Follow TV Tropes


Film / Home Alone

Go To
"This is my house. I have to defend it!"

"Yesterday, he was just a kid. But tonight, he's a home security system."
Don LaFontaine, trailer for Home Alone

Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas family crime comedy film. It was directed by Chris Columbus, written and produced by John Hughes, and has a soundtrack composed by John Williams.

Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is an eight-year-old boy from Winnetka, Illinois, an affluent suburb of Chicago. He's a normal, active kid, though he sometimes feels like his family notices him only when he's underfoot or in the way.

During the Christmas holidays, Kevin's extended family comes to stay overnight with his already-large immediate family to prepare for their vacation to France (where more of their relatives are temporarily living). Kevin causes trouble during dinner, pushing his oldest brother, Buzz (Devin Ratray), in anger for eating his cheese pizza. As punishment, Kevin is forced into the attic where he was intended to sleep with his bed-wetting cousin, Fuller (Kieran Culkin). Before he goes, he angrily tells his mother Kate (Catherine O'Hara) that he never wants to see her or anyone else in the family again.

The next day, the family oversleeps due to a power outage, and they hurry to the airport to catch their flight to France, accidentally leaving Kevin behind. He wakes to find that he has the house to himself. After a brief moment of panic, he exults in his new freedom, gorging on junk food and watching violent movies. However, a pair of burglars named Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), the self-proclaimed "Wet Bandits" (after the fact that Marv likes to flood the houses they rob), are planning to rob the place while the family is away.

The rest of the film is about the efforts of the robbers to sack the house, the efforts of Kevin to foil them (notably through the use of booby traps), Kevin befriending an elderly neighbor rumored to be a serial killer named Marley (Roberts Blossom) along the way, and Kate frantically trying to get back home after she and his father Peter (John Heard) realize mid-flight that they are short one kid.

The film's success led to a sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, marking the beginning of a film series. However, only said sequel and Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House retained the same main cast as this one (the latter also has completely different actors, due to most of them being of course too old by the time it began production). All the other sequels would have different characters and actors.

Several tie-in video games of the film were released in 1991 and 1992 for the NES, SNES, Game Boy, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Amiga, and MS-DOS.

Culkin unofficially reprised the role of Kevin McCallister in 2015 for the the webseries :DRYVRS (the episode "Just Me In The House By Myself" in particular), then reprised it more blatantly for a Google Assistant commercial for Christmas 2018. Both saw immense popularity on the Internet.

I made my trope list disappear.

