Siskel and Ebert’s review of “A Christmas Story” from 1983.

This is one of those annual holiday classics that, surprisingly enough, I’ve never seen the entirety of in one sitting. Considering how often A Christmas Story runs during the holiday—Channel TBS runs a 24 hour marathon of the movie starting Christmas Eve through Christmas Day—it’s entirely possible I’ve seen the entire thing in bits and pieces here and there, but I’ve never sat down and watched it all the way through. Considering its popularity today it’s interesting to look back at how the movie was received when it was released in 1983. Which also reminds me of just how damned old I am as that was a year and a half before I’d graduate from high school.

Here’s the review Siskel and Ebert gave the movie thanks to the wonder that is YouTube:

As it turns out, the movie didn’t smash any records when it was released a week before Thanksgiving that year. By the time Christmas rolled around it was gone from most theaters with only a hundred or so still showing the film by January 1984. It grossed a modest $19.2 million which would be roughly $37.8 million today which isn’t bad considering it only cost about $4 million to make or about $7.8 million in today’s dollars. Still, hardly a blockbuster. Who knows how much money its made since then as its popularity grew through repeated TV airings over the years?

Maybe one of these days I’ll sit down and watch the whole thing in one go.

Found over at

12 thoughts on “Siskel and Ebert’s review of “A Christmas Story” from 1983.

  1. I love this movie…but I was young when it came out so I only remember it on TV…we bought it though to add to our Christmas Movie Collection.

  2. I put TBS on my TV every year (at least the one in my room) and do not change the channel until they stop airing the movie. I love it and it has become a Krismas tradition/joke in my house that it has to be on at least one TV all day.

  3. I think “A Christmas Story” has to be one of the most colossally overrated films of all time. I just don’t see the appeal, particularly after innumerable viewings.

  4. I think it pretty much didn’t become a “Hit” until it hit cable/HBO back in the day (‘84/85).  That’s when I saw it and I remember my parents laughing their butts off every time it played.

    Granted I do laugh everytime I see the tongue on the flag pole scene or the big fight where the little brother is turtled in the snowsuit. =P

  5. It helps if you’re an old fart like me and remember something similar to the events depicted. It also helps if you liked The Waltons, Darren McGavin, and tales similar to Truman Capote’s “The Thanksgiving Visitor” (ever so slightly more twisted).

    My wife saw pieces and parts of it for years, and she thought it must be stupid and never gave it a chance until just a couple of years ago. I finally got her to sit down and watch the whole thing, and now it’s a can’t-miss holiday event.

    You’ll shoot yer eye out, kid!

  6. I don’t watch much holiday programming, or much cutesy family stuff, but this movie is pretty damn funny.  Clean enough for the whole family, but with some swearing, schoolyard violence, childhood anxiety, and a completely secular holiday theme of family togetherness, for better or worse.  It’s not the best movie ever or anything, but it’s ten times better than most of the other holiday crap that gets spewed out each year.  And I want that lamp!

      Sonsabitches!!  Bumpuses!!!

  7. Neil, you can own that lamp. The folks at Wireless Catalog sell it in two different sizes. The 20” tall one is $40 and the 40” one is $200. Not sure why it jumps from $40 to $200 with an extra 20” on it, but it carries the official A Christmas Story license.

  8. Lee … I tried so hard to like this film. I made two running attempts at it. On the second one (tonight), I made it to 45 minutes into the film. I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I hope you and all the others who like this film continue to do so. But, for me, this film is painful to watch. I just don’t get the point of it. The plot is there, kinda, but the acting is over-the-top and, I am hoping, tongue-in-cheek. I don’t want to say what I really think of the film, as I don’t want to insult anyone. That’s not the kind of person I am. But, man oh man, why this production has become a Christmas standard is beyond me. For those of you who like this production, I wish you all the very best. But, as for me, tonight was my final attempt to get any enjoyment out of the film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.