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All Ralphie wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun 4.5 Stars

Warner’s wave of Christmas movies includes A Christmas Story, featuring a new 4K scan.

A Christmas Story (1983)
Released: 18 Nov 1983
Rated: PG
Runtime: 93 min
Director: Bob Clark
Genre: Comedy, Family
Cast: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Writer(s): Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown, Bob Clark
Plot: In the 1940s, a young boy named Ralphie Parker attempts to convince his parents, teacher, and Santa Claus that a Red Ryder Range 200 Shot BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift.
IMDB rating: 7.9
MetaScore: 77

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 2.0 DD, French 2.0 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 Hr. 33 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 11/01/2022
MSRP: $33.99

The Production: 4/5

It’s hard to believe that Bob Clark’s nostalgic film from 1983, A Christmas Story, was considered a box office disappointment during its original theatrical run, earning $20.8 million on a $3.3 million budget, but was only playing in a handful of theaters the week of Christmas that year. It was home video and eventually its 24 hour marathon airings on cable channels TNT and TBS on Christmas Eve where the film finally found its audience and a place on the National Film Registry in 2012.

Based on Jean Shephard’s collection of short stories In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash, the film is a series of vignettes of living in 1940s Indiana tied together by young Ralphie’s (Peter Billingsley) desire to have a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas that year, even though his mother (Melinda Dillon) fears that Ralphie will poke his eye out with the rifle. The more memorable vignettes include Ralphie’s father (a perfectly cast Darren McGavin) winning the leg lamp and proudly wanting to display it in the front living room window; secret decoder rings on radio programs that were nothing more than marketing gimmicks; visiting Santa Claus at the department store; and of course, the triple-dog-dare of sticking your tongue to an ice-cold flagpole. What makes the film so endearing is its nostalgia factor, wry sense of humor, and attention to detail in its period production design.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

A Christmas Story has never looked good on home video. Part of it was due to the way it was shot to reflect the time period, utilizing diffused lenses and a soft focus, but the biggest issue that plagued the myriad of DVD and Blu-ray releases over the years was the recycling of a dated HD transfer. Warner has finally created a new 4K scan of the film, which breathes new life into this now classic film. Colors are now much more vivid, and the image is slightly sharper and more focused, looking more like it was shot on 35mm film rather than 16mm (which is how the previous Blu-ray, DVD, VHS, and even broadcast versions appeared). The 2160p HEVC-encoded transfer includes HDR10, which helps to provide better contrast with deeper blacks and brighter highlights. There are still instances of softness, mostly sequences that were heavy in opticals, such as Ralphie’s fantasies. This new transfer also restores the film’s intended aspect ratio of 1.85:1 (previous releases were opened up to 1.78:1). Good news for those who have not upgraded to 4K yet, as the included Blu-ray has been remastered using the same new 4K scan as its source.

Audio: 4/5

While Warner has decided to keep the film’s audio in its original mono, this time around that mono track has been encoded in lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 on both the UHD and Blu-ray discs, allowing for a slightly wider dynamic range and better fidelity. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 4.5/5

The UHD Disc includes one special feature – the excellent audio commentary track. Otherwise, everything else ported over from previous releases can be found on the included Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary with Actor Peter Billingsley and Director Bob Clark: Accessible on both UHD and Blu-ray discs.

Christmas in Ohio: “A Christmas Story” House (1080p; 21:15): House owner and curator Brian Jones and actor Ian Patrella (who played Randy in the film) take us on a tour of the A Christmas Story museum in Cleveland, Ohio, which was recently put up for sale.

Another Christmas Story (upscaled 1080p; 18:18): 20-year retrospective of the film, features interviews with Billingsley, Clark, R.D. Robb (Schwartz), Scott Schwartz (Flick), and Zack Ward (Scut Farkus).

Daisy Red Ryder: A History (upscaled 1080p; 5:18): A look at the history and manufacturing of the Red Ryder air rifle.

Get a Leg Up (upscaled 1080p; 4:38): A tribute to the fine artisans behind the leg lamp.

“Flash Gordon” Deleted Script Pages (1080p): Slide show of script pages from the deleted scene discussed in the commentary.

The Leg Lamp Spot (upscaled 1080p; 0:49): TV commercial on how to purchase a replica of the leg lamp from the movie for a low, low price of $169.95.

Jean Shephard Original Radio Reading: The author himself reads two classic stories in this audio-only feature – Duel in the Snow, or Red Ryder Nails the Cleveland Street Kid (38:07) and Flick’s Tongue (30:50).

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 2:10)

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy in UHD (where available) on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 4.5/5

Warner finally provides a decent transfer of the holiday classic A Christmas Story, porting over many special features from previous editions.

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Todd Erwin

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Bo Henry

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A Christmas Story was a yearly viewing tradition in my house when I was growing up. My father and I would watch it when TBS (or TNT, or both) would the "24 hours of A Christmas Story" marathon on Christmas Day.

In the years since, I've tried to revisit it, and while it continues to hold nostalgia, I cannot get over the foul language. I just cannot "jive" with it anymore like I could years ago.
 

Tino

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A Christmas Story was a yearly viewing tradition in my house when I was growing up. My father and I would watch it when TBS (or TNT, or both) would the "24 hours of A Christmas Story" marathon on Christmas Day.

In the years since, I've tried to revisit it, and while it continues to hold nostalgia, I cannot get over the foul language. I just cannot "jive" with it anymore like I could years ago.
What foul language??
 

Dick

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A Christmas Story was a yearly viewing tradition in my house when I was growing up. My father and I would watch it when TBS (or TNT, or both) would the "24 hours of A Christmas Story" marathon on Christmas Day.

In the years since, I've tried to revisit it, and while it continues to hold nostalgia, I cannot get over the foul language. I just cannot "jive" with it anymore like I could years ago.

Excuse me? "Foul language"? The one truly "foul" word (that was only implied) in the movie was replaced with "fudge." The expletives that Ralphie's father spews when angry are all disguised within a flurry of gibberish. So, unless you consider "damn," "son of a bitch" and "hell" -- all of which have been part of the common vernacular of children since they were teething -- to be "foul" language, I'm not sure what you are referring to. Perhaps, all these years, I have been watching a "PG"-rated version of the "PG13" or "R" rated one you are familiar with, in which case I just think I've been patently fudged since 1983. ;)
 

Noel Aguirre

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Earned $20M on a $3M budget and in only a handful of theaters is considered a box office disappointment? In what school of economics does that kind of statement exist? Something doesn’t make sense here
 
Last edited:

John*Wells

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Received mine in the mail today with a Blu Ray copy included. Already had the DVD. Can’t wait to see the 4K UHD scan

Hopefully Warner will also release A Christmas Story Christmas. On physical media. It’s good
 

Jeffrey D

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Watching this now. I like what I see- the colors are very nice, and since the sharpness is a bit lacking, I think there has been no over sharpening or grain scrubbing. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.