    open/close all folders 

  • 1-Dimensional Thinking: There is no justification whatsoever for Harry to insist on climbing the icy stairs instead of going around.
  • 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: Little Nero's has a twenty-minute guarantee. The delivery boy Drives Like Crazy to fulfill this, especially the first time, as he's delivering $100 worth of pizza.
  • Accidental Theft: Kevin goes to buy a toothbrush at the pharmacy. While there he runs into old man Marley. Kevin backs away in fear, then runs away while still holding the toothbrush, leading to one of the employees calling him a shoplifter. It's never indicated or shown if this ever gets resolved.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Harry and Marv's van says "Oh-Kay Plumbing and Heating", an allusion to Joe Pesci's character, Leo Getz, in the Lethal Weapon sequels, whose favorite catchphrase is "Okay, okay!"
    • Old Man Marley, played by Roberts Blossom, is rumored to be a serial killer. Blossom's most notable role prior to this film was the lead role in Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile as a fictionalized version of serial killer Ed Gein.
  • Agony of the Feet: Marv stepping on the nail, and then stepping in glass ornaments not long afterward.
  • All There in the Manual: According to the novelization:
    • Peter is a successful businessman and Kate is a fashion designer, explaining how the family could afford the trip to Paris as well as the presence of the mannequins and sewing machines Kevin uses to thwart the Wet bandits.
    • Buzz's spider is named Axl.
    • Old Man Marley's bandaged hand at the store? He tells Kevin he cut it on his shovel.
  • And You Thought It Was Real: Kevin tricks both a pizza delivery boy and the Wet Bandits into believing that they overheard a murder by playing the soundtrack of a violent gangster movie.
  • Ankle Drag: Marv manages to grab Kevin by his ankle until the latter places a tarantula on his forehead.
  • Answer Cut: After the McCallisters board the plane, Kate says "I hope we didn't forget anything." Cut to Kevin opening the door from the third floor.
  • Aside Glance:
    • "This is it. Don't get scared now."
    • "I made my family disappear!" (eyebrow waggle)
    • Also gives a straight-ahead one of exasperation when his grocery bags split open on the walk home.
    • There are two scenes in the movie where Kevin runs directly towards the camera and screams into it. The first is when running around the house screaming for joy at being free. The second is after confronting Old Man Marley when he claimed he wouldn't be afraid anymore.
    • The driver of the airport van when Mitch Murphy from across the street bothers him with questions.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: As Harry and Marv sidle their way across the rope towards Kevin's treehouse, Kevin holds out a pair of clippers to cut the rope. In reaction, the duo tries to sidle back, but Kevin cuts the rope, swinging the rope away and slamming the two into the wall.
  • Audible Gleam: Made by Harry's gold tooth Twinkle Smile. Also present in the Game Boy game; Harry's tooth twinkles on the game over screen.
  • Badass Boast: Attempted by Kevin when he shouts "I'm not afraid anymore" (after coming out from hiding under the bed when he first is aware of the Wet Bandits). Subverted afterwards when he sees Old Man Marley shortly afterward.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Kevin tells the "Santa" he meets that he knows he's not actually Santa and that he's old enough to know how it works. He then says he knows that the actor actually works for the real Santa, which the actor goes along with.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: Played With when Kevin tricks Harry and Marv into thinking they've overheard a violent murder in progress when in reality it's a gangster-movie soundtrack and a packet of firecrackers to amp up the noise. Bear in mind, Kevin uses the same "gangster-gunfire-turned-all-the-way-up" trick to fool the pizza delivery boy earlier.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Harry poses as a police officer to find out when the McCallisters will be away and what home security measures they have.
  • Be Careful What You Say: Megan is feeling regretful that she called Kevin helpless when he's at home on his own, and he's the youngest.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Old Man Marley takes his snow shovel to the back of the Bandits' heads when they have Kevin hung up on a coat hook.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Kevin to Jeff after he's been told to go upstairs for spilling milk over the passports, and Jeff calls him a disease.
  • Bland-Name Product: The McCallisters have pizza delivered from "Little Nero's" instead of Little Caesar's. This actually had a brief Red Stapler moment when, on November 6, 2015, UberEATS ran a promotion allowing fans to order pizza from local restaurants but delivered them in Little Nero's boxes by drivers wearing Little Nero's hats.
  • Boom, Headshot!: One of Kevin's methods of dispatching the Wet Bandits involved him shooting Marv in the forehead with a B.B. gun when he poked his head through the doggie door. Unsurprisingly, the best it did was leave a stinging sensation on his forehead rather than killing or even injuring him.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Kevin's father tells Kevin that "If he needs something to do, he should pick up his Micro Machines, mentioning that his aunt almost slipped on them near the beginning of the movie. Much later, Harry and Marv slip on those same Micro Machines.
    • When Kevin wakes up and finds himself alone in the house, he runs outside and sees the garage open with his family's car still inside. Later on, when Peter and Kate are trying to figure out what they forgot to do in their haste to leave, Peter realizes he forgot to close the garage.
    • Kevin climbs up his brother Buzz's storage shelves, which collapse under his weight, thereby destroying his brother's room and releasing his pet tarantula, Axl, who turns up later at an opportune moment to scare Marv (almost to death) during the climax. He then goes grocery shopping with Buzz's life savings and the movie goes on as planned. At the end of the movie, all seems right until the very end of the movie when after the family has come home, Buzz yells "KEVIN!! WHAT DID YOU DO TO MY ROOM?!"
    • Kevin rhetorically asks his father if he burned down the house after using the glue gun to make ornaments. When the family returns from Paris, Buzz praises Kevin for not burning the house down.
    • Harry chews out Marv when the latter floods another house, who counters that, as the "Wet Bandits," they need a Calling Card. In the climax, the Wet Bandits are arrested, and the police tell them they know which houses they robbed due to the floods, with the strong implication of serving a lengthy prison sentence.
    • When Harry gets hit in the face with a paint can, his gold tooth is knocked out. Kevin's dad, Peter later finds it on the floor, and is understandably confused about it.
    • Marv tells Harry there could be toys worth stealing in Kevin's house. In the first house they rob later on, Harry plays with a remote-controlled car.
  • Bond One-Liner: "Keep the change, ya filthy animal."
  • Broken Aesop: Old Man Marley. It's supposed to be a "Don't believe everything you hear" aesop, but if an old guy with a notorious reputation just stared at you sinisterly without saying a word, you'd be creeped out, too. Let alone if you were an 8-year-old who was by himself.
  • Call-Back: Harry demonstrates knowledge about the holiday light timers on all the houses on the McCallisters' street; he's not afraid of them. On the night Harry and Marv seek to rob Kevin's house, Kevin hurries home to ready his battle plan. The camera catches all of the holiday lights on Kevin's street turning on. It's a warning to the audience that Harry and Marv will be arriving shortly.
  • Calling Card: The Wet Bandits (or rather, Marv, as Harry expresses irritation that Marv would actually resort to such a thing like that) often flood the houses they robbed. This bites them in the butt later in the film when they are arrested for attempted robbery and the cops tell them that thanks to the floods, they know all the robberies they were responsible for which will result in a longer prison sentence.
  • The Cameo: Several members of director Chris Columbus' family appear: his mother-in-law and his then-infant daughter Eleanor Columbus are both passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus is a flight attendant, and his father-in-law plays the police officer who gives the line "Tell them to count their kids again."
  • Cardboard Pal: Kevin uses several tricks, one of them a cardboard cutout of Michael Jordan, to fool the bandits into thinking the house is occupied and having a party.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • The ending shows Kevin happy to be with his family and forgiving his mom for what she had done. This video shows an adult Kevin (played by Macauley Culkin) is actually traumatized from being left by himself for a week at age 8 and having to defend himself against psychopathic home invaders. He also ignores his mom's calls due to a grudge against her for supposedly not caring about him and having become a groupie with a traveling polka band rather than try and save him (he apparently never heard the whole story mind you). He also seems to have pretty much become a sociopath as a result.
    • Daniel Stern made a video in response where it's implied that Kevin has hunted down Marv and done something very unpleasant to him.
  • Chaos of the Bells: A choir-sung "Carol of the Bells" transitions into the John Williams composition "Setting the Traps" — which is heavily influenced by the aforementioned carol — as Kevin McCallister booby-traps his house in preparation for the villains' arrival.
  • Character Development: In the beginning, Kevin is established to be rather sheltered and pampered at times, such as when he asked if anybody could help pack his suitcase, and is legitimately appalled at the idea of packing his own suitcase. But during his ordeals throughout the movie, he learns to be independent and self-reliant. Towards the end, he even surprises his own family when he tells him he bought groceries all by himself.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The gangster movie that Kevin watches. He first uses it in order to fool and scare away the pizza delivery boy. He later uses it again to scare off the Wet Bandits.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • You just knew that Axl crawling around through the entire movie is going to save Kevin's hide in the end...
