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"Oh the hills are alive with the sound of Griswald..."'
Clark W. Griswald in an Imagine Spot
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National Lampoon's European Vacation is a 1985 comedy movie that serves as a direct sequel to National Lampoon's Vacation. Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo reprise their respective roles as Clark and Ellen Griswald, while Dana Hill and Jason Lively assume the roles of the Griswald children.

After the Griswald family accidentally wins a European vacation courtesy of the popular game show Pig in a Poke, Clark drags them out of the house once again to see as many sights as possible in the iconic locations of London, Stonehenge, Paris, Germany, and Rome.


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European Vacation provides examples of:

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    A-M 
  • The Alleged Car: The Citroen DS they use on the Continent has the usual Griswald-car body add-ons as well as mainly being used with its suspension at full height. The Austin Maxi they used in the UK, however, was 100% stock.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The family ends up knocking over Stonehenge by accidentally backing into the rocks. In truth, this wouldn't have been the first time the stones had been knocked over (it even happened back in the 19th Century), or vandalized, or even had pieces chipped off as souvenirs. This is why you're not even allowed to get close enough to touch the stones themselves anymore.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: Discussed by Mrs. Froeger when her family gets to pick the next question on Pig in a Poke. One available category is "Hungary" and she suggests choosing it because "no one knows anything about Hungarians."
  • Bilingual Bonus: Parts of the movie not in English are untranslated. One such scene is when Clark tells a German man that he and his family are looking for sechs (the German word for six and the number of an address for his relatives, but the way Clark words it makes it sound like they are "looking for sex"), and the man slams the door in his face while calling him "schweinhund!", a German insult that when translated literally means "pig dog."
  • Blatant Lies: Russ describes his parents to a girl in Rome as "normal parents."
  • Call-Back: Clark screams when he sticks his feet in a cold fountain, similarly to how he screamed when he jumped in the cold pool in the original vacation.
  • Characterization Marches On: Rusty and Audrey take on very different personalities than in the first installment. Audrey possesses newfound Big Eater tendencies while Russ is obsessed with music, MTV, and girls.
  • Damsel in Distress: Ellen gets drunk in Rome and is kidnapped by a man trying to get a hold of her car keys.
  • Deadpan Snarker: All of the Griswalds have their moments. When Clark tries getting a family picture in Paris, even Rusty's not immune.
    Rusty: Yeah, the Griswalds in front of a fountain. Major entertainment.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Clark puts these skills to use in the climactic Chase Scene in Rome.
  • Game Show: The Griswalds win their trip to Europe on a game show called "Pig in a Poke."
  • High-School Sweethearts: Ellen states verbatim that she and Clark filled this role, and even waited until they planned to get married to have sex.
  • Ignore The Fanservice: Ellen shows Clark the sexy outfit she purchased in Paris and pleads that she and Clark spend some alone time in the hotel. Clark, however, is intent on taking her out for a romantic, cultured night on the town.
  • Left It In: Before the family leaves for their trip to Europe, Clark videotapes Ellen while she's taking a shower, who then tells him to delete it after he's finished. The family gets their camera stolen by a thief while they're in France; when they arrive in Rome, Ellen then discovers that Clark did not delete the video of her in the shower at all, when she sees a poster advertising a movie that starred her. Apparently, the thief discovered the video after he stole the camera and advertised it as a movie.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: The man who was riding a bike whom Clark hits with his car is covered with scrapes, but brushes it all off. When he begins spurting blood from his wrists, he states that it's just a flesh wound. Oh yeah, and he's played by Eric Idle.
  • Makeover Montage: The Griswalds go through one in Rome when they go through a bunch of new outfits to try on.
  • Modesty Towel: Clark records Ellen's dance while she wears nothing but a towel.

    N-Z 
  • Nipple and Dimed: One waitress at the Oktoberfest gathering sneaks off with Rusty, and gets her blouse off. Clark screws things up and the family has to leg it before things progress from there.
  • Not So Above It All: Ellen once again tries to play the role of the Only Sane Man on their family vacation, but after her Rage Breaking Point listed below, she goes back to their hotel to get plastered.
  • Oddball in the Series: European Vacation is the only Vacation movie not to feature Cousin Eddie and his family.
  • Oktoberfest: The Griswalds go to Germany to meet their German relatives, except they weren't.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Uttered by Eric Idle himself.
  • Pædo Hunt: Seriously, it seems like every waiter they encounter tries to proposition the kids. This isn't Europeans Are Kinky, this is Europeans Are Disgusting Perverted Lowlifes.
  • Popping Buttons: Audrey's Imagine Spot in which she gets fat from European desserts.
  • Post Stress Over Eating: After learning she doesn't have to stay thin for Jack anymore, Audrey begins gorging herself at the hotel restaurant.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Clark lies to Ellen about deleting her Modesty Towel dance on their camera before it was stolen. Eventually, the family comes across a pornographic movie poster obviously referring to the video and featuring Ellen as the star. She is not amused.
  • Real Award, Fictional Character: The film opens with the Griswalds facing off with a family of geniuses on a game show. The parents are both Nobel Prize winners and the kids are no less brilliant. The Griswalds win anyway... by accident.
  • Recycled In Space: The basic theme is the same, a family traveling together and experiencing every possible problem, setback, and trauma.
  • Rental Car Abuse: When Clark Griswold rents a Citroën DS, he accidentally drives it into a too small gap and it gets stuck.
  • Shout-Out: The page quote above demonstrates a very blatant one to The Sound of Music.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts:
    • Audrey and her boyfriend Jack are seen making out for much of Jack's limited screen time. She spends the rest of the vacation pining for him.
    • The couple who's honeymooning in Europe is also very engrossed in each other. Russ thinks they're about to have sex in public, and upon a second glance Clark tells him it's possible.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: All four members of the Froegers, the opposing family who have never lost on Pig in a Poke, sport a pair.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Curiously, this is the only installment in the series to spell the central family's name "Griswald," as the rest of the movies credit the characters as "Griswold."
  • The Theme Park Version: Everything in Europe is exactly how you'd expect it to be, assuming you're an American who's never been there and who relies solely on National Stereotypes.
  • Undying Loyalty: Though Rusty is less supportive of Clark's endeavors this time around, he ditches a topless blonde to come to his father's aid when Clark is at risk of being hanged. He gripes about it later, of course, but he once again joins his father in the climactic Chase Scene, proving his dedication.
  • Unlucky Extra: A random English tourist (played by Eric Idle), is always on the receiving end of any kind of accident inflicted upon him by the Griswalds. In fact, he even appears again in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure, during the airport scene.
  • Vague Age: Rusty actually averts this trope, stating his age to be fifteen. Audrey is still only implied to be younger until Christmas Vacation clearly portrays her as an older sister.

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