A Christmas Story (1983)

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

Decent Films Ratings

Entertainment Value
Value (+4/-4)
? +0
?Kids & Up*

External Ratings


Content advisory: Some crude language and mild profanity.

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A Christmas Story (DVD & Blu-ray)

A National Catholic Register "Video/DVD Picks" capsule review.

By Steven D. Greydanus

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.

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.

Tags: Comedy, Family

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