    • The Angels with Filthy Souls movie.
    • The firecrackers from Buzz's room.
      Kevin: Cool, firecrackers! I'll save these for later.
    • A literal one. Buzz's BB gun.
    • In the first basement scene you can see some mannequins before we see the furnace. The ones that Kevin later uses to fool Harry and Marv into thinking the rest of the family have come home after he first encounters them. The Michael Jordan poster from Buzz's room fulfills the same purpose.
    • The laundry chute. Kevin shoots sports figurines down it early on, then it's used for the iron trap.
    • Peter telling Kevin to pick up his micro machines because his Aunt Leslie stepped on one and almost broke her neck. These come back later.
    • The morning flight home from Paris. Kate doesn't want to wait for it, but in the end, the rest of the family used it to get home.
    • The Murphy house. Harry and Marv break into it, and it's where they almost run Kevin down with their van shortly after. Finally, Kevin leads Harry and Marv there at the end and it's where they are arrested.
    • Old Man Marley's snow shovel.
    • Averted when Peter warns Kevin to stop making ornaments out of fishhooks with his glue gun. It seems like the setup for a boobytrap, but the fishhooks are never used, and the glue gun is only used for easily the mildest booby trap in the series (the fan blasting feathers onto Harry). This scene does serve as an Establishing Character Moment, however, as it shows Kevin as being resourceful and capable of using tools.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • Harry is introduced as a policeman who checks if the family has taken precautions against burglary. He is later revealed to be a burglar.
    • Old Man Marley.
  • Cherubic Choir: The scene inside the church features a children's choir singing. One of the singers is Marley's granddaughter.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Peter's message to the Murphys asking them to check on Kevin just happens to be taken by the answering machine at the exact time the Wet Bandits are robbing the house, confirming for them that Kevin is all alone.
  • Closest Thing We Got: An example that's funny and nice at the same time. Santa gives Kevin some Tic-Tacs since he's all out of candy canes, but he still says "Everyone who sees Santa should get a little something."
  • Collective Death Glare: After Kevin gets into a fight with his older brother Buzz, during which Buzz throws up and a bottle of Pepsi gets spilled on the table, nearly ruining the passports, the entire family glares at Kevin, with his mother Kate saying, "What is the matter with you?" and his uncle Frank saying, "Look what you did, you little jerk!"
  • Color Motif: To promote a stronger Christmas feel, red and green are major reoccurring colors throughout the movie, appearing quite conspicuously in almost every scene. This includes furniture, clothing, food containers, and all wallpaper.
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are:
    • When Kevin first wakes up to the empty house, he walks through the house calling for his parents, siblings, cousins, and Uncle Frank before getting scared out of the basement.
    • When Kevin is going through Buzz's things: "Buzz, I'm going through all your private stuff. You'd better come out and pound me."
    • When Kevin is watching Angels With Filthy Souls: "Guys, I'm eating junk and watching rubbish. You'd better come out and stop me."
    • Marv and Harry: "We know that you're in there and that you're all alone..."
    • When Harry comes into the house: "Where are you you little creep?!"
  • Comically Missing the Point: Kevin looks at Buzz's Playboy collection and declares: "No clothes on anyone. Sickening!" Justified as he's only eight years old.
  • Confiscated Phone: The family, in a panic, forces a woman at an airport off the phone.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: The doorknob is hot enough to glow red, but Harry doesn't feel the heat that should come off it before he touches it.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Old Man Marley and his shovel.
  • Counting to Potato:
    • When Heather is counting off the family (with neighbor Mitch Murphy unwittingly standing in for Kevin), Buzz attempts to trip up her count by shouting: "Eleven, Ninety-two, twelve."
    • In Angels With Filthy Souls, Johnny counts off one, two, ten before pumping Snakes's guts full of lead.
    • As the McCallister family members wonder about Kevin from Paris, Megan asks Buzz if he's not the least bit concerned about his well being, or something bad happening to him.
      Buzz: No, for three reasons: A) I'm not that lucky. 2) We have smoke detectors. And D) We live on the most boring street in the United States of America, where nothing remotely dangerous will ever happen, period.
  • Creepy Basement: Contains the furnace that is scary for Kevin. Subverted later on in the movie, where Kevin rigs up with traps that Marv must get through—icy stairs in from the outside, and tar-coated steps with an upward nail leading out on the inside.
  • Creepy Uncle: A deleted scene revealed Frank to be (possibly) one of these, as he gets enjoyment out of pulling Kevin's pants down. Which would be ironic, since in the sequel he accuses Kevin of being an inversion of this, calling him a "nosy little pervert" for recording him singing in the shower.
  • Crosscast Role: The picture that Kevin finds of Buzz's girlfriend is actually a picture of a boy (the art director's son) in a wig—director Chris Columbus thought it would be too mean to use a picture of an actual girl.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Double-subverted with Old Man Marley. He dresses in dark clothing for much of the film and is rumoured to have murdered his family years before, but it turns out the rumours about him are not true and he's not on speaking terms with his family because of an argument he had with his son.
  • Death Course: The villains are forced to cross one, designed by the protagonist. Amazingly, they make it through them with only superficial wounds.
  • Death Glare:
    • On the first night, Fuller takes a gulp of Pepsi and looks gleefully at Kevin. Kevin gives him one, knowing that now Fuller will wet the bed and he will have to sleep in it.
    • Shortly after that, Kevin gets one from everyone else for him bum-rushing Buzz and causing milk to be spilled over the passports.
    • Peter gives one to Frank on the plane after the latter gives a half-assed attempt at comforting Kate when she realizes they forgot Kevin.
    • What Kevin thinks Old Man Marley is giving him before Marley tells Kevin about the falling out with his son years ago.
  • Deathly Dies Irae: Can be heard during the first three times we see Mr. Marley. Later subverted, when it gets replaced with Carol of the Bells, which starts with the same four notes, but in a different rhythm, after Kevin learns Old Man Marley isn't so bad
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Linnie uses French phrases to sound intelligent, but she comes off as pathetic. Linnie's actual mistake is using the plural form instead of the singular when referring to Kevin. She should have called him "l'incompétent".
  • Denied Food as Punishment: Kevin gets angry at Buzz and shoves him into some drinks which spill over, creating a mess in the kitchen. Chaos thus ensues among the family, and everyone directs their anger towards Kevin. As a result, Kate makes him sleep in the attic (Kevin is scared of the attic) without dinner.
  • Description Cut: While Kevin's siblings show concern for Kevin's well-being, Buzz thinks he'll be alright, claiming that nothing remotely dangerous happens on their street. Cut to the pizza delivery guy's car hitting the statue in front of the house.
  • Disapproving Look: Uncle Frank tries to console Kate after she realizes that they left Kevin behind by comparing that to him forgetting his reading glasses, earning a scowl from his wife, Leslie.
  • Disorganized Outline Speech:
    Megan: You're not at all worried that something might happen to Kevin?
    Buzz: No, for three reasons: A, I'm not that lucky. Two, we have smoke detectors and D, we live on the most boring street in the United States of America, where nothing even remotely dangerous will ever happen. Period!
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Child: When Kate laments that she's a bad mother to the leader of the polka band, he answers that she's surrounded by bad fathers, citing that one of them forgets the names of his children half the time.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: One of the policemen that Kate calls is busy eating a donut while she tries to explain the situation.
  • Door Slam of Rage: Harry does this near the end when, after getting his head burned by the blowtorch, he rushes back through the back door, slams it behind him and yells, “Where are you, you little creep?!”
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Kate places a request for the local police department send a squad car to her home to check in on Kevin. Kevin, thinking from the heavy pounding at his door and the lack of an announcement that Old Man Marley is pursuing him, stays hidden, leading to the cop blowing the whole thing off as a prank.
    • Earlier, there's the scene on the plane where Kate can't shake the feeling they forgot about something when leaving the house, so she and Peter go over the various possibilities (such as closing the garage doors, which Peter did forget to do). It's only at the very end of the scene that Kate realizes they forgot Kevin.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: The movie depended on this trope as a setup. Not that this would be terribly unrealistic for Christmas in Chicago, a city known for its occasional blizzards (although actual white Christmases are bit hit-and-miss).
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Little Nero's delivery guy, because he only has 20 minutes to fulfill each order or else it's free. He also does this after Kevin plays Angels With Filthy Souls to when receiving the delivery while by himself.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: When Kevin's parents realize they left him behind, Uncle Frank attempts to cheer them up by telling them he forgot his reading glasses. His wife and Kevin's parents then give him this reaction.

