A Christmas Story (1983)

A- SDG Original source: National Catholic Register

Based on the childhood memoirs of radio humorist Jean Shepherd about growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s, A Christmas Story is as heartwarming and nostalgic as its title suggests. Like many Christmas-themed movies, it offers no insight into the true meaning of Christmas, but it brims with insight into the human condition — particularly the condition of boys at Christmastime.

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1983, MGM. Directed by Bob Clark. Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, Ian Petrella, Scott Schwartz, R. D. Robb, Tedde Moore.

Artistic/Entertainment Value

Moral/Spiritual Value


Age Appropriateness

Kids & Up*

MPAA Rating


Caveat Spectator

Some crude language and mild profanity.

The tale shows us Christmas through the eyes of Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley), whose consuming desire is for "an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200 shot range-model air rifle." To this end he brings to bear all the intellectual prowess of a nine-year old with one scheme after another to ensure that he will find one under the Christmas tree. Yet at every turn he meets the classic adult dismissal: "You’ll shoot your eye out."

With much affectionate humor, A Christmas Story recalls vividly what it was like to be a kid at Christmas in a more innocent era, when boys were liable to get their mouths washed out with soap for cussing (though their fathers often did so profusely). A minor holiday classic.

Comedy, Family