Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

(National Lampoon's) Vacation (1983)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

(National Lampoon's) Vacation (1983) (aka Vacation)

  • as the title suggested, director Harold Ramis' road trip comedy told about the crazy cross-country adventures and mishaps of a family on their way from Chicago, IL to an amusement park in SoCal; the post-card opening sequence was accompanied by the song: "Holiday Road" sung by Lindsay Buckingham
  • clueless family head Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) was expecting to pick up a new "Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon with CB and optional family fun pack," but due to a car-dealership mix-up, the slick car salesman Ed (Eugene Levy) had Clark agree to accept and drive a gigantic pea-green "Wagon Queen Family Truckster" station wagon with a broken-down engine, for his reluctant family's cross-country trek to Walley World in Southern California with wife Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), son Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall), and daughter Audrey (Dana Barron); he insisted that the family join together in sing-alongs to combat boredom
  • there were numerous arduous misadventures on the way to Walley World, including getting lost in a ghetto area of East St. Louis, MO where the clueless, out-of-place Clark asked for directions from a black pimp: "Pardon me, I wonder if you could tell me how to get back on the expressway?" (who responded: "F--k yo Mama!") - and as they drove off, their hubcaps were stolen by vandals; Rusty also asked: "Wonder if these guys know the Commodores?"
  • during an overnight motel stop where Clark was preparing to romance Ellen with wine, the film included a parody of the motel shower scene in Psycho (1960) when Clark pretended to attack his long-suffering wife Ellen - using a stabbing motion with a banana; she rejected his offers to "do" her back and front: ("Go do your own front!"); and afterwards, they had to abort love-making when their vibrating massager bed malfunctioned and they were forced to move to the floor, where they were embarrassingly discovered by their two kids
  • at a stop in Dodge City, KS at a Wild West-themed tourist attraction, Clark entered into an altercation with a bartender in a tavern- "saloon" - and was "shot" with blanks as part of the simulated experience
  • during the trip, Clark had his first sexy encounter with a flirtatious and tempting vixen (supermodel Christie Brinkley) in a passing red 1983 Ferrari 308 - with CA license plates: "LUV ME"
  • the family visited with Ellen's cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn) and her beer-swilling, hayseed husband Eddie (Randy Quaid) at their farm in Coolidge, KS, who ate Hamburger Helper without the meat: ("I don't know why they call this stuff Hamburger Helper. It does just fine by itself, huh? I like it better than Tuna Helper myself, don't you, Clark?")
  • there were many funny lines of dialogue: Eddie: "How do you like yours, Clark?" Clark: "Oh, medium rare, a little pink inside." Eddie: "No, I mean your bun"; Eddie described his disability: "I got laid off when they closed that asbestos factory, and now, wouldn't you know it, the Army cuts my disability pension because they said that the plate in my head wasn't big enough" - and then he asked Clark for a loan of $52,000 dollars

Ellen's Cousin-in-Law Eddie with Clark

Eddie: "How do you like yours, Clark?"

Vicki: "Daddy says I'm the best at it"

A Box of Home-grown Weed: "How cool is this?"

Dale to Rusty: "I've got a stack of nudie books this high!"