  • Easter Bunny: An actor playing Santa Claus gets served with a parking ticket on Christmas Eve. "What's next?" he grouses. "Rabies shots for the Easter bunny?"
  • Eiffel Tower Effect:
    • In the scene where Peter tries to call home from his brother's house in Paris, the Eiffel Tower is visible right outside the window.
    • Just before the trope namer, two other famous Parisian monuments got their shots: the Arc de Triomphe, and the Sacré-cœur basilisk. To some extent, the entrance of the Roissy airport, the main airport in France, can count.
  • Enemy Eats Your Lunch: On the first night, Buzz eats the cheese pizza the family had ordered for Kevin (since Kevin hates olives and sausage), and not only does he get away with it, but for losing his temper and bum-rushing Buzz, Kevin is sent to the third floor and doesn't get anything to replace his pizza. No wonder he thought everyone in the family hated him.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Even Uncle Frank is at least responsible enough to not let his eight-year-old nephew watch a violent gangster movie.
    Kevin: It's not even rated R. He's just being a jerk.
    Kate: Kevin, if Uncle Frank says no, then it must be really bad.
  • Evil Laugh: When doing laundry, Kevin seems to hear one coming from the furnace.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Kevin opens the window at the right moment to overhear the baddies outside talking about their plan to rob the house and the time they intend to start. Doubles as Acoustic License for the fact that Kevin is able to understand the burglars from quite a distance away.
  • Exact Words: Defied by Kate.
    Kate: Get upstairs.
    Kevin: I am upstairs, dummy!
    (Kate opens a door, revealing stairs to the third floor)
  • Expy:
  • Face Your Fears: Kevin has to face his fear of his basement furnace. He manages to overcome this fear, and incorporates the basement into his battle with Harry and Marv at the end of the movie.
  • Fearsome Foot: When Kevin is in the pharmacy, there is a lingering shot of Old Man Marley's snow boots as he enters, as well as when he comes up behind Kevin (Kevin still thinks he is a Serial Killer at this point).
  • Fingore: Harry attempts this on Kevin as payback for the many injuries from Kevin's traps, before Marley knocks him out cold.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: As Kevin climbs up Buzz's shelves to reach the baseball tin, the second shelf creaks when Kevin steps on it. Ten seconds later, just as Kevin reaches the baseball tin, all the shelves come crashing down.
  • Floating Advice Reminder: Played Straight when Kevin at first reacts with anxiety when he believes that "I made my family disappear!" But then a series of floating heads of various family members remind him that they had said hurtful things to him the night before (including a fake one of Buzz threatening to feed him to his tarantula) - and he repeats, with a broad smile, "I made my family disappear!"
  • Fooled by the Sound: Kevin plays gangster movie clips, or recordings of his jerkass uncle, to scare away intruders. He even manages to hold a dialogue with a pizza delivery guy, by picking out the right lines from the gangster clips.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Kevin's fit about living alone when he grows up. He will be living alone for the next few days thanks to the power outage.
    • Kevin's brother Jeff throws his bag down the stairs and just barely avoids hitting Harry standing at the front door. The next time something comes down the stairs to meet him, he isn't so lucky.
    • Viewers familiar with the Chicago area will notice that the uniform worn by the police officer visiting the McCallisters has several inconsistencies with the ones actually worn by the local police. Turns out the uniform was just a disguise.
    • When Old Man Marley is first seen, Buzz tells Kevin and Rod that he murdered his family, which is why they're no longer around. As it turns out, he's not on good terms with his family because of an argument he had with his son years before.
    • In Paris, Peter says the only thing they have is a booking for the whole family on Friday's morning flight. Kate doesn't want to wait for it. However, at the end it's revealed this is how everyone else managed to get home.
    • Marv suggesting they could steal toys from the McCallister house. In the second film, the two set up a plan to rob Duncan's Toy Chest.
    • In the beginning, Peter tells Kevin to pick up his micro machines because Aunt Leslie almost broke her neck stepping on one. Later on, Kevin uses his micro machines as one of the traps.
  • For Want Of A Nail: All the events of the movie can be traced back to Buzz playing a prank on Kevin (by eating his pizza), which results in Kevin being sent to sleep in the attic and being forgotten the next morning.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Peter is blotting up spilled milk, Kevin's plane ticket can be seen in the wet napkins he throws in the trash bin.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: Buzz McCallister has a tarantula (Grammostola rosea) as a pet, which gets released after Kevin is left home alone. This is eventually used as one of Kevin's Improvised Weapons against the Wet Bandits. In fact it could be argued that the spider, like the cellar was part of Kevin's childhood fears which he had to overcome in order to rely on himself more and protect his home. And what better overcoming is there other than using the once source of mortal terror into a weapon of defense against the real enemies? In the end, the tarantula does not receive damage and it was found by Buzz when he came back home with the rest of his family (or at least is implied).
  • Frozen Dinner of Loneliness: Kevin's meal before he enacts his plan to defend his house against the robbers is a plate of frozen macaroni and cheese. He treats it as a fancy meal, to show that he's, well, home alone and doesn't know anything more complex.
  • Genre Blindness: Harry and Marv—who, under the assumption that This Is Reality, assume that "Kids are stupid."
  • Gonk: Kevin recoils at a photo of older brother Buzz's girlfriend. We see the picture too and she is very much this trope. Her "actress" was actually a boy in drag; this way, director Chris Columbus could play up "her" ugliness as much as he wanted without humiliating an actual girl.
  • Gratuitous French: The family (sans Kevin) watching It's a Wonderful Life in French. Justified in-universe by the fact the 1990s French analog television would obviously only broadcast the french dub of foreign movies.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Impressed that Kevin went grocery shopping by himself while the rest of the family was in Paris, Peter asks him what else he did while they were gone. Instead of telling them about his experiences with the Wet Bandits and Marley, Kevin tells the family he just hung around the house.
  • Heel Realization: Kate asks "What kind of mother am I?" in movie one, giving a Thousand-Yard Stare. Pete tries to stay calm and reassure her that it wasn't her fault.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: When Kevin wakes up and finds the family missing, after he flashes back to bad things the other family members said about him, he has one of these, consisting of him gleefully saying, "I made my family disappear!", and an eyebrow raise.
