Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that National Lampoon's Vacation is a 1983 comedy filled with inappropriate behavior from both adults and tweens. There is frequent profanity, including a tirade filled with "f--k," brief female nudity (breasts), sexual innuendo, an incest joke, and a dog killed after being left leashed to the back bumper of a station wagon after driving down the highway. Though drug use and sex are never seen, they're very frequently implied and are generally the butts of jokes. The father comes close to cheating on his wife but doesn't succeed and realizes that he loves his wife. As with every other social taboo this film encounters, the father's almost-cheating is treated as a joke, as he is rather inept at it. Two tween boys look at pornographic magazines and talk about masturbation. Two tween girls look at a shoebox one of them keeps that's filled with marijuana; she later gives five joints to the girl on the road trip, who acts giggly and high in later scenes. An elderly woman dies on a road trip and is left in the rain on a lawn chair in the backyard of a relative who isn't home. There's also gunplay and use of the word "retard."
Naked breasts during a shower scene. Tween boys look at pornographic magazines as one tween tells the other about masturbating. Implied oral sex discussed between a husband and wife. Implied incest. A well-known supermodel skinny-dips in a swimming pool; no nudity. Sexualized behavior from this supermodel throughout; the father nearly has a fling with her.
Lead character pulls a "gun" on theme park security guards (later revealed to be a BB gun). A bartender fires a rifle at the main character. Though not shown, a dog is killed when left leashed to the back bumper of a station wagon as a family drives down the highway. Reckless driving -- characters fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of their vehicles while driving fast or getting lost.
"F--k," including a lengthy tirade by one of the lead characters in which "f--k" is frequently employed. "A--hole," "s--t," "damn," "son of a bitch," "retard." A euphemism for masturbation used by a tween character. "Honky Lips" spray-painted on the side of the station wagon driven by the Griswalds.
In its own weird way, this movie shows how families bond over ridiculous and trying situations.
Neon signs for Budweiser and Miller High Life in bar windows. Characters drink from plainly visible cans of Coors beer.
Drugs / Tobacco /
A tween girl shows her cousin a shoebox filled with marijuana and rolls her several joints to take with her on a family road trip; the cousin giggles a lot and acts high in some of the later scenes. A father gives his tween son a beer as a "rite of passage," and the son chugs the beer. Drinking by adults; cigar and cigarette smoking.