A Christmas Story

A true television classic, The Homecoming was the second movie (after 1963's Spencer's Mountain) based on Earl Hamner's autobiographical writings about love, pride, faith, and survival in rural America during the Great Depression. The Homecoming introduced the Walton family, a 1930s mountain clan living a hardscrabble existence that forces patriarch John Walton (Andrew Duggan) to seek work, far from home, in the city. When John fails to return home, as promised, on Christmas Eve, his iron-willed wife Olivia (Patricia Neal) keeps a lid on their children's worry. Oldest son John-Boy (Richard Thomas), who privately dreams of becoming a writer but worries about disappointing his parents, is dispatched to find his dad. Graceful yet harder-edged than the subsequent TV series The Waltons (which recast several characters and ran for nine years), The Homecoming reveals, albeit understatedly, much about the pain of poverty even as the family draws strength and closeness through endurance. --Tom Keogh

Year:
1983
2,851 Views

Flick:
You're full of beans, and so is your old man.

Scott Schwartz:
Oh, yeah?

Flick:
Yeah!

Scott Schwartz:
Says who?

Flick:
Says me!

Scott Schwartz:
Oh, yeah?

Flick:
Yeah!

Scott Schwartz:
Well, I double-dare ya!

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] The exact exchange and nuance of phrase in this ritual is very important.

Flick:
Huh! Are you kidding? Stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That's dumb.

Scott Schwartz:
That's 'cause you know it'll stick!

Flick:
You're full of it!

Scott Schwartz:
Oh, yeah?

Flick:
Yeah!

Scott Schwartz:
Well I double dog-dare ya!

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Now it was serious. A double dog-dare. What else was left but a "triple-dare you"? And finally, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple dog-dare.

Flick:
[over narrator's voice] This guy's really dumb.

Scott Schwartz:
I triple dog-dare ya!

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Hmm. Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple-dare and going right for the throat!

Flick:
All right, all right.

[Flick sighs and hesitantly sticks his tongue out]

Scott Schwartz:
Oh, go on, smart-ass, and do it!

Flick:
[tongue out] I'm goin', I'm goin'!

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Flick's spine stiffened, his lips curled in a defiant sneer. There was no going back now.

Flick:
[puts his tongue on pole] This is nothin'. [tries to pull off, but can't and realizes Schwartz was right.] Stuck? Stuck?! STUCK! STUCK! [he starts screaming and bawling]

Schwartz:
Jeez! It really works! Look at him!

[the school bell rings and the students run back to the school except Flick, who keeps bawling]

Flick:
Ralphie, come back! Come back! Don't leave me, come back!

Ralphie:
But the bell rang!

Scott Schwartz:
Well, what are we gonna do?!

Ralphie:
I don't know, the bell rang!

Flick:
Don't leave me, come back! Come back, come back! [he bawls as he is still stuck to the pole]

[Mr. Parker accidentally flips the hubcap out of Ralphie's hands with the nuts in it]

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Oh! For one brief moment, I saw all the bolts silhouetted against the lights of the traffic, and then they were gone.

Ralphie:
Ohhh, fffffuuuuuudge.

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Only I didn't say "fudge." I said the word. The Big One, The Queen Mother of Dirty Words: The "F-Dash-Dash-Dash" word.

Mr. Parker:
[stunned] What did you say?

Ralphie:
Uh, um--

Mr. Parker:
That's... what I thought you said. Get in the car. [Ralph hesitates] Go on.

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] It was all over; I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child's play compared to what surely awaited me.

[Ralphie gets into the car.]

Mrs. Parker:
Everything go alright?

[Ralphie doesn't answer.]

Mr. Parker:
[closes the trunk and checks his watch] Ah!

[Ralphie watches Mr. Parker gets into the car]

Mrs. Parker:
8 minutes.

Mr. Parker:
You know what your son just said?

Mrs. Parker:
No. What?

Mr. Parker:
I'll tell you what he said. Randy?

[He inaudibly whispers the "F-Dash-Dash-Dash" word in Mrs. Parker's ear]

Mrs. Parker:
[shocked] AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! RALPHIE!!!!

[scene switches to Ralphie with soap in his mouth]

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Over the years, I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. My personal preference is for Lux, but I found Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor; heady, but with just a touch of mellow smoothness. Lifebuoy, on the other hand--

Ralphie:
[disgusted] Yuck!

