[[quoteright:301:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/a-christmas-story-2.jpg]]

Based on author Jean Shepherd's short stories (including material from ''In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash'') -- and narrated by Shepherd himself -- ''A Christmas Story'' is the story of a childhood Christmas in or around UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo-era America.

Nine-year-old Ralphie wants one thing for Christmas: a BB gun. It's not just any BB gun he wants, either; his heart is set on an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle with a compass in the stock (and [[BuffySpeak this thing which tells time]]). His mother, teachers, and even the [[MallSanta department store Santa]] tell him, in an ever-deepening refrain, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

''A Christmas Story'' did only modest box-office business in 1983, and didn't win any [[JustForPun major awards]], but the film has since become a holiday classic, due in part to Ted Turner acquiring the rights to the film and giving it a twenty-four-hour Christmas Eve[=/=]Day marathon on either {{TBS}} or TNT.

The film spawned a play, as well as two "sequels": the made-for-TV ''Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss'' and 1994's ''Film/ItRunsInTheFamily'' (aka "My Summer Story", not to be confused with the Creator/{{Kirk|Douglas}}/Creator/MichaelDouglas collaboration), both of which are notable in that none of the original film's cast members are in either of the others (save actress Tedde Moore [Miss Shields], who appears in the latter). A DirectToVideo sequel called ''A Christmas Story 2'' was released in October 2012. You can watch the trailer [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Bed8rNx-Sw here]].

This is the most acclaimed movie directed by Creator/BobClark. If Ralphie's encounter with Santa Claus seemed kinda scary to you when you were a kid, you shouldn't be surprised to learn [[Film/BlackChristmas1974 what the director made before this]]. His [[{{Porkys}} previous]] and [[Film/BabyGeniuses later work]] indicates this film was basically a fluke.

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!!This movie provides examples of:

* AdaptationExpansion: The stage show version of the movie adds a few more scenes between Ralphie's parents, a few more scenes with Flick and Schwartz, some extra narration, as well as expands on the throwaway character Esther Jane (the girl that says hello to Ralphie at Santa's mountain), giving her more lines and a couple rather sweet exchanges with Ralphie.
* AdultsAreUseless: Played with. While the kids are aware that their parents care for and love them, they also know there are some things you do as kids that they'd best not find out.
--> '''Ralphie (narrating)''': (responding to a teacher's attempt to guilt her class into confessing what happened to Flick) Adults loved to say things like that but kids know better. We knew darn well it was ''always better'' not to get caught.
* AdvertisingCampaigns / AffectionateParody: In 2006 Cingular (now AT&T) ran ads parodying the film. Instead of the 'Red Ryder'/'you'll shoot your eye out' call and response, the commercials had Ralphie ask for a Cingular phone with the call back 'you'll run the bill up, kid!'.
** In 2013 TBS ran ads featuring the cast of ''CougarTown'' parodying scenes from the film (such as the little piggies and the pink bunny scenes) generally after the scenes occurred in the 24 hour marathon, in order to promote ''Town'''s new season starting Jan 7th of the following year.
* TheAllegedCar: The Old Man's 1937 Oldsmobile.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Sort of. There really ''are'' Red Ryder [=BB=] guns, but (as of 1983) none that match the ''exact'' description given.
** Also for some, Lifebuoy soap. While they don't advertise like they used to (they used to sponsor ads at several baseball stadiums, which tended to get vandalized), it's been continually produced since 1894.
** While it's most associated with this movie, the "Drink More Ovaltine" ring decoded message was a very real thing that dates all the way back to the 1930's.
*** And now Ovaltine is [[https://www.facebook.com/OvaltineUSA/app_605197776211854 cross-promoting with the movie]].
* {{Angrish}}: The Old Man's string of profanities.
** ...or lack thereof when he gets ''really'' steamed:
---> '''Ralphie (narrating):''' The old man stood there, quivering with fury, stammering as he tried to come up with a real crusher. All he got out was...
