A Christmas Story (1983) Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Peter Billingsley, Ian Petrella Movie Review

A Christmas Story (1983)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Peter Billingsley in A Christmas Story (1983)

An American Christmas Story

I've loved watching Christmas movies; I have ever since I was a little child but for the life of me I can't remember "A Christmas Story" ever being shown on terrestrial TV in the UK. Now there is a good chance that it has but it made me wonder why this movie which features in countless lists of top 10 Christmas movies isn't shown every year. Having finally sat down to watch "A Christmas Story" I think I know why because whilst it's a very well made movie it is a movie whose appeal is not only aimed at an American audience but also those who have nostalgic memories of Christmas past and those who have been told about those Christmases. As I said it is a well made Christmas movie, amusing but not as entertaining as I hoped considering how popular it is.

"A Christmas Story" is the story of young Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) growing up in 1940's America told by an older Ralphie reminiscing about that time. These memories are a collection of events from a run in with the school bully, a triple dog dare which ended with a tongue stuck to a frozen pole and also Ralphie's accidental slip when he said the Queen Mother of words. All of which is built around Ralphie's desire to get a Daisy Brand Red Ryder repeating BB carbine for Christmas and his schemes to get one including slipping adverts in to his mother's magazine as a subtle reminder.

Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin in A Christmas Story (1983)

Now as I said there is no doubt that "A Christmas Story" is a very well made movie and I can fully understand why this movie is so popular. For American's whose childhood was during the 40's and 50's this must be like a trip down memory lane full of event's from the heating playing up to the big event of getting a Christmas tree. Add to that Ralphie's imagination from saving the family from marauders dressed in a sparkling cowboy outfit to his wistful dream of getting a good grade for a school essay it is all good. I could go on because "A Christmas Story" is packed with these fun nostalgic memories.

I can also understand why "A Christmas Story" would be popular with younger Americans because they will have heard their parents go on about the past and some of the events in Ralphie's past will still happen. The escapade with the bully, the Christmas tree shopping trip and various other things will still ring true. But for those who are not American that connection is not so great and as such it lacks some of that charm which has won over audiences although the writing and acting is so good that even without that connection it is still entertaining. When young Ralphie solves his first Orphan Annie message to discover it was only a commercial for Ovaltine makes you smile no matter what.

What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Story" no matter where you are from is entertaining but it is a movie which to me has greater appeal for an American audience who can connect with the nostalgic aspect of the movie.

Tags: Christmas Movies