All 6 Vacation Movies in Order: National Lampoon’s Vacation Movies

The iconic road trip adventure movie that was a huge commercial success, National Lampoon Vacation, was full of laughs and laid the foundation for many future adventure movies. The movies are filled to the brim with quick and well-timed humor and a bucket load of iconic skits and moments.

The movies follow the Griswold family as they go on wild long road trips but tend to get into huge trouble and always get robbed of all their money. Taking a place in everyone’s heart, was Clark who always has the right intentions behind his plans, but they would end up going awry anyway.

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So if you want to dive right into the misadventures of the Griswold family or if you want to rewatch these movies in the correct order, you have come to the right place. This article has all the information you need to know about the movies, so grab your freshly made popcorn and ready yourself for a funny and misfortunate ride.

National Lampoon’s Vacation Movies

All 6 Vacation Movies in Order: National Lampoon’s Vacation Movies

  1. National Lampoon’s Vacation

    Streaming On: HBO MAX

    Director: Harold Ramis

    Writer: John Hughes

    Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Anthony Michael Hall, Miriam Flynn, Dana Barron, Randy Quaid, John Candy, Eddie Bracken, Brian Doyle-Murray, James Keach, Christie Brinkley, Eugene Levy, Frank McRae, Imogene Coca

    Genres: Adventure, Comedy

    National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) on IMDb

    Starting their journey with the intention of getting close to each other, what the Griswold family doesn’t know is that they are in for a ride of their life. With unfortunate events constantly disrupting their trip, will the family give up or push through?

    Wanting to spend more time with his family, Clark decides to go on a cross-country vacation from Chicago to California to an amusement park. Due to some dealer problems, Clark is forced to buy an ugly station wagon.

    When they stop in Kansas, one of their relatives forces them to take Aunt Edna and her mean dog and drop her in Phoenix. After taking a rest stop, the next day Clark forgets to untie the dog from the bumper and drives away, which kills the dog. Learning about her dog, Edna becomes really angry. 

    Due to an argument with his wife Ellen, Clark loses focus and crashes his car. Clark reunites with his family who a mechanic had rescued. The mechanic extorts the family out of all their cash and fixes their car so that it barely runs.

    When Clark tries to stay in a hotel, the family realizes that they have no money and lost their cards. By distracting the employee, Clark steals from the register and pays for the room. The next day they find out that Aunt Edna died, so they tie her corpse to the roof and cover her up. Clark drops her off in Phoneix with a note attached to her.

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    When the family discovers that the park is closed for the next two weeks, Clark loses it, buys a realistic BB gun, and threatens security to open the park. Aight as Clark is about to get arrested, the park’s owner notices Clark’s passion and lets him in. The movie ends with a montage of the family enjoying the park.

    Brimming full of jokes, super funny skits, and sharp dialogue, National Lampoon Vacation is absolutely hilarious. Chevy Chase and Beverly D. Angelo play their role superbly and give the on-screen family a very authentic feel.

  2. National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985)

    Streaming On: HBO MAX

    Director: Amy Heckerling

    Writers: John Hughes, Robert Klane

    Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Dana Hill, Kevi Kendall, John Astin, Paul Bartel, Sheila Kennedy, Cynthia Szigeti, Jason Lively, Malcolm Danare, Peter Hug, William Zabka, Gary Owens, Jeannette Charles

    Genres: Adventure, Comedy

    National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985) on IMDb

    Following in the footsteps of the previous installment, we get to see the Griswold family go an all-expense-paid international misadventure. While the family keeps their hopes high at the start, they start losing it as unfortunate events start unfolding.

    After winning an all-expense paid trip to Europe, Clark forces his reluctant family to accompany him. When the family reaches London, the trip starts to go awry as the family has to deal with a rash driver. As the family travels to Paris, Rome, and Germany, the vacation takes a turn for the worse.

    The Grisworlds win an all-expenses-paid tour to England from a game show. As the family reaches London, they notice how horrible their hotel is. Their cab driver drives very rashly and even knocks over some bicyclists. When Clark tries to drive, he gets stuck in a roundabout for hours.

    In Paris, the family’s camcorder gets stolen, Clark is made fun of in French, and Rusty is made fun of for wearing a beret. On the Eiffel Tower, Clark throws the beret off the tower and a dog mistakes it for a frisbee and jumps off, but lands safely in a pool.

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    Next, the family goes to a German village, where an elderly couple mistakes them for their relatives and hosts them for two whole days. While in the village, Clark turns a group dance into a street brawl and knocks down several street vendor shops.

    In Rome, the family rents a car from a shop, unbeknownst to them the owner was shoved into their trunk, while the shop was run by thieves. The thieves return to steal the keys to the car and kidnap Ellen when she refuses. Clark follows the thieves around town and rescues Ellen.

    The movie ends with Clark causing a plane to hit the torch of the Statue of Liberty causing it to turn upside down.

