No Christmas is complete without watching ‘A Christmas Story’ at least once, which isn’t that difficult since it airs nearly all day long.
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s practically impossible to escape at least a glimpse of 1983’s A Christmas Story. It’s a charming story based on the writings of Jean Shepherd about a 9-year-old boy named Ralphie and his quest to get “a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time,” the ultimate Christmas gift, despite assurances from everyone that he’ll “shoot his eye out.”
TBS and TNT run the movie a total of 12 times from Christmas Eve into the night of Christmas, so even as you’re cycling through channels desperately searching for something to watch, chances are you’ll at least see a flash of it going by.
Here are my 10 favorite quotes from the flick. If you’ve never seen it and don’t like spoilers, well, I don’t know why you’d still be reading, since it’s almost impossible to list quotes from a picture without some level of spoilers.
1. “He looks like a deranged Easter Bunny.”
The set-up for this line actually begins with item #9. Aunt Clara sends Ralphie a pink Easter Bunny outfit complete with bunny slippers. His mother forces him to try it on and show it off for the family, but Raphie’s father immediately recognizes the absurdity of the gift.
2. “He looks like a pink nightmare.”
This was Ralphie’s father’s response when his wife disputed quote #1.
3. “My father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium, a master.”
Though we barely hear any profanity during the movie — most of the “cursing” is reminiscent of the kind of cursing Yosemite Sam might have displayed during a Bugs Bunny cartoon — it’s clear that Ralphie’s dad is an expert.
4. “It was…soap poisoning.”
Sitting in punishment with a bar of soap in your mouth may seem like a quaint punishment these days, but Ralphie imagines the ultimate revenge of coming home to shock his parents with the news that this “cruelty” on their part led him to blindness.
5. “Fra-GEE-lay!” It must be Italian!” / “I think that says FRAGILE, honey.”
Raphie’s dad receives a “major award:” a lamp in the shape of a woman’s leg with black fishnet stocking. When it arrives, he’s so excited that he misreads the warning printed on the wooden crate.
6. “‘Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.’ Ovaltine? A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!”
Ralphie finally receives his long-awaited Little Orphan Annie decoder ring so he can decode the secret messages she delivers with such urgency during her radio program. But the first message he decodes turns out to be a promotion for the sponsor…and he wasn’t particularly pleased.
7. “The old man stood there, quivering with fury, stammering as he tried to come up with a real crusher. All he got out was…” / “Naddafinga!”
Here’s an example of Ralphie’s father’s penchant for profanity, which comes after the famous lamp is shattered.
8. “Deck the harrs with boughs of horry, fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra.”
A mishap at the end of the movie forces the family to go out to eat for Christmas dinner, and a Chinese restaurant is the only place open. The cooks lineup to sing Christmas carols to the family while the dinner is being prepared.
9. “Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.”
I think we’ve all had an ‘Aunt Clara’-type in our family. I certainly did…though I didn’t, fortunately, receive quite as horrible a gift as Ralphie did.
10. “Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”
True words of wisdom preceed the aforementioned mishap that ruins the family’s Christmas dinner.
Those are my picks for best quotes.
I hope you have a Merry Christmas (and that you at least get to see the movie once or twice).
How many times have you seen ‘A Christmas Story’? Do you watch each year?
Patrick is a Christian with more than 26 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.