---> '''The Old Man:''' ''NADDAFINGA!''
** This also seems to be Mrs. Schwartz’s first language.
* AnnoyingLaugh: Farkus' EvilLaugh qualifies.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography: Even though the film is set in Indiana, there are multiple references to Higbee's, a defunct department store chain based in Ohio. (In fact, the scenes were actually shot at Higbee's flagship in Cleveland.)
* AsideGlance: Ralphie looks straight into the camera and grins after tricking his mom into believing that an icicle, rather than his BB gun, was what hit him in the face.
* AtomicFBomb: Implied in the tire-changing scene.
* BarbaricBully: Scut Farkus.
* BehindTheBlack: Farkus surprising the three by hanging upside down in the schoolyard. A little hard to see both how ''anyone'' didn't notice he was there, or what he was hanging upside-down from.
* BerserkButton: Mrs. Schwartz doesn't take too kindly to finding out about her son's supposed swearing.
** The Old Man has SEVERAL. (His furnace, his car, his kids' roller-skates, the Bumpus' dogs). Oddly enough, when the dogs invade the house and eat his beloved turkey, The Old Man just wearily tells his family to get dressed to go out to eat.
* BerserkerTears: Ralphie while beating Farkus to a bloody pulp.
* BigNo: Ralphie, after Santa pushes him down the slide upon telling him that [[RunningGag he'll shoot his eye out with a Red Ryder BB gun.]]
* BigOMG: Mrs. Shields, when she learns where Flick is the hard way.
** Also, Ralphie: "Oh my God, I shot my eye out!"
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: When Ralphie gets his BB gun and fantasizes about shooting the villains, the black guy gets shot first.
* BuffySpeak: The "Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and ''a thing which tells time''."
* TheBully: Scut Farkus, and to a lesser extent, his toady Grover Dill.
* BumblingDad: The Old Man, played masterfully by Darren [=McGavin=]. He does strange things and is a bit detached, but you can tell he genuinely loves his family.
* ButtMonkey: Flick, Farkus's most frequent target as well as the poor sap that gets his tongue stuck on a pole. Especially in the stage version. "That's my sore arm!"
** Ralph is because he falls victim to the response of "You'll shoot your eye out!", whenever he requests a BB Gun as a Christmas present, and a few other letdowns even as a result of him being a habitual daydreamer.
** Randy is whenever he is pressured into wearing an incredibly thick snowsuit.
** The Old Man is on account of how he always falls victim to having to deal with something going wrong with mechanical devices, with the exception of one item; and having to be the victim of dozens of a neighbors' dogs always intruding.
** The mother is a little bit on account of what she has to put up with according to her somewhat stern attitude.
* CloudCuckoolander: Ralphie, especially when Miss Shields has to snap him out of his daydreaming.
* ClusterFBomb: Averted through heavy use of [[GoshDangItToHeck euphemisms]], but repeatedly implied.
-->'''Ralphie (narrating)''': In the heat of battle, my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.
* CompetitionCouponMadness: In order to get the coveted Little Orphan Annie decoder ring -- which is required to decode the show's secret message -- Ralphie must send in an ungodly number of Ovaltine labels. He collects these labels religiously, drinking Ovaltine far past the point where he's come to hate the stuff, until finally he's collected enough and sends away for the decoder ring. When the ring arrives in the mail, he uses it to decode the secret message, which reads: [[spoiler: Be sure to drink your Ovaltine]].
** "Ovaltine? A crummy commercial!? [[PrecisionFStrike Son of a bitch]]!"
* CreatorCameo: The man who directs Ralphie and Randy to the back of the line to see Santa is Jean Shepherd.
-->'''Man in Line for Santa:''' Young man. Hey, kid! Just where do you think you're going?
-->'''Ralphie:''' Going up to see Santa.
-->'''Man in Line for Santa:''' The line ''ends'' here. It begins ''there''.
