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    Home Alone 
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Macaulay Culkin drew the map that Kevin uses to set up the traps.
  • Adored by the Network:
    • Any time a network owns the rights to the first two movies, expect it to give both special treatment. The rights have bounced from HBO to Turner-owned networks to ABC Family / Freeform then back (and forth) to HBO to Starz and then back to Freeform.
    • The movie (and its sequel) are inevitably broadcast on TV in many countries during Christmas time.
  • Author Phobia: Chris Columbus' biggest fear as a kid was burglars. It's part of why he wanted to make this movie.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Why John Williams did the score. FOX passed it along to Williams when looking for a composer, but the crew felt they didn't have a shot to nab the biggest composer in movies to score their moderately-budgeted holiday movie. Williams loved the rough cut of the movie and agreed to do the score, while offering him an opportunity to go outside his usual fare with a more Christmas-tinged soundtrack.
  • California Doubling: O'Hare International Airport represents itself as well as Charles de Gaulle Airport.
  • Cast the Runner-Up:
    • Jeffrey Wiseman, who plays neighbor boy Mitch Murphy, originally auditioned to play Kevin McCallister.
    • Ralph Foody and Michael Guido were originally cast in the opposite roles of Snakes and Johnny respectively, but Foody was recovering from knee surgery at the time of the shoot and was unable to perform the fall to the floor, so the roles were swapped. Guido often joked that this swap meant he was one of the few actors who was unable to return for the sequel due to his character being dead.
  • Channel Hop: The film was initially a Warner Bros. production until the film went over budget, resulting in 20th Century Fox taking over production.
  • Colbert Bump: The Drifters' version of "White Christmas" was featured in the first movie and has enjoyed greater prominence than its original release in 1954.
  • Completely Different Title: Multiple:
    • In Latin America, the Spanish countries got "My Poor Little Angel" and Brazil "They Forgot Me" (the latter admittely works, even in the sequel where Kevin's not at home).
    • France and Italy went for a literal synopsis, "Mom, I Missed the Plane".
    • In Hungarian, it's "Tremble, Burglars!"
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Chris Columbus isn't fond of the booby trap where Harry gets covered in feathers, feeling it was "too soft" compared to the others.
    • According to Columbus, John Candy was bitter about being paid scale by the studio, especially after the film became a smash hit.
  • Creator Chosen Casting:
  • The Danza: Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister in this film and the second.
  • Dawson Casting: Minor example, but Kevin is 8 in the first film and 10 in the second, while Macaulay Culkin was actually 10 while making the first and 12 while filming the second.
  • Deleted Scene: See 'em here.
  • Doing It for the Art: Multiple:
    • Daniel Stern was so committed to the role of Marv, and to the concept of Marv and Harry being the Wet Bandits, that in fact, a number of Marv's antics (sticking snowglobes to the dashboard with gum, stepping on and walking across glass ornaments, trying to pry open the back door with a crowbar before giving up and just opening it, the stupid look on his face before getting hit with a flying paint can, the "Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken?" line he says when he sees Harry covered in feathers) were ad-libbed by Stern. There's also the fact that, when Macaulay Culkin did a video in 2015 reprising his role as Kevin that parodied the fans' Alternative Character Interpretation that the traumas Kevin suffered through the course of the films turned him into a violent sociopath, Stern quickly made an answer video in-character as Marv.
    • John Candy appeared in the film for scale pay.
    • While filming the Angels with Filthy Souls clip, Chris Columbus actually went to the effort of obtaining a Tommy gun used by Edward G. Robinson in the film G-Men, and insisted on shooting the scene using 1940s-era camerawork techniques.
  • Dueling Movies: With Disney's The Rescuers Down Under, which opened the same day and had John Candy in it just like Home Alone. Home Alone prevailed, leading Disney chief Jeffrey Katzenberg to shut down his studio's marketing campaign and blowing up their attempt to continue the Rescuers franchise (though both films did well on VHS later).
    • The film was predated a year earlier with Dial Code Santa Claus, a horror film with a similar premise (a young boy rigs his house with traps to ward off an intruder during Christmas).
  • Follow the Leader: The remake of Miracle on 34th Street was greenlit especially after the success of this, with John Hughes writing too. The protagonist was even going to be a boy, after Kevin's influence.