  • Heroic Bystander: Gus Polinski, Polka King of the Midwest, plays this role. Upon hearing Kate desperately trying to get back to Chicago, he selflessly offers a place in his band's rented van to her, thus allowing her to make it home. Gus has no idea who Kate is, but he recognizes that she's in distress, and that's enough for him to help.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: When the Wet Bandits are finally caught at the end, the cops are able to identify which houses they robbed since Marv would leave the houses' sinks running as a calling card. Marv is proud of this, while Harry shakes his head. This is also how the Bandits plan to punish Kevin before Old Man Marley intervenes—by putting him through his own traps.
  • The Homeward Journey: Kate goes through great lengths to get back to Chicago to her son, including hitchhiking with a polka band. Subverted in that the rest of the family manages to get back at the same time by waiting for the next available return flight.
  • Hope Spot: Early on, Kevin suddenly turning on all the lights spooked Harry and Marv. They're not entirely sure if anyone's home or not, but they don't want to take any chances, so they quietly backed off. However, they later rob the Murphys' house just as Peter is calling and asking for someone to check on Kevin, making them interested in going back to the house.
  • Hurrying Home for the Holidays: After the family leaves home without Kevin, his mom tries to get home to be with him for the holidays.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Harry and Marv chew out Kevin about road safety after they nearly run over him, but that only happened because they were too distracted arguing with each other to watch where they were going.
  • Idiot Ball: Harry and Marv probably could have gotten away with their crimes a lot longer and avoided a ton of unnecessary physical punishment if they'd simply just left Kevin alone in the first two films.
  • I Wished You Were Dead: "I made my family disappear!"
  • Impersonating an Officer: Harry dresses himself as a policeman to know when the residents of the neighborhood are going to leave for the holiday.
  • Improv: John Candy improvised most of his lines.
  • Improvised Zipline: Kevin uses a bike handle to slide from his window to his treehouse.
  • Innocent Innuendo: While combing his hair after showering, Kevin mentions washing "everywhere between my toes and my belly button, which I never did before but sort of enjoyed".
  • Irony:
    • The Wet Bandits drive around in a plumbing van, and their calling card is to leave their victims' water running.
    • While posing a police officer in order to get information on the McCallisters security systems and when they will be leaving, he claims the reason he's asking is that he's checking to make sure that people are taking proper precautions due to the high rate of burglaries around the holidays, when he in fact is a burglar himself intending to rob the house.
  • It's Personal: After each trap, Harry's malice for Kevin increases, but it reaches its climax when his gold tooth is knocked out. At this point, it's not about stealing valuables anymore but about hunting down Kevin.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Peter has a right to be annoyed with Kevin for using his new fishing tackle to make Christmas ornaments. Besides the obvious — they're brand-new — it's also not safe for a child to use them.
    • At the start, Kevin complains that Uncle Frank won't let him watch the gangster movie with the older children. Considering Kevin is only 8, and the film has at least one violent murder scene (which terrifies Kevin the first time he watches it), Frank did have a point.
  • Just Plane Wrong: There are several plane scenes that are incorrect if you are an aviation expert.
    • American Airlines has no morning flight from Chicago-O'Hare to Paris-Orly. Both American Airlines and United Airlines operate flights from Chicago to Paris, but they all depart in the evening, between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM Central Time (which, due to the fact that the planes are then passing through seven time zones, allows them to land in Paris sometime between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM local time). However, most westbound flights from Europe to the United States tend to leave in the early morning, say before 10:00 AM local time there. Due to the time zone change, they end up landing in Chicago around lunchtime.
    • The plane in the scene of the family's flight departing from O'Hare is a McDonnell-Douglas DC-10-10, which was flown by American Airlines up until the early 1990s. Except that it was only used for domestic flights due to its limited range of 3,500 miles. There was a long range version used for intercontinental flights, the DC-10-30. The difference is that the DC-10-30 had three main landing gear bogies (two four wheel bogies and one middle two-wheel bogie). It is clearly visible during the takeoff scene that this plane only has two sets of rear landing gear, so it is definitely a DC-10-10 which could have never made the trip from Chicago to Paris.
    • The stock footage of Kate's flight out of Paris taking off is of a DC-9, which doesn't have the fuel range to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The plane shown landing at the Scranton Airport is a DC-10. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Airport has never had regular service from a DC-10 by any airline. The largest planes to land at Scranton are Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s. DC-10s are far too large to be accommodated by the airport for non-emergency situations.
  • Karma Houdini: Kevin steals a toothbrush by accident (due to Old Man Marley showing up in the store before Kevin can pay for it) and despite being chased by a police officer, he gets away scot-free after losing the officer and nothing else ever comes of it.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Buzz initially gets away with taunting Kevin over pizza, which causes Kevin to bum rush him afterward. But he later gets his comeuppance in the form of Kevin destroying his room and using his life savings to buy food.
  • Last-Second Joke Problem: Kevin defeats the bad guys, reconciles with his entire extended family, and even helps his neighbor Marley reconcile with his family in the meantime. The moment is suddenly ruined when Buzz shouts, "Kevin! What did you do to my room?!" But we're left to assume that Kevin will be okay in the end.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Kevin when tricking the bandits would previously use illusions to make them think the house is occupied. Then when he finds out they're coming to rob the house anyway, he decides that he must protect it with everything he's got. And does he deliver!
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Kevin was apparently never told the family would be using a van service to get to the airport. When he sees all of the cars are still in the garage, he takes it as evidence that they didn't leave for Paris and their disappearance is a result of his wish.

