The holiday season is over, and two classic family movies are leaving households everywhere along with it. As of Sunday, Dec. 31, National Lampoon's Vacation and National Lampoon's European Vacation are no longer available on Netflix. At the time of this writing, they are not on any subscription-based streaming services but are available on most video-on-demand (VOD) apps.
National Lampoon's Vacation premiered in 1983 and became an instant classic in the R-rated comedy genre. It stars Chevy Chase as Clark W. Griswold and Beverly D'Angelo as Ellen Griswold on a cross-country road trip with their children, Rusty (Anthony Michael Hall) and Audrey (Dana Barron). They encounter all manner of absurd obstacles on their trip from Chicago to southern California, and range far into madness before the ordeal is over. The movie was so popular that it inspired five sequels, including its direct continuation of European Vacation, which has now been removed from Netflix as well.
Vacation is an adaptation of a short story written by John Hughes called "Vacation '58," which was published by National Lampoon in 1979. It was optioned by Warner Bros. and adapted into a feature-length screenplay by Hughes, then directed by Harold Ramis. The original short story transparently used the name Disneyland for the theme park at the end of the family's trip, but the movie changed it to Walley World out of an abundance of caution.
Hughes was much less involved in European Vacation, though he was credited as a writer since the characters and premise stemmed from his original work. In a 2000 interview with Lollipop Magazine, Hughes explained that Warner Bros. executives had begged him to write a sequel to Vacation but he had declined, so they went on without him. However, he did return years later for National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which was based on his short story "Christmas '59."
European Vacation is much less revered than the original, with a 34 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes. In general, fans pay little attention to European Vacation, Christmas Vacation and Christmas Vacation 2. Meanwhile, the 2015 reboot Vacation starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate was critically panned but commercially successful.
Vacation is available now to rent or purchase on VOD services including Amazon Prime Video, iTunes and Google Play. At the time of this writing, it is no longer available on Netflix.