  • I Am Not Spock: Macaulay Culkin is now forever associated with this role. In the DVD Commentary, he acknowledged it as both a blessing and a curse.
  • Inspiration for the Work: The conception arose from a personal experience of John Hughes. Imagining that children are naturally most scared of robbers, Hughes also worked that aspect into the plot of the film.
    I was going away on vacation, and making a list of everything I didn’t want to forget. I thought, 'well, I'd better not forget my kids". Then I thought, "what if I left my 10-year-old son at home? What would he do?"
  • Looping Lines: Daniel Stern was required to have a live tarantula on his face when the prop one wasn't working. Because Stern didn't want to frighten or harm the tarantula while it was on his face, the legendary scream coming from his mouth was actually Stern miming, and an off-set recording of Stern screaming was edited over the top.
  • Method Acting: Joe Pesci deliberately avoided Macaulay Culkin on-set, because he wanted Culkin to think he was mean.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer featured deleted and alternated scenes: a TV anchorman warns viewers to be on the lookout for the Wet Bandits. In the supermarket scene, the manager of the supermarket stands behind the check out girl and asks Kevin the questions check out girl asks him in the theatrical cut, and there's additional dialogue between Harry and Marv just before they go to Kevin's house, during which Marv says "Kids are stupid. I know I was", to which Harry replies "You still are, Marv."
  • Orphaned Reference: Marv claiming the voices he heard in the McCallister house that were actually Kevin playing Angels with Filthy Souls sounded familiar. This was the set up for a Brick Joke in a planned post-credits scene. Harry and Marv would be watching the film in prison and it was only then they would finally put two and two together.
  • Playing Against Type: Devin Ratray had mostly just played nerds beforehand, so he relished getting to go against type as the Big Brother Bully Buzz.
  • Pop Culture Urban Legends: A popular legend among fans is that the film was originally written to have Uncle Frank be the real mastermind behind Harry and Marv robbing the McCallister house and that the fact he pays for the airfare to Paris is an Orphaned Reference to the fact he wanted everyone out of the way. This was actually a theory proposed by a fan of the film and has never been confirmed by either John Hughes or Chris Columbus.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Kevin's younger cousin Fuller is Macaulay Culkin's little brother Kieran.
    • The elf that Kevin meets before talking to Fake Santa was the then-wife of cinematographer Julio Macat.
    • Several of Chris Columbus' family members made cameos in the film: His mother-in-law and his daughter Eleanor Columbus were passengers on the plane. His wife Monica Devereux-Columbus was a stewardess, and his father-in-law played the police officer who says the line "tell them to count their kids again."
    • The movie's producer Mark Radcliffe's twin daughters Porscha and Brittany play Kevin's cousins in a few scenes.
  • Referenced by...: Home Alone is referenced by Bicentennial Man (another of Chris Columbus's films) when Miss says that Kate McCalister's family has an NDR114 in their household.
  • Shoot the Money: You'd be amazed to discover that the movie had an incredibly small budget of only $18 million. A number of the visual effects (such as the BB striking Marv in the face) were literally done by a teenager in his parents' basement for only a couple of hundred dollars. John Candy's parts were all filmed at once, nonstop, for 23 hours, because that's all the time the producers could afford to have him on the set. The furnace in the basement was achieved by crewmembers hiding behind it with wire and flashlights. Chris Columbus and Macaulay Culkin have both joked that production on this movie was akin to attending "Film School 101". Many critics even agree that had this movie been made a decade or two earlier, it would pretty much have been a B-Movie.
  • Similarly Named Works: "Home Alone" is also the name of an unrelated public service video that shows viewers what to do if they are at home by themselves (i.e., if someone calls on the phone, don't say you're home alone, etc). More recently, it is the title of an Investigation Discovery true crime series about residents being trapped and/or held hostage by crooks in their own homes. Several episodes even take place during Christmas!
  • Sleeper Hit: No one expected the film to do as well as it did. In fact, Fox initially distributed it to the minimum number of theaters required for it to be considered a wide release. It became one of the highest grossing films of all time, and it is still in the top fifty when adjusted for inflation.
  • Star-Making Role: For Macaulay Culkin. He became a household name following its success.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • Both the DVD Commentary and CollegeHumor have joked that, had the first two movies been made today, they would either rely on everyone's cell phone being rendered useless or would only last 20 minutes each.
