YMMV: A Christmas Story


  • Adaptation Displacement: Jean Shepherd left behind a vast body of other work about his childhood, but only diehard fans are even aware of it, or of his long career as a radio personality.
    • Not to mention, it's almost completely ignored (most notably in the DVD commentary) that A Christmas Story is but the THIRD screen adaptation from the Ralphie Parker stories, following the made-for-TV movies The Phantom of the Open Hearth (1976) and The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (1982), both of which had elements filtered into this film. Shepherd would bring Ralphie to the screen three more times, in the TV movies The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski (1985) and Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss (1988) and the theatrical It Runs in the Family (1994), though his death mercifully prevented any involvement in the almost completely hated A Christmas Story 2.
  • Cult Classic: It has a strong cult following for its great humor and is viewed as a Christmas classic.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: What do you remember and love most about this film? The leg lamp? The bunny suit? The tongue on the flagpole? Nope, you probably remember the delightfully Large Ham that is the Old Man.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: A Christmas Story 2 gets this treatment from virtually everyone.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Bob Clark was also the director of the original Black Christmas (1974).
    • The top battling subplot in one of the sequels is oddly reminiscent of Beyblade.
    • The "Soap poisoning" scene is already hilarious, but it's even more so if you're familiar with Modern Warfare.
  • It Gets Better: First ten minutes are forgettable and pretty slow, with long gaps in the narration and very long shots of toys and kids pressing their noses against windows.
  • Memetic Mutation: "You'll shoot your eye out!", "FRAH-GEE-LEY. Must be Italian.", "Drink More Ovaltine", "I triple dog dare you!", etc.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Jeff Gillen as the department store Santa Claus. "HOOOO HOOOO HOOOOOOO!"
  • Opinion Myopia: If you didn't grow up with this movie, and even remotely imply you don't like it, expect 1.) the fan's heads to explode at the mere thought of someone not adoring this classic, and 2.) rip you to shreds for it.
  • Sequelitis: The 2012 DTV sequel has been widely panned.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: If someone brings up Ovaltine nowadays, it will most likely be because they remembered it from this movie.
  • Values Dissonance: Christmas dinner at the Chinese restaurant... let's just say this scene hasn't exactly aged well.
    • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It is set in the 1940s, after all.
    • Despite the scene being considered racist, some Chinese restaurants actually do act the scene out as a gag to customers during the season.
    • A nine-year-old having a toy gun that is both realistic looking and a functional (if ineffective) weapon is practically unheard of in an age of school shootings, although toy guns have been controversial for decades. The alleged inspiration for the original story was an encounter with a woman wearing an anti-toy gun pin in the early 1960s.
    • When Ralphie blames Schwartz for a swear word he said, we listen to Schwartz' mother scream at the top of her lungs and begin beating her son over the phone, while he pleadfully yells "What'd I do?!?" Even Ralphie's mother looks horrified listening to it, but she simply hangs up the phone.
    • For that matter, these days, most families wouldn't wash a kid's mouth out with soap for saying a swear word anyway, partially because soap poisoning really is a possibility, depending on the kind of soap. In most families, that would probably get you either a stern talking-to, or, in a more laid-back family, you'd get let off with a warning since Ralphie let the word slip out by mistake when he was frustrated.
  • The Woobie: Poor Flick.