  • Man-Made House Flood: Deliberately invoked by the Wet Bandits. See Calling Card.
  • Minor Living Alone: Inadvertently. 8-year old Kevin spends several days living by himself and although a cashier is clearly suspicious to see him shopping by himself, it's clearly not enough for her to call CPS or the police. The neighbors are off on vacation too, so they don't notice his presence either.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Kate sends Kevin to the attic for the mess in the kitchen, which was actually caused by Buzz eating Kevin's cheese pizza and taunting him over it.
  • Mistaken from Behind: Mitch Murphy, who bears somewhat of a resemblance to Kevin, has his back turned to Heather when she adds him into the McCallister family headcount.
  • Monochrome Casting: The only non-white character in the movie is a staff member at the airport gate.
  • Mugging the Monster: The climactic burglary scene can qualify.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Kevin asks the "guy who works for Santa" for his family back, and lists them by name. "And, if he has time, my Uncle Frank."
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Kate has one when, still on the plane to Paris, she suddenly realizes they've left Kevin at home. Throughout the movie, she repeatedly beats herself up for being a bad mother. In the novelization, Kate is terrified that, because they had punished Kevin the previous night, he would think that his family had left him home on purpose.
    • Kevin has one after accidentally stealing a toothbrush, after he gets away from the officer chasing him.
    • Old Man Marley admits that he regrets fighting with his son and saying that he didn't want to see him anymore.
  • Never Found the Body: Buzz's story about Old Man Marley being the Shovel Slayer says he wasn't arrested for killing his family because the authorities never found the bodies. Turns out they're just fine and he's always alone because he had an argument with his son years ago.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • In the trailer, when Kevin's buying groceries, he talks to a store manager who's beside a cashier. In the actual movie, it's Kevin and the cashier only. (Fun fact: The man who played the manager later wrote a letter to Roger Ebert, explaining that, even though his scene didn't make the film, his role in the trailer allowed him to join the Screen Actors Guild.)
    • The "Jingle Bells"-themed trailer shows Kate shouting "Pick up!" into a pay phone. Taken out of context, it looks like Kate is calling their house and shouting for Kevin to answer the phone. In the film, she is actually calling the police, asking them to send an officer to check on Kevin. After being put on hold for the second time, she is shouting for somebody at the police station to pick up the phone.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: While Kevin repeating a variation of the same ploy that he used to trick the pizza delivery worker on Marv (playing dialogue from Angels with Filthy Souls while lighting firecrackers during the shooting scene) is enough to frighten Marv into fleeing the premises of the McCallister house, Marv's belief that he was eavesdropping on an actual murder convinces both himself and Harry that they should stick around nearby to see what the murderer looked like in order to deflect any potential police blame on themselves (since they had also been robbing other houses in the vicinity) and potentially turn the actual culprit in for reward money. This leads them to the realization that Kevin is home alone when they observe him outside the house later, causing them to decide targeting the McCallister house is worth the negligible risk of dealing with a little boy (wrong as they turn out to be). Kevin simply playing the part of the scene in which Johnny tells Snakes to "get the hell out of here" and/or using some other strategy that did not involve faking a shootout/murder probably would have been enough to make Marv leave, though in his defense, the ploy did already work once without any negative repercussions and he is only a child.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Marv flooding the houses that he and Harry rob. It later comes back to bite them both when they are arrested.
    Officer: Nice move, leaving the water running. Now we know each and every house that you've hit.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: The first time Kevin encounters Harry and Marv and realizes they are up to no good, he escapes when they pursue him by hiding in front of the neighborhood church—by somehow finding a loose dropcloth and a spare shepherd's crook that let him pose as part of the Nativity scene.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Both Harry and Marv fail to notice the toy cars at the base of the stairs. In Harry's case, this is even despite him glancing down to notice Marv has lost his shoes. A few minutes later, Harry also fails to notice a fairly thick cord stretched across the hallway at calf height.
  • No "Police" Option: The phones are out due to a tree falling in the lines. Pre-cellphones obviously.
  • Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here: Buzz thinks his family lives on "the most boring street in the whole United States of America", so there's no chance of anything dangerous ever happening to Kevin. Of course, Kevin ends up getting attacked by the Wet Bandits.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • When Marley relates to his own family problems after revealing himself to be a Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold, Kevin realizes he and Marley are a lot alike and the consequences of not wanting to see their families again.
    • Kate offers an elderly couple assorted items she has in exchange for a plane ticket and though the wife is interested, the husband isn't. She gets the ticket when she makes an appeal as one mother to another, which convinces the wife to get the husband to relent.
  • Obvious Stunt Double: In the scene where Kevin rope-slides to the treehouse, the stunt double is noticeably older than Macaulay Culkin.
  • "Oh, Crap!" Smile: Marv does this when he sticks his head through the doggy door and finds himself staring into the barrel of a BB gun.
  • The Operators Must Be Crazy: The Chicago police are shockingly lackadaisical when Kevin's mom calls to alert them to his situation.
  • Parting-Words Regret:
    • Kate remembers that the last thing Kevin said to her was that he didn't want to see her or anyone in his family again for the rest of his life. Kevin regrets it after scaring the crooks off with the dinner party display. Kate also regrets that she essentially told Kevin he should ask for another family if he doesn't like this one, and all he does is cause trouble. Kate apologizes to Kevin when she returns and doesn't expect one in return, because causing a dinner fight seems small in hindsight to leaving your child alone for three days.
    • Old Man Marley describes the argument he had with his estranged son years ago after they both lost their tempers and agree they do not wish to see each other anymore. Thankfully Kevin advises Old Man Marley to call him.
  • Pet the Dog: While Kate is unsympathetic to Kevin when she sends him to bed, and says some rather mean things to boot, she does at least listen to him when he says that Fuller will wet the bed and has the latter sleep somewhere else.
  • Plot Hole: A big plot mechanic is that the McCallister phones are down due to a power line accident in the middle of the night, and Kate is told it would take "at least a week" to sort it out. This creates the conflict that the family can't reach Kevin by phone, but Kevin is able to call out to the pizza guy in one scene and the police during the climax. One possible theory is that the phone lines could still work locally but unable to take long-distance calls due to the multiple communication transfers, but this doesn't hold water when remembering that Peter was able to call from Paris and leave a message for their neighbors, the Murphys.
