Although released in 1983, this Christmas classic is set in late 1930s or early 1940s (some sources say specifically 1940), so it fits with the nostalgic focus of most of the films on our holiday watchlist. Set in a small Midwestern town, it doesn’t fit with 2022’s theme of “Christmas in New York,” but it is one of the Christmas essentials, so we must watch it.
Ralphie dreams of getting Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, even though his mother, his teacher, and even the department store Santa insist “you’ll put your eye out.” The film strings together 10 different vignettes that capture family life in the 1930s, but Ralphie finally gets his gun.
NEW YORK CONNECTION
There’s not a single connection to New York.
A Christmas parade, Santa ringing his bell, buying a Christmas tree, and all of the key nostalgic rituals are packed into a single movie.
Melinda Dillon also played a mother in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977). Darren McGavin is best known for his TV role in Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
I couldn’t find any connection to Fred Astaire, either.
WHY WE LOVE THIS MOVIE
I remember hearing Jean Shepherd’s late-night radio program in the early 1960s from New York’s WOR station. His low-key storytelling won me from the first time I heard it, and his jocular narration of this film is actually my favorite part of the movie.