Mrs. Parker:
You ready to tell me?

Ralphie:
[mumbles and nods his head.]

Mrs. Parker:
[removes soap from his mouth] All right. Where did you hear that word?

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Now, I had heard that word at least 10 times a day from my old man. My father worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master. But I chickened out, and I blurted out the first name that came to mind.

Ralphie:
Schwartz!

Mrs. Parker:
[satisfied] Oh... I see. [puts soap back in Ralphie's mouth]

Ralphie:
[yells with soap in his mouth]

Mrs. Parker:
[dials Mrs. Schwartz] Hello, Mrs. Schwartz? Yes, I'm fine. Um, Mrs. Schwartz, do you know what Ralph just said?

Mrs. Schwartz:
[indistinguishable]

Mrs. Parker:
No. He said... [inaudibly whispers the "F-Dash-Dash-Dash" word into the phone]

Mrs. Schwartz:
[through phone] NO, NOT THAT!

Mrs. Parker:
Yes, that. Do you know where he heard it?

Mrs. Schwartz:
[through phone] Probably from his father.

Mrs. Parker:
No! He heard it from your son!

Mrs. Schwartz:
[through phone, angrily screaming] WHAT?! WHAAAAAAT?! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?! [She is heard in the background smacking Schwartz, and Mrs. Parker covers her mouth in shock.]

Schwartz:
AAAAGH!!! WHAT'D I DO, MOM?! WHAT, I DIDN'T DO NOTHING!!!! AAAAAAAGH!!!!!! [Mrs. Parker winces as Schwartz screams and bawls in pain, with his mother shrieking and wailing in the process. she then puts the phone back and hangs up]

Ralphie as Adult:
[narrating] Another shot of mysterious, inexorable official justice.

Mrs. Parker:
[takes soap of Ralphie's mouth.] Rinse out and go to bed. Ooh, am I glad you finished your homework this afternoon, 'cause I want you getting right into bed, and I don't want to see any lights on. You are being punished, so no comic-book-reading. I'm gonna come in there, and if there are any lights on-- [shocked] W-- Don't you give me that look,you're gonna get it!

Mr. Parker:
[admiring Randy sleeping in the mess of gift wrap] My gosh, would you look at that mess? Who's going to clean the papers up?

Ralphie:
Not me.

Mr. Parker:
Oh, really? Randy did it last year.

Ralphie:
Well, he can do it again.

Mr. Parker:
You know, this wine ain't bad. You want a sip?

Ralphie:
Yeah.

Mrs. Parker:
No, you don't. Did you have a nice Christmas?

Ralphie:
Yeah, pretty nice.

Mr. Parker:
Yeah? Did you get everything you wanted?

Ralphie:
[thinking about not getting the BB gun] Well, almost.

Mr. Parker:
Almost, huh? Well, that's life. Well, there's always next Christmas.

Ralphie:
Yep.

Mr. Parker:
[feigns a surprised look] Hey. That's funny. What's that over there behind the desk?

Ralphie:
Where?

Mr. Parker:
Uh...behind the desk against the wall over there... Go check it out. Go on.

[Ralphie goes to the desk and pulls out a large present]

Mrs. Parker:
What did we put over there, honey?

Mr. Parker:
[stammers] Uh, Santa Claus probably put it.

Ralphie:
[opens gift to see a Red Ryder BB gun] WOW!

[Mrs. Parker is not pleased at the sight of the BB gun]

Mr. Parker:
[laughs] Do you know how to load it?

Ralphie:
Yeah. [loads gun]

Mr. Parker:
C-careful. They run all over. Close it up. Close it up.

Ralphie:
[delighted] Can I...Can I try it out, Ma? Can I?

Mr. Parker:
Sure.

Mrs. Parker:
[reluctantly] Okay. But outside. Oh... I still say those things are dangerous. [Ralphie leaves] No, no! Put on your galoshes and your coat. It's cold out! [looks at Mr. Parker, not pleased]

Mr. Parker:
But...I had one when I was eight years old.

Mrs. Parker:
What if he hurts himself? Ralphie, your coat! Don't shoot any animals or birds.

Mr. Parker:
Except the Bumpuses' dogs!

Mrs. Parker:
Oh, hush. Be careful, Ralphie!

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