have skipped right over the offending lines — the next bit works perfectly — and still succeeded.
But in the bigger picture, it’s an errant moment in what is otherwise a supremely careful and well-made movie. And so, while the scene sticks in my craw every time I see it, I can’t hold it against the movie for long. This is a keeper.
Extras: Being able to access an HD digital version is a plus, and the BD includes a new featurette entitled "Christmas in Ohio: A Christmas Story House," which runs 21:19 and features an all-growed-up Ian Petrella (aka Randy) and Brian Jones, founder of the "A Christmas Story House" in Cleveland. Also, the original recordings by Jean Shepherd that appeared on the 20th-anniversary DVD edition but were missing on the earlier BD have returned. What's still missing are the 20th-anniversary trivia & decoder ring extras from the DVD, which were sort of lame anyway. Watching some of the extras as the participants keep referring to the 20th anniversary of the film (the edition for which the extras were originally filmed) emphasizes how little updating was done for this 30th Anniversary BD Edition.
This 2-disc set includes a DVD as well - it includes both widescreen and full screen versions of the film. The BD contains only the widescreen version. Packaging is a steel book.
Love the movie - I bought this latest issue in the anticipation that I'll be giving my single-BD set away to friends this year (which I did).
If you already own this on BD, you need not double dip.