The Great Outdoors

1988 PG 1h 31m DVD

The Great Outdoors

1988 PG 1h 31m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Chet Ripley takes his family to a lakeside resort for a quiet vacation away from it all. When his brother-in-law Roman shows up with his family, Mother Nature steps in to add her two cents.
John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Stephanie Faracy, Annette Bening, Chris Young, Ian Giatti, Robert Prosky, Lucy Deakins, John Bloom
Howard Deutch
Widescreen 1.85:1
Spanish (Neutral)
French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 11+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 11+
age 11+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that numerous scenes with images of bears on the attack, fangs, and teeth bared (no matter how unrealistically and amateurishly these sequences have been filmed), as well as frequent use of potty language (lots of "ass," "s--t" in various forms) and swearing make this comedy inappropriate and potentially frightening for the youngest kids. There is also a scary dog; scenes in which two young children are lost and trapped in an underground tunnel; "ghost" stories about dangerous bears (with fantasy flashbacks) designed to frighten the kids in the story. Sexuality includes a silly foreplay scene in which a husband partially undresses his wife as they cuddle, only to get caught when another family arrives unannounced. There are some teen kisses, drinking, and some smoking (including teens).

Sexual Content

Silly, exaggerated cuddling and sexual repartee between a husband and wife, which ends with visual of wife beginning to undress; her bare back is shown. A few romantic kisses between a teen boy and girl. One shot of a girl being "goosed" by a pool cue.


Lots of cartoonish, slapstick violence involving a scary dog with bared teeth; numerous shots and sequences of bears with fangs, bared teeth, chasing and threatening the families. Father tells a scary story about a bear with a taste for blood attacking people in a mental hospital, and a story with flashbacks about his own encounter with a "vicious" bear. Two children get trapped in a well with bears threatening. One punch to the face.


Frequent mild cursing and use of potty language: "s--t," "asshole," "butthead," "sonofabitch," "bastard," "Jesus Christ," "dick," etc.

Social Behavior

The importance of family togetherness and open communication is stressed in dialogue (though not necessarily realized in the story). Materialism leads to selfishness and lack of joy. In one scene a leading character orders a drink by saying "I'm driving. Club soda for me." (Note: While the movie preaches nature's beauty and wonder, it shows it as mostly frightening and unwelcoming.)


Leinenkugel Beer, Kidder skis, Point Beer.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Some casual drinking at meals, during leisure moments, and in a bar. Smoking in numerous scenes, including one teen shown with a cigarette, reflecting values when this film was made in 1988.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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