** Also, director Bob Clark as Swede.
-->'''Swede:''' Hey, Parker, what is that?
-->'''Mr. Parker:''' Don't bother me now, Swede, can't you see I'm busy?
-->'''Swede:''' Yeah, but what is that?
-->'''Mr. Parker:''' I-i-i-it-uh-It's a Major Award!
-->'''Swede:''' A Major Award? Shucks, I wouldn'ta knowed that. It looks like a lamp.
-->'''Mr. Parker:''' It IS a lamp, you nincompoop. But it's a Major Award. I won it!
-->'''Swede:''' Damn, hell, you say you won it?
-->'''Mr. Parker:''' Yeah, mind power, Swede; mind power.
* CurbStompBattle: Ralphie finally snaps and beats the tar out of Farkus while [[ClusterFBomb unleashing a string of profanities.]]
** And Ralphie is more concerned over getting in trouble for his language than for pulverizing Farkus.
* DeadpanSnarker: When the [[MallSanta department store Santa]] tells Ralphie that he can't give him a Red Ryder [=BB=] Gun because "He'll shoot his eye out" and then kicks him down the slide.
** The Old Man's reaction to Ralphie's bunny pyjamas. "He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny..."
* DisappointedInYou: Mrs. Shields discusses and tries to invoke this after Flick is freed from the flagpole, having correctly deduced that his classmates coerced him into getting stuck to begin with.
* DroppedGlasses: When Ralphie manages to [[spoiler:shoot himself with the Red Ryder.]]
* EightiesHair: Ralphie's mom. Bit of AnachronismStew.
* EveryoneHasStandards: Even the mall Santa worries that Ralphie [[RunningGag may shoot his eye out]] and wishes him a Merry Christmas before shoving him back down the slide.
* EvilLaugh: Farkus.
* FallGuy: Flick, one of Ralphie's friends, is left to Farkus' mercy several times. (At one point, when his tongue becomes stuck to a metal pole, his friends even leave him stuck outside, and the authorities have to remove him from the pole.)
* FeetFirstIntroduction: The pink bunny suit. The camera starts at Ralphie's feet, and pans up.
* FeudingFamilies: The Old Man vs. The Bumpuses.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: [[spoiler: Everyone keeps warning Ralphie that if he gets that BB gun he'll shoot his eye out. He *does* get the BB gun for Christmas... and the first time he shoots, the pellet ricochets back into his face.]]
--> '''Narrator''': [[spoiler:Oh my God, I shot my eye out!]]
** [[spoiler:He soon realizes that his eye is fine and that the pellet only knocked his glasses off.]]
** When the workmen bring the crate into the house and set it upright, the Old Man warns them to be careful. "Watch the lady!" Interesting considering they were delivering the only conflict that the couple has to handle between them during the film.
** The FRAGILE warning on the crate the lamp was delivered in.
* FlippingHelpless: Ralphie's little brother is dressed up in so many layers for the Indiana winter, he can't get back up when he falls down. The narrator even mentions he looks like a turtle on his back.
* TheForties: The time-period in which this film takes place.[[note]]This brief shot [[http://www.flickstongue.com/pics/022_acs_021_date_2.jpg of a license plate]] suggests that the movie specifically takes place in 1940.[[/note]]
* FreakOut: Ralphie's beatdown of Farkus.
-->"Something had happened. A fuse blew and I had gone out of my skull."
* GenerationXerox: Ralphie and his father are more alike than it initially seems.
** Both employ a long list of expletives whenever they lose their tempers.
** Both are very excited when they believe they have won a particular prize.
** Ralphie is pretty cynical for a kid and it seems he gets it from his old man, who can also be a bit grumpy.
* GenkiGirl: Esther Jane in the stage show.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: After the Old Man gets his nuts squashed with his Christmas gift, a bowling ball, he announces what he got to the room.
--> Well, it's a ''blue ball!''
* GoshDangItToHeck: Played with, when the dad clearly ''wants'' to curse, but has to {{Bowdlerise}} ''himself''. Played straight when the family hears him trying to start the furnace.
** Rumors state that originally, the actor that played the Old Man was really cursing in the scenes where he's speaking {{Angrish}}. When the producers got back a rating from the MPAA, they quickly re-dubbed those scenes with harmless euphemisms or gibberish. In fact, right before the tire blows out, the Old man says "dad gummit," but those who can read lips can see him say "goddammit."
** Later {{lampshade}}d in the scene in which Ralphie helps his father change a flat tire. After the nuts get knocked out of the hubcap he was holding, he shouts out "Oh, fudge!!!" Only, as he points out [[{{Narrator}} himself]], he didn't actually say "fudge".
--->"It was ''the'' word! The big one! The queen mother of dirty words... The "[[ClusterFBomb F]]-[[SymbolSwearing dash-dash-dash]]" word!"
* HappilyMarried: Not even the "Legendary Battle of the Lamp" can permanently derail Ralphie's parents.
* HairOfTheDog: On Christmas morning the Old Man is rubbing his head and grimacing as if he has a hangover. Apparently a morning bottle of wine is a Christmas tradition at Ralphie's house. After a glass of wine he is back to his usual self.
* HeroicBSOD: After Santa Claus, Ralphie's final hope at getting a Red Ryder BB gun, tells him he'll shoot his eye out, Ralphie is left staring blankly up at the ceiling until his parents come find him.
* HomemadeSweaterFromHell: Not technically a sweater, but Ralphie's homemade bunny outfit counts.
* ImagineSpot: Many.
* InnocentBlueEyes: It's kind of hard to ignore Ralphie's bright blue eyes throughout the course of the film, especially considering the narrative.
* InnocentSwearing: Subverted, then double subverted. Ralphie knows exactly what, ahem, "fudge" means, but considering he's only imitating his father, one could say he should get off the hook. [[spoiler: Which he does after beating up Farkus, during which time he was swearing profusely.]] Inverted with Schwartz; in no way is his swearing innocent. The third word out of his mouth is a swear word, for goodness' sakes.
* InstantSoprano: The Old Man, after his Christmas gift (a bowling ball) is unceremoniously dumped onto his tender bits.
* IntentionalEngrishForFunny: The singers at the Chinese restaurant clearly have very little skill with English phonetics.
* IrisOut
* ItsPronouncedTropay: Inverted when Dad reads the outside of the crate containing his newly-arrived Major Award.
--> '''Dad:''' Ah. "Fra-gee-lay"...that must be Italian.
--> '''Mom:''' I think that says "fragile", honey.
* ItsTheBestWhateverEver: In narration, Ralphie declares that the leg lamp "was, indeed, a lamp", and refers to it as "the soft glow of electric sex". Mr. Parker can't stop raving about the lamp himself.
* {{Jerkass}}: Farkus, big time.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: The Old Man.
* LargeHam: Again, the Old Man.
** '''NADDAFINGA!!'''
** '''SHADDAP''' RALPHIE!
** DON'T A-NY-BO-DY MOVE! HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! A '''FUSE''' IS '''OUT'''.
** SONSABITCHES!! '''BUMPUSES!!!!'''
** YOUUU USED UP ALL THE GLUUUUE ON '''PURPOSE!!''' has to be Darren's HAMMIEST line. Just look at his face when he says it!
** [[TheBully Farkus]] with his EvilLaugh.
** ''Everybody'' during Ralphie's fantasy daydreams. Ms. Shields is a particular standout ("A Plus-Plus-Plus-Plus...!"), as are the parents' [[TearsOfRemorse reactions]] to "Soap poisoning".
* {{Leitmotif}}: The Bumpus Hounds, with "Chicken Reel" of all things.
** And Scut Farkus with the Wolf's theme from ''PeterAndTheWolf''. (Interesting side note: "Farkus" comes from the Hungarian word for wolf.)
