National Lampoon’s Vacation, sometimes referred to as Vacation, is a 1983 American road comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid, Dana Barron and Anthony Michael Hall. John Candy, Imogene Coca, Christie Brinkley and a young Jane Krakowski appear in supporting roles. The screenplay was written by John Hughes, based on his short story “Vacation ’58” which appeared in National Lampoon.
The film was a box-office hit, earning more than $60 million in the U.S. with an estimated budget of $15 million, and received positive reviews from critics. As a result of its success, four sequels have been produced: European Vacation (1985), Christmas Vacation (1989), Vegas Vacation (1997), and most recently, Vacation (2015) which serves as both a reboot and a continuation. In 2000, readers of Total Film voted it the 46th greatest comedy film of all time. It continues to be a cult film and a staple on cable television.
Clark Griswold, wanting to spend more time with his wife Ellen and children Rusty and Audrey, decides to lead the family on a cross-country expedition from the Chicago suburbs to the southern California amusement park Walley World, billed as “America’s Favorite Family Fun Park.” Ellen wants to fly, but Clark insists on driving, so he can bond with his family. He has ordered a new car in preparation for the trip, but the dealer claims that it will not be ready for six weeks. Clark is forced to accept a Wagon Queen Family Truckster, an ugly, out-sized station wagon, as the 2nd generation Vista Cruiser he brought to trade in has already been hauled away and crushed.
During the family’s travels, they experience numerous mishaps, such as being tagged by vandals in East St. Louis, Illinois, while Clark is tantalized on numerous occasions by a beautiful young woman driving a flashy red Ferrari 308 GTS. They stop in Coolidge, Kansas to visit Ellen’s cousin Catherine and her husband Eddie, who foist cranky Aunt Edna and her mean dog Dinky on the Griswolds, asking them to drop her off at her son Norman’s home in Phoenix. After stopping at a decrepit and dirty campground in South Fork, Colorado for the night, Clark forgets to untie Dinky’s leash from the bumper before driving off the next morning, killing the dog. A state trooper pulls the Griswolds over and angrily lectures Clark over animal cruelty but accepts Clark’s apology; Edna learns of her dog’s death and becomes more irate with Clark. Exiting Colorado, Ellen loses her bag which had her credit cards.
While Ellen and Clark argue during a drive between Utah and Arizona, they crash and become stranded in the desert near Monument Valley. Clark and Rusty have a bonding experience explaining why he wants to take this vacation. After setting off alone in the desert to look for help, Clark eventually reunites with his family, who have been rescued and taken