Vicki Stirring Kool-Aid with Her Hand
  • Eddie's young daughter Vicki (Jane Krakowski) bragged about French kissing: "I'm goin' steady, and I French kiss...Yeah, but Daddy says I'm the best at it" and also showing off a shoebox full of home-grown weed to Audrey: ("How cool is this?"), while Eddie's son Dale (John Nevin) bragged to Rusty: "I've got a stack of nudie books this high"; Vicki also stirred a jar of red Kool-Aid by sticking her hand inside and swishing it around (Clark asked: "Vicki, can I help you with that Kool-Aid, please?")
  • as they left, the Griswolds were forced to agree to take along foul-tempered Aunt Edna (Imogene Coca) and her viciously-mean dog Dinky, to later be dropped her off at her son Norman's home in Phoenix, AZ
  • at a lunch-break picnic rest stop during the road trip, to the sound of June Pointer's "Little Boy Sweet", Clark attempted to impress the sexy blonde vixen nearby (next to her red Ferrari), by flirting back while performing an awkward dance and opening his sandwich to show it off, as she drank from a soda bottle; all of a sudden, Ellen cried out: "They're all wet. Oh God! The dog wet on the picnic basket!" - and Clark began unglamorously spitting out his mouthful, although Aunt Edna shrugged her shoulders and took another bite
  • after an overnight tent-campground stop at a rundown Kamp Komfort facility in South Fork, CO, Clark was stopped by a forgiving and grief-stricken motorcycle cop after Clark had accidentally dragged Dinky tied by a dog leash to the bumper: "Explain this, you son-of-a-bitch...Do you know what the penalty for animal cruelty is in this state?...Well, it's probably pretty stiff...Poor little guy. Probably kept up with you for a mile or so. Tough little mutt. Yeah....Here's the leash, sir. I'm going back to get the rest of the carcass off the road...."
  • as they left Colorado, Ellen's vanity in her suitcase with her credit cards fell off the roof of the car; then a car crash in the Arizona desert followed an intense argument with his wife, and Clark experienced man-to-man talks in the desert with his son Rusty, including sharing a beer with him
  • upon their arrival at a Grand Canyon Village motel, Clark discovered that they had no credit cards or cash, and the clerk refused to cash a check, even after a bribery attempt; fortuitously, Clark was able to 'borrow' money from the open cash register (and left a $1,000 check in exchange) before briefly viewing the scenic Grand Canyon
  • following the death of Aunt Edna in her sleep, she was wrapped in a tarp and tied to the top of the station wagon: (Clark: "You want me to strap her to the hood? She'll be fine. It's not as if it's going to rain or something"); in Phoenix, AZ during a downpour, they left Aunt Edna's wrapped rigor mortis body on a backyard porch lawn chair at Cousin Normie’s house; Clark (during the thunder and rain storm) half-heartedly attempted to offer a prayer to God on her behalf: "Oh, God. Ease our suffering in this, our moment of great despair! Yeah! Admit this good and decent woman into Thine arms and the flock in Thine heavenly area up there. And Moab, he laideth down behind the land of the Canaanites. And, yeah, though the Hindus speak of karma...I implore you, give her a break....Honey, I'm not an ordained minister! I'm doing my best, okay?"
  • the always-clumsy and dim-brained, half-crazed Clark Griswold gave a deranged, foul-mouthed, colorfully R-rated exhortation and rant to his beleaguered family to press on, on their journey from Chicago westward: "I think you're all f--ked in the head. We're ten hours from the f--kin' fun park and you want to bail out! Well, I'll tell you somethin'. This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun. I'm gonna have fun and you're gonna have fun. We're all gonna have so much f--kin' fun we'll need plastic surgery to remove our god-damn smiles. You'll be whistling 'Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah' out of your assholes! Ha, ha, ha. I gotta be crazy! I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose. Praise Marty Moose! Holy S--t!"
  • at the next motel stop, Clark encountered the same blonde vixen at the bar, who temptingly flirted with him, after he vowed he was single and owned the entire chain: (Vixen: "It's too bad you're married. I'm in the mood for some fun" Clark: "Married? Oh, you mean those people I'm with? That's my brother's family. My brother's ring. You know, I usually borrow them on these little inspection tours of mine. It sorta helps to complete the disguise. It's fun for them...In order to be convincing, you have to look and act like an ordinary jerk. You know, stop at all the stupid sites and, uh, look like a fool")
  • later as they walked to the swimming pool, Clark kept rambling: "My credo is, if you have to have a credo, you know, 'Go for it,' pretty much. You only go around this crazy merry-go-round once! You know?...Yeah. (she began stripping down to go skinny-dipping, and tossing her underwear at him) That's my credo! You don't have to have a credo, but 'If the shoe fits, wear it.' 'A penny saved... ' 'Pennies from heaven...' My favorite credo, you know, uhm, 'A penny saved, and... '"; when she dove in completely naked, she urged him to join her ("Are you gonna go for it?"); after he jumped in naked, he screamed about the water temperature and alerted many other guests to his embarrassing situation, including Ellen, who afterwards was easily convinced to go skinny-dipping ("I know how to have fun and I'm gonna prove it...I want us to have some fun together") - with Clark only

Walley World - An Empty Parking Lot

Slo-Mo Run Toward Walley World Entrance

Holding Walley World Guard Hostage
  • after their eventual arrival at Walley World in Los Angeles, Clark spoke: "First ones here!"; they ran in slow-motion (to the sounds of Chariots of Fire's theme) to the entrance, but to their dismay, it was closed for two weeks for maintenance; at the front gate, they were notified by a happy, animatronic moose holding a sign - with a recording: "Sorry Folks! We're closed for two weeks - to clean and repair 'America's Favorite' Family Fun Park"; completely disheartened, Clark punched the moose in the nose
  • Clark held the overweight Walley World security guard Russ Lasky (John Candy) hostage at gunpoint (with a realistic looking BB-gun he had just bought at a sporting goods store): "Now you listen to me, fat ass. You do what I say and there won't be any problem, okay? OK. We just drove 2,460 miles, just for a little Roy Walley entertainment. The Moose says you're closed. I say you're open"
  • although a SWAT team arrived and they were handcuffed, the family was able to experience some of the rides in the park when charges were dropped by Walley World's owner Roy (Eddie Bracken), including the roller-coaster
  • in the end credits, it was revealed that rather than driving back, the Griswolds opted for a plane trip to return to Chicago

Mix-up at the Car Dealership

The Family Sing-Alongs With Clark Leading

East St. Louis Pimp to Clark: "F--k yo Mama!"

Psycho Shower Parody

Vixen Passing in a Red 1983 Ferrari

Clark Dancing With His Urine-Soaked Sandwich

Clark with Motorcycle Cop After an Accident With Dog Dinky

Clark Sharing Beer with Son Rusty

Clark's Rant: "This is no longer a vacation. It's a quest. It's a quest for fun"

Clark With the Flirtatious Blonde (Christie Brinkley) - Skinny-Dipping at the Motel


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