Monday, November 18, 2013


“You’ll shoot your eye out kid!”
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Bob Clark’s A CHRISTMAS STORY.

Loosely based upon the short stories and semi-fictional anecdotes of author Jean Shepherd’s book In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, with some elements derived from Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories, A CHRISTMAS STORY is a simple tale of a little boy who wants nothing for Christmas except for an official Red Ryder, carbine-action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle (with a compass in the stock and a thing which tells time), and must overcome many obstacles to get it.
Ambiguously set in the time frame of the late 1930/1940’s, A CHRISTMAS STORY takes place in a fictionalized version of the hometown of author Jean Shepherd…who would provide the narration in the form of an adult version of the main character, Ralphie. That main character was played by a then 12-year old Peter Billingsley, and he was joined by veteran actor Darren McGavin (as the Old Man, Ralphie’s father), and Melinda Dillon (as Ralphie’s mom)…who landed role thanks in part to her performance in Steven Spielberg’s CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977). Inspired by Shepherd’s great collection of short stories based in part on his own childhood, the film marvelously unspools many sub-plots and situations, all with the connecting thread of kids and the spirit of Christmas.

The film had moderate success at the Box Office and gained lukewarm reviews upon its initial release. In years since, A CHRISTMAS STORY became wildly popular due to television airings and home release; becoming cemented in pop-culture and a holiday foundation. Its reputation has grown and is now considered to be one of the best films of 1983. In 2007, AOL ranked the film as the No. 1 Christmas movie of all time. IGN ranked it as the top holiday-themed film of all time. The American Film Institute (AFI) has the film on several Top 100 lists including 100 Laughs, 100 Movie Quotes, and 100 Movies. In 2012 the National Film Registry selected the film for preservation in the Library of Congress for its significance. Fans of the film gobble up merchandise in the form of clothing, toys, decorations, and lamp-replicas, and the house which served as Ralphie’s childhood home has been lovingly and faithfully restored down to the finest detail and is now a major tourist attraction
As a wee-lad, who like Ralphie, received his first BB-gun on a Christmas morning, and who had a younger brother as his best friend, A CHRISTMAS STORY was a film which this Blogger instantly connected with in the early 1980’s and still does do this day. With the film being played on cable TV in a 24 hour marathon, it is standard viewing during the holidays, and no matter how many times it is seen during that 24 hours, you cannot help but to watch it each time. It is a perfect film; packed with many great quotes and full of heart-and-soul, and despite being set in the 1930’s, has a story which is undoubtedly played out in real life every Christmas. That makes it timeless, and that makes it this Blogger’s No. 1 Christmas movie, ever.

"Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue steel beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received, or would ever receive. Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots."




1 comment:

  1. One of my very favorites! 1940's or now you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't seem themselves somewhere in that film!


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