** Ralphie's ImagineSpot of rescuing his family from Black Bart finds him accompanied by "On the Trail" from Grofé's ''Grand Canyon Suite''.
* LemonyNarrator
* MallSanta: Technically, a pre-mall department store Santa, on a mountain-size display that would take up ''gargantuan'' amounts of warehouse space 11 months a year.
* MoeGreeneSpecial: The reason everyone's afraid to buy Ralphie the BB gun he wants.
* MrImagination: Ralphie.
* MyBelovedSmother: Ralphie's mother at times, particularly in regards to his little brother.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: After having his mouth washed out with soap, Ralphie has a daydream where he's blinded from soap poisoning. When he reveals the cause of his blindness to his parents, they amply [[TearsOfRemorse break down and cry]].
-->'''The Old Man:''' I told you not to use Lifebuoy!
* MyLittlePanzer: "You'll shoot your eye out!"; although, at [[TheEighties the time the movie was made]], ''Boys' Life'' magazine was ''still'' running ads for BB guns in every issue.
* MyNewGiftIsLame:
** Ralphie receives a pink bunny suit from his aunt for Christmas.
** Ralph and Randy also don't care for socks.
* {{Narm}}: Done intentionally during Ralphie's imagination sequences. [[invoked]]
* NiceCharacterMeanActor: The mall Santa is a cynical guy who's purely in it for the money and is planning to leave the second his agreed shift is over. The elves are even worse, being openly mean to the kids.
* NoCommunitiesWereHarmed: The film (and the book it's derived from) is set in Hohman, Indiana, which is a slightly disguised version of Jean Shepherd's real-life hometown, Hammond, Indiana[[note]]For one thing, there's a street in Hammond called Hohman Avenue[[/note]].
* NoHoldsBarredBeatdown: Ralphie delivers a ''brutal'' one to Farkus.
* NoodleImplements: Admittedly minor, but it's a "Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a '''thing that tells time'''". What kind of ''thing''? Is it a clock or a sundial?
* NoPeripheralVision: When the teacher asks where Flick is after he stuck his tongue to the pole. The camera shot over her shoulder reveals that Flick was right there, out the window, right within her range of vision.
* NostalgicNarrator: Voiced by Jean Shepherd himself.
* PekingDuckChristmas: After the neighbors' dogs eat Mrs. Parker's turkey, Mr. Parker takes them to a Chinese restaurant, where they eat Peking Duck (though Ralphie calls it "Chinese Turkey") and sing carols with the owners.
* PhraseCatcher: Everybody all together now, '''[[color:red: "YOU'LL]] [[color:green: SHOOT]] [[color:red: YOUR]] [[color:green: EYE]] [[color:red: OUT]] [[color:green: !!!"]]'''
* PrecisionFStrike: Oh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge. (Aversion/Lampshading, see "ClusterFBomb" above.)
** "Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a ''bitch''!"
* ProductPlacement: A ShowWithinAShow example with the decoded message. "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine." In RealLife, the ''ComicStrip/LittleOrphanAnnie'' radio show [[TruthInTelevision DID have sponsors for Ovaltine on its show,]] and yes, they sent out decoder rings, but the secret messages weren't Ovaltine commercials. Peter Billingsley was already famous for being the spokesperson for Ovaltine's competitor, Hershey's Chocolate Syrup (his commercials even call Ovaltine out). So this was also a bit of a meta-joke.
* RedRightHand: Farkus's yellow eyes; Grover Dill's green teeth.
* RedheadedBully: Scut Farkus is one of the most well known examples.
* RuleOfThree: Two kids put small gifts on the teachers desk....followed by Ralphie bringing in a giant fruit basket, accompanied by a brief bit of Hawaiian steel guitar in the incidental music.
