Directed by Bob Clark, the holiday classic A CHRISTMAS STORY follows Ralphie who is looking to navigate the all-important Christmas season so he can get the “Holy Grail” of Christmas presents.
AFI Movie Club: A CHRISTMAS STORY
Watch A CHRISTMAS STORY star Peter Billingsley go “Behind the Scene” and talk about filming the holiday classic in this exclusive conversation.
Watch production designer Reuben Freed go “Behind the Scene” and talk about filming A CHRISTMAS STORY in this exclusive conversation.
DID YOU KNOW? A CHRISTMAS STORY is based on a short story called “The Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid” from author Jean Shepherd’s 1966 book, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” Shepherd co-wrote the screenplay for A CHRISTMAS STORY with director Bob Clark and Leigh Brown.
DID YOU KNOW? Twelve-year-old star Peter Billingsley had a dialogue coach to help him memorize and pronounce the lengthy name of the iconic Red Ryder 200-Shot Carbine Action Air Rifle that his character wanted so badly for Christmas.
DID YOU KNOW? One of the reasons A CHRISTMAS STORY was filmed in Cleveland, OH, was the presence of Higbee’s – a family-owned department store built in the 1920s, which was one of the major set pieces in the film. The owners permitted the production to shoot in the store and construct the huge Santa’s Mountain on the main floor.
DID YOU KNOW? While filming A CHRISTMAS STORY, Cleveland was experiencing one of its warmest winters of the century. The filmmakers needed snow for the outdoor scenes in the film, so the special effects department used potato flakes to create flying snow, huge bales of shredded vinyl for set dressing and firefighter’s foam to simulate snow on the ground, trees and houses.
DID YOU KNOW? The writers of A CHRISTMAS STORY all make cameos in the film. Jean Shepherd, upon whose short story the screenplay was based, can be seen with writer Leigh Brown standing behind him, directing Ralphie and Randy to the end of the line to see Santa. Shepherd is also the voice of Ralphie as an adult throughout the film. Director Bob Clark also appears as the family’s neighbor, Swede.
DID YOU KNOW? Turner Broadcasting’s annual tradition of broadcasting a 24–hour marathon of A CHRISTMAS STORY began in 1997. Since then, the Christmas classic has aired on TNT/TBS every year, beginning on Christmas Eve and finishing on Christmas night.
Learn more at the AFI Catalog.
The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Discussion Questions
- What is the “coup de gras” of all dares? As a kid, what was the craziest dare you participated in?
- What are some of the differences between Ralphie’s perspective on life and his mother’s? How does the film capture the worldview of a child?
- Why does Old Man Parker believe that his wife dislikes the lamp? Why does she really dislike the lamp?
- What is the “Holy Grail” of Christmas gifts? Did you have a “Holy Grail” when you were young?
- Why does Turner Broadcasting show A CHRISTMAS STORY for 24 hours? What makes the Christmas classic suited for repeatable viewings?
- How would you rate A CHRISTMAS STORY?
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