    With some of the most iconic scenes in the whole series, National Lampoon’s European Vacation is a super entertaining watch. The humor keeps up with the first movie while the skits ramp up through out its runtime. 

  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

    Streaming On: Can be rented from – Apple TV, Amazon Video, YouTube

    Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik

    Writer: John Hughes

    Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Lewis, John Randolph, Diane Ladd, William Hickey, E. G. Marshall, Randy Quaid, Doris Roberts, Miriam Flynn, Johnny Galecki, Cody Burger, Ellen Hamilton, Mae Questel

    Genre: Comedy

    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) on IMDb

    Now a Christmas classic, in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation we follow Clark as he wants to set up the perfect Christmas for his family. Trying his best to make the night a success, his plans are foiled by one person or the other. 

    Wanting to give the family a good Christmas, Clark takes the family out to the countryside to get the biggest tree. Noticing that he forgot the required tools, Clark uproots the tree. Though Clark and Ellen’s parent bicker, Clark maintains a positive attitude. He puts thousands of lights on his house, which causes a citywide power shortage. Slowly but surely, the guests in the house start piling up.

    Clark begins to wonder why his boss Frank, hasn’t sent his bonus because he really needs it. When the dinner ends in disaster and one of the guests burns down the Christmas tree, Clarks starts losing it. When Clark receives a jelly club membership instead of a bonus he wishes to smack-talk his boss face to face.

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    After the family is held at gunpoint by a SWAT team for kidnapping Frank, Frank has a change of heart and reinstates the bonus. By mistake, another guest lights a giant gas explosion which sends Santa flying in his sleigh, reigniting the spirit of Christmas.

    Now a modern classic, the movie has everything that any other Christmas movie would have with a boatload of sharp humor and iconic skits. The movie embraces the spirit of Christmas and Clark not giving up on giving his family an enjoyable Christmas was commendable.

  4. Vegas Vacation

    Streaming On: FuboTV, HBO MAX

    Director: Stephen Kessler

    Writers:Elisa Bell, Bob Ducsay

    Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Ethan Embry, Randy Quaid, Sid Caesar, Wayne Newton, Miriam Flynn, Siegfried Fischbacher, Wallace Shawn, Roy Horn, Shae D’lyn, Marisol Nichols, Juliette Brewer

    Genre: Comedy

    Vegas Vacation (1997) on IMDb

    Despite the failures in their previous adventures, the Griswolds have not learned their lesson and decide to take a trip to Vegas. As the family reaches Vegas, the trip starts falling apart right away, as Ellen starts hanging out with a Celebrity who is in love with her, Rusty becomes a gambler, Audrey becomes a stripper, and Clark gambles all his money away.

    After Clark gets a sizeable amount of money, he decides to take his family on a trip to Vegas. While exploring the hoover dam, Clark gets separated from the group after he causes a leak in the dam. Due to the water noise, Clark has to climb very high to shout for help.

    The next day, the family goes their own ways. Clark becomes addicted to gambling and keeps losing, Rusty buys a fake ID to gamble with and becomes a high-rolling gambler, Audrey starts hanging out with strippers, and Ellen starts hanging out with Wayne Newton, who has feelings for her.

    When Clark gambles away the family bank account, the family deserts him. Rusty wins 4 cars and 4 slot machines, while Audrey joins the strip club. When Eddie, a relative helps Clark out by giving him some money. Clark gambles away that money too and decides that his family is more important.

    Clark gathers up his family and gambles the last two dollars on a ticket. He befriends a lonely old man and welcomes him to his family. Though he loses the lottery, the old man wins it and has a heart attack while celebrating. He revives for seconds where he hands over the tickets.

    With their newfound wealth, the family reunites and drives back in the 4 cars that Rusty won.

    Similar to other movies, Vegas Vacation hits all the right spots that a Vegas movie should like adult clubs, celebrities, and a huge amount of gambling. With guest appearances from Wayne Newton, the movie feels alive while the backdrop of Vegas gives it a very vibrant feel.

  5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2

    Streaming On: Can be rented from – Apple TV, Amazon Video, YouTube

    Director: Nick Marck

    Writer: Matty Simmons

    Stars: Kate Simmons, Jake Thomas, Randy Quaid, Chevy Chase, Ethan Embry, Marisol Nichols, Wayne Newton, Miriam Flynn, Siegfried, Sid Caesar, Shae D’lyn, Wallace Shawn, Beverly D’Angelo, Juliette Brewer

    Genre: Comedy

    Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie's Island Adventure (2003) on IMDb

    A Made-for-TV special movie, we follow the super incompetent Eddie as he tries his best to provide for his family as Christmas approaches fast. Due to a misunderstanding, Eddie is fired with a paid trip to an Island. When Eddie manages to strand his family on a deserted Island, will he be able to save his family?