* RunningGag: In the stage show:
** "What's for dinner?" "Lettuce and red cabbage."
** "That's my sore arm!"
** And of course, in both versions, "YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!"
** In the film, the kids getting chased by Scut and Grover to and from school, with Randy lagging behind both groups.
*** Almost always in fast-motion, with Randy's voice, sped-up, "Aw, c'mon guys! Wait up!"
* SycophanticServant: Grover Dill is an embryonic, non-supernatural example.
* SafetyWorst: Ralphie's mom overdresses his little brother to the point that he can't move his arms, just to protect him from catching a cold.
* SeriousBusiness:
** When Schwartz issues a "double dog dare", then skips the "triple dare" and goes straight to the "triple dog dare", to make Flick stick his tongue to a frozen pole.
** Ralphie decoding Annie's secret message, and really his whole obsession with the [[NumberOneDime Red Ryder BB gun]].
* ShotInTheAss: In Ralphie's ImagineSpot about driving off a gang of robbers with his BB gun, he shoots one trying to escape right in the ass.
* ShoutOut:
** Or possibly TakeThat, to ''ComicStrip/LittleOrphanAnnie'' among others.
** ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' pops up from time to time, understandable considering the time period the film is set in as well as the fact [[MetroGoldwynMayer MGM]] is responsible for both films.
** ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'' also appears in the window display, as it was released a year before ''Wizard of Oz''.
* SoapPunishment: Happens to Ralphie frequently enough that he has become "quite a connoisseur of soap".
* SpitTake: Mrs. Parker tries the Lifebuoy soap, and realizes that she really doesn't like it.
* StopBeingStereotypical: The manager of the Chinese restaurant is fairly embarrassed and annoyed when his employees try to sing Christmas Carols and [[JapaneseRanguage have a little trouble with the "Ls"]].
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: See PhraseCatcher above.
* StupidStatementDanceMix: TBS made a set of these using clips of the film's most popular scenes, and uses them during their perennial marathon.
* {{Taps}}: Ralphie's Old Man buries the broken lamp in the back yard. Ralphie couldn't be sure, but he thought he heard Taps playing.
* TearsOfRemorse: See MyGodWhatHaveIDone.
* TheRemake: While not a direct remake, several elements of the film were reused from Jean Shepherd's previous made-for-TV films about Ralphie Parker. 1976's "Phantom of the Open Hearth" includes a lengthy subplot about the Old Man's leg lamp, which was largely repeated (with only small alterations) for this film. Likewise, that film sees one of the Old Man's buddies being abandoned by his friends in the midst of a bad situation - a subtle inspiration for Flick's tongue/pole saga. The 1982 follow-up film, "The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters" sees the first on-screen usage of 'You'll shoot your eye out' when Randy wants fireworks. Allegedly, an almost entirely unknown and never aired telefilm produced in 1978 for ABC contains many elements later used in this film, including the birth of "Ohhhhh, fudge" (albeit spoken by Randy).
** More of "Phantom of the Open Hearth", specifically Mom's gravy boat catastrophe, ended up in the 1994 theatrical sequel "My Summer Story."
* TongueOnTheFlagpole: One of the most famous examples.
* TWordEuphemism: "It was ''the'' word! The big one! The queen mother of dirty words! The "F [[SymbolSwearing dash dash dash]]" word!
* {{Undercrank}}: In the ImagineSpot with Ralphie shooting the bad guys, they are in fast-motion. Also, the scene where Ralphie turns in his paper begins and ends with fast-motion scenes of the boys running to and from school, complete with chipmunk voices.
* UnfortunateNames: With a name like "Scut Farkus", ''you'' might have become a bully, too.
* UnnamedParent: Neither of Ralphie's parents are named; they're referred to as "my mother" and "my old man" throughout.
* UnstoppableRage: Ralphie flies into one when he finally snaps at Farkus.
* WhoNamesTheirKidDude: "What kind of parents would name their kid 'Scut?' Still, I had to admit, the name suited him." Also, unless it's a nickname, which is not made clear, what parent names a kid "Flick?" If there were any way to make your child an instant ButtMonkey...
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