  • Police Are Useless:
    • An officer comes by to check if Kevin is home but fails to announce himself and only scares the child off with his heavy pounding on the door.
    • A heavy-weight police officer chases Kevin for shoplifting but is easily shaken off on a slippery ice track.
    • The burglars have free rein for days to rob the neighborhood until Kevin calls 911.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The scene where Kevin accidentally swipes a toothbrush relies on this. It starts when Marley slams a bleeding hand on the counter while Kevin is searching for money. Kevin backs away slowly with the toothbrush, still uneasy from meeting him the night prior. Marley doesn't say a word and continues to give a confused stare at Kevin. The owner reminds Kevin to pay for the toothbrush which makes him panic and run out of the store with it. Not understanding why he's so scared, she orders an employee to stop Kevin. Said employee yells "Shoplifter!" to a nearby officer who pursues Kevin on foot. Through it all, Marley makes no attempt to clear anything up.
  • Poorly Lit Pareidolia: Kevin envisioning the furnace in the basement as a monster.
  • Porn Stash: Having not yet hit puberty, Kevin has no appreciation for Buzz's collection of Playboys.
    Kevin: No clothes on anybody. Sickening!
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: When the Wet Bandits show up at Kevin's house at nine pm on Christmas Eve, Kevin walks to the back door, cocks the BB gun and says: "This is it. Don't get scared now."
  • Protect This House: "This is my house! I have to defend it!"
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: Kevin tries this on Kate to avoid being sent to the third floor. It doesn't work.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After having the entire evening spent being ignored, insulted and treated with contempt by his family, Kevin finally snaps when Buzz eats what was supposed to be his pizza.
  • Recorded Audio Alibi: Kevin uses the audio from a mobster movie to both trick a pizza boy into leaving the pizza at the door, and scare away Marv when he tries checking out the house again.
  • Red/Green Contrast: The film packs nearly every scene with red and green objects to make the whole movie feel more like Christmas. This doesn't just include the in-story Christmas decorations: even the wallpaper and furniture are often red and green. (In Cinema Wins' video on Home Alone, Lee counts 237 unique red and green objects over the course of the whole film.)
  • Red Is Heroic: Kevin wears a red jumper for much of the film. Additionally, he wears a red scarf in the scenes he is outdoors. On a final note, Kevin wears red pajamas in the near final scene before his mother and, eventually, his family return.
  • Repeat After Me: After Kevin gets in trouble for retaliating against Buzz's taunting, his mother forces him to go to bed early:
    Kate: Say good night, Kevin.
    Kevin: Good night, Kevin.
  • Revealing Reflection: When Harry comes to peer in the window of the house, Kevin sees him reflected off a glass ornament and pretends to call for his dad. Harry isn't fooled, and realizes he's there by himself.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The state of Old Man Marley's right hand throughout the film may well symbolise his relationship with his son, and by extension, the rest of his family. When he appears in the pharmacy, his hand is heavily wrapped in a bloody bandage, because at that moment, he hasn't spoken to his son in years and there is no sign of this changing. When Marley shakes hands with Kevin in the church, there is only a Band-Aid on his hand, because he is there to see his granddaughter sing in the choir, he has just told Kevin about the falling-out he had with his son years earlier, Kevin has just advised him to reconcile with his son, and Marley decides to give it a shot. And in the final scene, Marley has indeed reconciled with his family and his hand is seen to have completely healed.
  • Running Gag: The statue in front of the McCallisters' house getting knocked over repeatedly.
  • Safe Under Blankets: Subverted then played straight. After the thieves come the first night, we see the bed in the master bedroom in the morning with a child-sized lump on it. Then the camera pans down to show Kevin under the bed. He then decides he's not going to be afraid and marches outside... where he runs into Old Man Marley. Kevin runs screaming back into the house, into the bed and pulls the covers over his head. He stays there, refusing to move, even when a police officer comes by to check on him.
  • Sanctuary of Solitude: Kevin is lonely on Christmas Eve night, so he goes to the church to hear the choir sing.
  • Santa Ambiguity: When Kevin meets the Mall Santa, he tells him that he knows he's not Santa, just working for the real Santa (who's pretty busy at this time of year).
  • Silence of Sadness: Referenced. The Polka singer who gives Kate a ride back to Chicago tells her about how he once left his son alone at a funeral parlor all night. The kid was okay... after about six weeks, at which point he finally started speaking again.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Kate's subplot of her getting back home on her own. She refuses to wait for the first available flight out of Paris and barters her way onto a late-night flight while the rest of the family stays behind in Paris to leave together. It falls out of padding since Kate's Mama Bear determination redeems her sympathetically after the opening sequence doesn't portray her in the best of lights, but after a draining journey including hitching a ride from Pennsylvania to Illinois through another night, she arrives home a mere sixty seconds from the rest of the family.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shovel Strike: Old Man Marley dispatches the Wet Bandits with a blow to the head from his snow shovel.
  • Show Within a Show: Angels with Filthy Souls (made specifically for the movie). The title is actually a parody of a real '30s gangster flick, Angels with Dirty Faces, though the fake movie scenes don't parody any scene from that film.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Mitch Murphy, the neighbor from across the street. If he was not there during Heather's headcount, the family would have understood that Kevin was not there and would not have left without him.
  • Snow Means Love: Although there's snow in the yards, the weather is mild until the ending. Fresh snow is falling when Kevin's family return and he reconciles with them, and when Old Man Marley notably reconciles with their family out in the crisp-white snow.
  • Spotting the Thread: Kevin sees a van in the Murphy's house, though they're supposed to be out of town, but shrugs. When the van nearly runs him over, however, Kevin recognizes the driver as the cop that visited his house, and seems to put two and two together. Then when the van chases him to the church, he realizes they were the robbers from the night before.
  • Stealth Pun: Kevin was left behind because milk was accidentally spilled on the tickets and his was accidentally thrown away, all while he had an argument with his family. It all began because the family cried over spilled milk.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That:
    • An interesting variation occurs when Kevin tells the Mall Santa: "I'm old enough to know you're not the real Santa Claus, but I also know that you work for him." Unwilling to break the spell for a kid who still believes in Santa, the guy just goes with it.
    • When the Wet Bandits taunt Kevin from the back door, Marv says: "It's Santy Claus and his elf!" Harry laughs at this and plays along.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Marv thinks that flooding the houses that they rob is an immensely clever Calling Card. This means that when they're arrested, the cops easily identify which houses they hit. And no doubt add destruction-of-property charges to the burglary charges.