    The movie starts with Cousin Eddie showcasing his new workplace, a nuclear facility where he works with a Chimpanzee. When the Chimpanzee outperforms Eddie in every test, he is fired. After an argument, the chimpanzee bites him.

    As a measure for preventing him from suing the company, the boss sends him and his family on a vacation to an island. There, while Eddie tries to catch a shark, their ship gets wrecked and the family is stranded on the island.

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    After failing at the start, Eddie is able to provide for his family safely and even lands the safety helicopter when the pilot is incapacitated. On landing, he finds out that he got his job back.

    The movie uses a lot of slapstick humor hand in hand with wonky CGI which gives the movie a very old and humorous feel. The story is very light while the spotlight is given to the characters. 

  6. Vacation

    Streaming On: Can be rented from – Apple TV, Amazon Video, YouTube

    Directors: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley

    Writer: Jonathan Goldstein, John Hughes, John Francis Daley

    Stars: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Emily Kincaid, Cameron McIntyre, Leslie Mann, Steele Stebbins, Beverly D’Angelo, Chris Hemsworth, Chevy Chase, Charlie Day, Catherine Missal, Skyler Gisondo, Ron Livingston

    Genre: Adventure, Comedy

    Vacation (2015) on IMDb

    Released over 12 years after its predecessor, we follow Rusty Griswold as he misses the road trips that he used to take with his parents and decides to take a trip with his family to rekindle his relationship with them. Little did Rusty know that the trips would turn out exactly like the previous ones.

    Tired of his repetitive everyday job, Rusty Griswold wants to take a road trip with his wife Debbie, and two sons James and Kevin. Rusty decides to cancel the annual to their cabin in Wisconsin and rents an ugly-looking SUV to go from California to Walley World.

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    In Memphis, the family discovers that Debbie was a ‘Sorority’ girl nicknamed ‘Debbie Do Anything’. Debbie tries to justify her nickname but fails miserably in the process. In Arkansas, the family is misguided by a fake tour guide. The family returned to find their SUV broken into and robbed.

    Next, the family stops in Arizona, where Debbie and Rusty get away to have some personal time at the Four Corners Monuments. While there, they are caught by 4 policemen. Debbie and Rusty get away as the four argue about who makes the arrest.

    The next day, the family’s SUV breaks down and Rusty’s ignorance sets it on fire. Unfortunately, the family is tracked down by a trucker who has been stalking them for the whole journey. The trucker returns Debbie her lost wedding ring and gives the family a lift to San Francisco.

    In San Fransico, at Rusty’s parent’s Bed and Breakfast, the couple confronts each other about their stale marriage and decides to start over. The family decides to go to the park and successfully finish their trip.

    After spending a whole day in the waiting line, another family cuts the family off, and an all-out brawl breaks out, and the Grisworlds win. Using his connections in the airlines, Rusty sets up a trip to Paris with Debbie and leaves the kids with the neighbors.

    As a salute to the Original 1983 Vacation movie, Vacation 2015 captures the original’s rustic and wholesome feel, while adding new and well-timed quips and humor. The message that no matter how hard the times get, a family sticks through it really shines through.


So these were all the Vacation movies in chronological order. Though released over a span of 40 years, all Vacation movies have plots which are not interrelated and are stand-alone movies, so you could also jump around each of the movies and enjoy them in your preferred order. These movies hold up well and are still some of the best road trip adventure movies in the genre.

After the huge success that was the first movie, the franchise has spawned multiple sequels which follow the same formula of vacation disasters that revolve around the Griswold family, but give it a twist to add some spice to the movies. So if you are looking to get into a funny road trip misadventure franchise, the Vacation movies might be the one for you.

Vacation Movies According To IMDb Ratings

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – 7.5 By 204K Votes
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – 7.3 By 114K Votes
  • National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) – 6.2 By 69K Votes
  • Vacation (2015) – 6.1 By 117K Votes
  • Vegas Vacation (1997) – 5.9 By 51K Votes

Vacation Movies According To Box Office Collection

  • Vacation (2015) – $104.1 Million
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) – $71.3 Million
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – $61.4 Million 
  • National Lampoon’s European Vacation (1985) – $49.4 Million 
  • Vegas Vacation (1997) – $36.4 Million


How many Vacation movies were there?

5+1. There are a total of 5 full-length movies released in the theaters and one Made-for-TV.

In what order should I watch the Vacation movies?

Release Order. The vacation movies can easily be enjoyed as standalone movies, to understand them completely you should follow the release order which goes as follow – 1. National Lampoon’s Vacation, 2. National Lampoon’s European Vacation, 3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 4. Vegas Vacation, 5. Vacation.

Are there 2 Christmas Vacation movies?

Yes. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a full-length feature film that was released in 1989 and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2 which was a Made-for-TV that was released in 2003.

Why is Vacation rated R?

Vacation has been rated R due to the presence of sexually explicit content used throughout the movie and some brief graphic nudity.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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