    • The first two movies' packing rushes are caused by the alarm clock not going off (due to a power outage in the first and Peter unplugging it in the second). Nowadays, the aforementioned cellphones would've likely been used for alarm clocks, and would be able to last all night without being plugged in provided that they have some charge.
    • Out of all the valuables in the McCallister house coveted by the Wet Bandits, Harry mentions that the house likely contains multiple VCRs.
    • During the "Home Alone" Antics of the climax, Marv worries that Kevin will be calling the police from his treehouse. Harry incredulously points out that this is impossible. Not so strange in a time when cell phones are practically ubiquitous.
    • A 2018 Google commercial with Macaulay Culkin playing Kevin again would lampshade how different the movie would be if it were made today.
  • Throw It In:
    • Catherine O'Hara forgot her lines in the airplane scene where she realized that they left Kevin home alone. The iconic shouting of Kevin's name was her attempt to salvage the take. They not only ended up using the take, but the "Kevin!" shout became forever linked to the film series.
    • The conversation with the checkout lady and Kevin in the first was improvised. The director didn't say 'Cut', so the actress kept asking him questions and Culkin went along with it.
    • Gus Polinsky's story about he and his wife leaving their kid at a funeral parlor all day long was completely ad-libbed by John Candy; matter of fact, many of the moments between he and Catherine O'Hara saw a lot of ad-libbing, as both are SCTV alumni.
    • Ken Campbell, who played Santa, couldn't drive stick and practiced really hard. On the first take, he successfully drove the car away but forgot to turn on the lights, so they had him redo it. The second time, the car stalled and he swore (He did not say "Son of a"; they put that in in post). They thought it was so hilarious that they left it in.
    • The line, "You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?" was improvised.
    • Marv's lines, "Why the hell are you dressed like a chicken", and, "Maybe he committed suicide", were improvised by Daniel Stern.
    • Before Old Man Marley saves Kevin from Harry and Marv, Joe Pesci had actually bit one of Macaulay Culkin's fingers, leaving a scar.
  • Typecasting: Be honest, when have you not seen Joe Pesci play a criminal?
  • Troubled Production:
    • Warner Brothers had originally greenlighted the film on the assurance it could be made for no more than $10 million. Very early on the producers realized they had underestimated how much it was going to cost, and worrying that Warner would balk at making the film for that much money,note  John Hughes secretly took a meeting with Fox asking if they would be willing to take it over if it came to that and, uh, "accidentally" left a copy of the script behind (Fox legally wouldn't have been allowed to see it at that time)
    • The tight budget had other early effects. Upon being informed that the shooting schedule was being extended from six weeks to eight, Daniel Stern asked if he could thus expect to be paid more. He was told no, the budget was too tight, and quit. But after three days of rehearsals with his replacement, Daniel Roebuck, didn't yield the same chemistry he had had with Pesci, Stern was brought back, presumably for more money.
    • That was just one of the many cost increases that was driving up the budget and straining relations with Warner. The studio had conceded them an additional $3 million, but that still wouldn't be enough ... the producers had prepared a long memo explaining how there was no way they could make this film the way they wanted to, the way they told the studio they could, for anything less than $17.5 million. After a final offer of $14 million was rejected, Warner shut down production. Within 20 minutes, however, filmmaking resumed as Hughes made his call to Fox, which stepped right in to the breach.
    • The daily filming schedule created issues at both ends.
      • Morning unit call was 7 a.m. This greatly bothered Joe Pesci, who already had some complaints about his character's dialogue being ridiculous. He finally took one of the assistant directors asidenote  and explained that he would be in a much better frame of mind shooting his scenes if he could get in nine holes of golf in the morning. Accordingly, the unit calls were pushed back to 9 a.m.
      • Due to Macaulay Culkin's age, he could not work any later than 10 p.m., making it very difficult to schedule and shoot the many nighttime scenes in the film.
    • One last scheduling issue made things tight. John Candy could only work for one day, so all his scenes were done in a 23-hour marathon session. He did them all for absolute rock bottom scale and got paid a little over $400 ...less even than the actor who played the pizza delivery guy.
  • What Could Have Been:
  • Word of Saint Paul: When Devin Ratray was asked what happened to Buzz later in life, he said he probably went to prison. This would wind up being contradicted by Home Sweet Home Alone which shows he became a police officer.

    Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: "Merry Christmas, you filthy animal" has been accredited to Kevin or one of the Wet Bandits. The gangster Johnny from Angels with Even Filthier Souls actually says this line, although Kevin mouths it while escaping from the Plaza.
  • California Doubling: All the scenes with Kevin's family in Florida were shot in California, as were all the scenes at Kevin's uncle's house, while several more of the New York scenes were shot in Chicago.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Ally Sheedy was one of many candidates to play Kate. She makes a cameo as an airport clerk as a favour to John Hughes.
  • Colbert Bump: The film featuring "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" by Johnny Mathis led to increased requests to hear it on radio stations during the holidays.
  • Defictionalization: The Talkboy from Lost in New York was originally conceived as a non-working prop for the film; one letter-writing campaign from 1990s kids later, and it was Defictionalized by Tiger Electronics. It sold well enough that several variants were created, such as a pink-and-purple version called the Talkgirl.
  • Deleted Scene: A deleted scene featured Kevin having a similar aftershave scene in the Plaza like in the original. Chris Columbus cut the scene for two reasons. The film was already two hours long, and he was afraid that people would accuse this film of being a remake rather than a sequel. The scene made it to the novelization.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • Joe Pesci had a rather thick head of hair at the time that had to be shaved bald.
    • Devin Ratray likewise had let his hair grow to shoulder length between films, and it had to be buzzed to the same length as before.
  • Edited for Syndication:
    • Most network broadcasts since 2001 cut out the scene where Kevin visits the World Trade Center's observation deck. VH1 retained it in a July 2021 airing, however.
    • When ABC Family / Freeform airs the movie, the following traps from Uncle Rob's house are cut for commercial time (or to shorten the violence):
      • Marv getting hit with the second, third and fourth bricks.
      • Marv's battle with the staple gun.
      • Marv being electrocuted by the sink.
      • The tool chest squashing Harry and Marv.
    • Since at least 2014, Canada's CBC Television has cut the scene featuring Donald Trump's cameo where Kevin asks Trump where the hotel desk is. Despite this happening about a year before he announced his presidential bid, that didn't stop viewers (particularly Trump's own supporters) from alleging political motivations five years after the fact, including (not surprisingly) Trump himself, who blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who wasn't even prime minister at the time) for the edits! Freeform and VH1 have retained the Trump cameo.
  • Image Source:
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer showed one of Kevin's traps involving a bunch of tools falling on Harry. The trailer has Harry No-Sell most of the tools (with only a change in expression to show for it), only for a massive wrench to knock him down; in the movie, Harry collapses when the first set of tools fall on him, with the wrench falling as a mere punctuation mark on the scene.
  • The Other Darrin: Maureen Elisabeth Shay replaces Angela Goethals as Linnie McCallister.
  • Real-Life Relative: The hotel operator, with whom Kevin makes a reservation pretending to be his father, is played by Chris Columbus's wife, Monica Devereux, while his daughter is the little girl in the toy store.
  • Technology Marches On: Kevin would have discovered Uncle Rob being out of the country much sooner by reaching him or his townhouse from a cell phone.
  • Wag the Director: The reason Donald Trump has a cameo is because Chris Columbus wanted to film in The Plaza Hotel's actual lobby. Trump, the hotel's owner at the time, only agreed if he could appear in the film. Columbus was considering editing out Trump's scene, but eventually left it in after test audiences responded positively to it.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • John Hughes originally wrote Kevin to have a gun, but was convinced to change it to something that could be taken onto a flight, which eventually resulted in the famous Talkboy.
    • It was originally scripted that Kevin was going to rain more paint cans down the stairs.
    • At one point, John Candy was going to make a cameo.
    • One trap not used in the final version of the film but used in the novelization (in place of the electric sink scene) featured Kevin putting superglue on a piece of cloth that Marv would try to use to clean his face, and when it naturally got stuck, he yanked it off so hard that he also pulled his beard off in the process.
  • Working Title: Alone Again.

    Home Alone 3 
  • Billing Displacement: When ABC Family (now Freeform) showed Home Alone 3, they advertised it like Scarlett Johansson was the star, despite the fact that she was only a minor character in the film and had about 5 to 10 minutes of screen time. To quote one of the trailers, "Scarlett Johansson is taking on the bad guys."
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget, $32 million. Box office, $30,882,515 (domestic), $79,082,515 (worldwide).
  • B-Team Sequel: Chris Columbus didn't return as director and John Williams didn't provide the score.
  • Creator Killer: While John Hughes had a few more screenwriting credits under his belt after this film (and even then mostly under a pseudonym), its poor reception effectively marked the end of his producing career. His only other credit as a producer came on the following year's Reach the Rock, which actually did get some halfway decent reviews, but failed to earn a wide release.
  • The Danza: Alex D. Linz as Alex Pruitt.
  • Franchise Killer: The last film in the franchise to be theatrically released before the next two films were released on television and DVD.
  • Old Shame: While she doesn't appear to be really deeply regretful about the movie, Scarlett Johansson is aware that it's not the most popular Home Alone, having conceded in an interview in Late Night with Seth Meyers that she was really surprised that, when she showed the film to her daughter, she was really into it, admitting that she though that "the plot is a little thin".
  • Refitted for Sequel: The dumbbell trap and the lawnmower trap were both originally in the opening scene of the Home Alone 2 novelization as part of a shared nightmare Harry and Marv are having in prison.
  • Sequel Gap: This came out five years after the second film.
  • Technology Marches On: Phone technology has come a long way since 1997. Alex would have had much better luck getting the spies arrested with a smartphone, being able to provide the police with pictures of the suspects and their getaway car. Some 911 call centers can even allow dispatchers to receive pictures from smartphones.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • In the commentary for the first film, Chris Columbus said that he had planned for the third film to be shot right after the second film, and it would have starred Macaulay Culkin as a teenaged version of Kevin; the idea was scrapped because by then, Macaulay Culkin had already discontinued acting.
    • According to AMC's Story Notes, Joe Pesci once said that his idea for a third film would be Kevin lost in Hawaii, or a beach resort.
    • When Macaulay Culkin declined to reprise his role as Kevin, John Hughes briefly considered writing the screenplay with Harry and Marv targeting Kevin's cousin Fuller, who would be the main character, with Gerry Bamman and Terrie Snell reprising their roles and Fuller's parents Frank and Leslie, respectively, who go on vacation and leave Fuller home alone, to defend himself against Marv and Harry. Then, when Pesci and Stern refused to reprise their roles because they wanted to pursue other projects, Hughes to changed the villains into two former partners-in-crime to Marv and Harry, but when Kieran felt he couldn't follow in his brother's footsteps as the lead, and other cast members of the first two films declined to have any involvement with the sequel, Hughes decided to write an entirely different screenplay with no characters from the first two films.

    Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House 
  • California Doubling: The movie wasn't shot in America at all - this one was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Creator Killer: The scathing reception to the film made this the final film director Rod Daniel did before his death in 2016.
  • The Other Darrin: All of the returning characters are played by different actors. Daniel Stern, in particular, refused to go near the script, so Marv is played by French Stewart, and he's also dressed like Harry, for some reason.
  • Sequel Gap: Came out five years after 3, and ten years after 2, which it's (supposedly) following up.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • If the film was successful? We would've had a TV series about it on ABC Family. Within the film, Kevin's parents didn't get back together in an earlier script. The ending was rewritten in case they ended up making the show.
    • The earlier script also had Kevin's mother dating a new partner, a police officer who it turned out at the end was Marv's younger brother, and the polar opposite of Marv himself, being the White Sheep of the family. The final script changed this to Natalie's housemaid turning out to be Marv's mother, and her being, if anything, even worse than Marv himself.
    • Daniel Stern refused to reprise his role as Marv in the fourth film, saying it was "An insult, total garbage."

    Home Alone: The Holiday Heist 
  • California Doubling: The movie was not only shot in Manitoba but is the first one in the Home Alone series not to be set in Chicago (it is set in Maine).
  • Sequel Gap: Released ten years after Home Alone 4.

    Home Sweet Home Alone 
  • Channel Hop: The first Home Alone film produced by Disney.
  • The Original Darrin: Devin Ratray from the first two films came back to play Buzz McCallister here. Buzz was played by Gideon Jacobs in Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House.
  • Sequel Gap: Released nine years after Home Alone: The Holiday Heist.


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