    • Harry and Marv scream loudly outside several times, owing to Kevin's pranks. This raises a ruckus; the only reason no one calls the cops sooner is that the neighborhood has cleared out, excepting Old Man Marley. Old Man Marley comes home from his granddaughter's choir rehearsal and sees the antics. This motivates him to go rescue Kevin.
    • For all of Kevin's ingenuity, he is a young child facing off against two adults, who get angrier and angrier with every trap they fall into and suffer injuries as a result. Unsurprisingly, the burglars end up getting the upper hand, and were it not for Old Man Marley's intervention at the end, Kevin would have been in very real danger.
    • It might have been brief, but Kevin doesn't immediately run to his mom Kate because she and everyone left him behind. It took Kate to genuinely apologize for him to forgive her and return to being happy to her return.
  • Sweeping the Table: After Kevin comes home from church on Christmas Eve, he sweeps the toys off his desk and places a map he drew to layout all the booby traps.
  • Tap on the Head: Both Harry and Marv are rendered unconscious by a single blow from Old Man Marley's shovel. Neither is seriously injured by this, and both are loaded into a cop car instead of an ambulance.
  • Teeth Flying: The blow from the paint can knocks out Harry's gold tooth.
  • Television Geography: The estimated travel times to get from the McCallister family house to O'Hare International Airport are laughable to any native Chicagoan: as they're leaving, Frank tells Peter, "There's no way on Earth we're gonna make this plane. It leaves in 45 minutes." Peter tells him "Think positive, Frank." Even taking the fastest route (Willow Road to I-294 to I-190), it takes about a half hour at minimum, and more if there's traffic. And it would take another half hour for everyone to check in, check their bags, and clear security, and maybe five-ten minutes to rush from security to their boarding gate in Terminal 3 (where American Airlines flights from O'Hare are boarded). Not to mention that on international flights, American requires bags to be checked in no less than one hour to departure.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Not in the movie itself, but in Angels With Filthy Souls, Johnny empties the Tommy Gun on Snakes, even after Snakes is on the floor and no longer moving.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Kevin makes a nice, hot, steaming bowl of mac n' cheese. He brings it to the table, sits down, picks up his knife and fork... and the robbers show up. He promptly leaves it on the table without touching it.
  • Time Marches On: Modern trip planning apps like Expedia or Travelocity would have enabled Kate to find a way home better than waiting three days for the next direct flight or her semi-random journey across the US that turned out to be no faster.
  • Title Drop: The other McCallisters mention that Kevin is "home alone" at least three times. One of his sisters says so at the airport phones, and Kate says it at least twice to people when trying to get home. Harry says it too.
  • To the Pain: Toward the end, Harry and Marv catch Kevin at his neighbor's house and threaten this, wanting to pay Kevin back for all the trouble he's caused them. Fortunately, Old Man Marley saves the day.
  • Two Decades Behind: Peter claims that locks for the doors and electronic timers for the lights are about the best anyone could do for home security. Even at the time the movie was released, home security systems were available, and an affluent family like the McCallisters would be especially likely to have one.
  • Unbuilt Trope: This was the movie that kickstarted the "kid empowerment" genre of the 1990s, but at the same time, it felt like a deconstruction. Instead of having wild and improbable fantasies like most other kid-empowered films, Kevin does mostly rather mundane things around the house, such as... jumping on the bed, sledding down the stairs, or eating tubs of ice cream while watching (somewhat) violent films. Also, because he was, well, home alone, he needed to find food and steal Buzz's money to survive. Furthermore, Adults Are Useless not because of plot stupidity but because Kevin refused to trust them: he hated his extended family (especially Uncle Frank); he was scared that the police — who were trying to help — would arrest him after he (accidentally) stole a toothbrush; the Wet Bandits were constantly stalking him; and he was downright terrified of Old Man Marley. And despite all the traps and hilarious injuries Kevin inflicted on Harry and Marv, he actually failed to stop them in the end, and would have been killed if it weren't for Old Man Marley coming in to rescue him.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Wet Bandits plan for an easy break in when they realize that Kevin is by himself. Kevin certainly proves them wrong by putting up a fight with the BB gun and booby traps.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • Mitch Murphy, the neighborhood kid. By poking around the van the McCallisters take to the airport and digging through their luggage while the family was taking a roll call, he gets mistaken for Kevin at the deciding minute before they rush off, leaving the real Kevin behind.
    • Goes a little further back during the dinner scene. After Kevin rushes Buzz during the disastrous pizza prank, the confusion and cleanup causes Peter to accidentally throw Kevin's boarding pass in the trash.
  • Van in Black: The baddies operate out of a blue van, disguised as a plumbing and heating business.
  • Villains Out Shopping: A discussed and an implied example:
    • Since they're not going to return to the McCallister house until 9 pm, Harry suggests they grab dinner first.
    • Also, Kevin scares off Marv by playing the shootout scene from Angels with Filthy Souls and lighting firecrackers. Marv says that the voices sounded familiar, suggesting that he's seen that movie too and because it's obviously decades old, it may have been too long for him to instantly remember it.
  • We Will Meet Again: After the bandits are arrested, Harry gives Kevin a look that seems to say this from the back seat of a police car. Doubles as a Sequel Hook.
  • Wham Line: "Merry Christmas." It's from Old Man Marley, revealing he's not as bad as he was previously made out to be.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out where Axl the tarantula went after he scared the two crooks, either. Though it looked like he crawled back to Buzz's room. Fortunately for most arachnophobes, he does not appear in the second film.
  • Worst Aid: Harry, upon burning his hand on the McCallister's heated doorknob, crawls down the stairs and plunges his hand into the snow to soothe it. Despite what his relieved reaction may tell you, you actually wouldn't want to put a burn in anything that's too cold, such as cold water or snow, since it can exacerbate the burn and make it feel even worse.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The flight leaves Chicago in daylight and arrives in Paris in daylight. Flights between the two take approximately seven and a half hours. If we assume the flight leaves at around 9am (they get up a little after 8am and it's mentioned it's 45 minutes until the flight leaves when leaving the house), the flight would arrive in Paris at around 11.30pm local time.
  • Younger Than They Look: Kevin is 8, but looks around 10 or 11. (Macaulay Culkin was 9 at the time.)


Video Example(s):


Mitch Murphy

A neighborhood kid named Mitch Murphy hangs around the transportation shuttles and gets mistakenly counted during the headcount, inadvertantly causing Kevin to be left home alone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmallRoleBigImpact

Media sources: