This article is about the 1990 version. For the recently-announced reboot, see Home Alone (reboot).
The McCallister family is preparing to spend Christmas with Peter and Frank's brother, Rob, in Paris, gathering at Peter and Kate's house in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, the night before their flight. Eight-year-old Kevin, their youngest son and the protagonist, finds himself the subject of ridicule from his siblings and cousins. After getting into a fight with his oldest brother, Buzz, who ate his cheese pizza on purpose, he is sent to the third floor bedroom, where he wishes that his family would disappear. They accidentally leaves him asleep in bed, as a power outage resets the time and causes them to oversleep. A neighbor boy named Mitch Murphy is mistaken for him in the head count, and they hastily depart to O'Hare International Airport, for a flight to Paris-Orly Airport. During the flight Kate realizes that they have left Kevin behind, and once they arrive at Paris-Orly, she immediately tries to book a return flight back to Chicago. She manages to fly to Dallas and Scranton, but the flight from there to Chicago is out of order. However, she does manage to hitch a ride with a man named Gus Polinski and his polka band, the Kenosha Kickers, who are driving to Milwaukee after their flight was cancelled due to a blizzard.
Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed to find that his wish came true. He gets away with Buzz's life savings, practices shooting with Buzz's BB gun, jumps on the bed, watches a gangster film that his Uncle Frank wouldn't let him watch the night before, and eats a large amount of junk food. However, he finds himself scared by the appearance of the Chicago Police Department called by his parents to check on him via pay phone from Paris-Orly, his next door neighbor, "Old Man" Marley, who is rumored to have murdered his family many years earlier, and the appearance of the Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants, who are robbing other vacant houses along the block. They are aware of which ones are vacant, as Harry impersonated a police officer in the beginning of the film doing wellness checks on families before they went out of town for Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, Kevin overhears Harry and Marv discussing plans for breaking into his house that night. After conversing with a Santa Claus impersonator and watching a local choir perform in the church in hopes to have his family return, he runs into Marley. They talk, and he realizes that Marley is in fact a very nice man and that none of the rumors about him are true. He tells Kevin he is watching the choir because his granddaughter is in it, and he never gets to see her because he and his son have not spoken in years after having had a big argument. Kevin advises him to reconcile with his son.
Kevin, his own spirits lifted by encouraging Marley, returns home to prepare a series of various booby traps around the house. Harry and Marv, who were initially fooled by his illusions that it is occupied, now realize that he is home alone and attempt to break in, running into the various booby traps. After they spring almost every one in the house, Kevin flees to the second floor and dials 911 from a landline. Harry and Marv manage to chase him out of the house; he flees to Marley's house, which is unlocked. They trap him when he runs to the top of the basement stairs and hang him on a coat hook on the door. They decide to do the same things that he did to them and Harry decides to bite his fingers one at a time first, but Marley sneaks up behind them and knocks them out with a snow shovel before taking Kevin off the hook and back home. Shortly after he is safely returned home, Harry and Marv are arrested. Additionally, the police were aware of every house that they have hit because of their habits of leaving the household's water running to leave their mark.
Kevin wakes up on Christmas morning and is disappointed to see that his family is still gone. He then hears Kate get home, calling for him. He goes downstairs, and they meet and reconcile. Immediately after, the rest of the family, having flown directly from Paris to Chicago, arrives. Kevin and Buzz have a moment of reconciliation. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, but Peter finds Harry's gold tooth and wonders what it is. Kevin then goes over to the window and sees Marley greeting his son and his family and discovers that he took his advice. While he is hugging his granddaughter, he looks up, sees Kevin, and waves to him (as a sign of thanking him). Kevin waves back, grinning, and watches as Marley heads inside with his family. However, Buzz interrupts Kevin's musings by suddenly calling out, "Kevin! What did you do to my room?!" He immediately runs off (probably to Buzz's room) before it fades to black.
- "Somewhere in My Memory"
- "Star of Bethlehem"
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Mel Torme
- "Please Come Home for Christmas" - Southside Johnny Lyon
- "White Christmas" - The Drifters
- "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee
- "Run Rudolph Run - Chuck Berry
- "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" (from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!)
- "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"
- "Carol of the Bells"
- "O Holy Night" ("Cantique de Noël")
The film's signature tune, "Somewhere in My Memory", was actually written by John Williams to "run alongside the film". It can be heard in numerous sections, either in full length or fragments, forming the backbone for the soundtrack and setting an innocent, nostalgic mood, mainly depicting Kevin's struggles and his sorrow, which is reflected in the lyrics. It has since been performed in many Christmas concerts in schools, professional orchestras, and choirs alike across the globe. A Spanish version was recorded in Spain for the closing credits; it was performed by singer Ana Belén and is entitled "Sombras de otros tiempos" ("Shadows of Other/Former Times").
Released by CBS Records in November 1990, the soundtrack contained 19 tracks consisting of the original score, composed by Williams, and other Christmas songs used in the film.
- "Main Titles" (4:53)
- "Holiday Flight" (0:59)
- "The House" (2:27)
- "Star of Bethlehem (Orchestral Version)" (2:51)
- "Man of the House" (4:33)
- "White Christmas" (2:40)
- "Scammed by a Kindergartner" (3:55)
- "Please Come Home For Christmas" (Southside Johnny) (2:41)
- "Follow That Kid!" (2:03)
- "Making the Plane" (0:52)
- "O Holy Night" (2:48)
- "Carol of the Bells" (1:25)
- "Star of Bethlehem" (2:59)
- "Setting the Trap" (2:16)
- "Somewhere in My Memory" (1:04)
- "The Attack on the House" (6:53)
- "Mom Returns and Finale" (4:19)
- "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" (Mel Tormé) (3:05)
- "We Wish You a Merry Christmas/End Title" (4:15)
|Macaulay Culkin||Kevin McCallister|
|John Heard||Peter McCallister|
|Roberts Blossom||"Old Man" Marley|
|Catherine O'Hara||Kate McCallister|
|Devin Ratray||Buzz McCallister|
|Gerry Bamman||Frank McCallister|
|John Candy||Gus Polinski|
|Larry Hankin||Officer Balzak|
|Michael C. Maronna||Jeff|
|Jedidiah Cohen||Rod McCallister|
|Jeffrey Wiseman||Mitch Murphy|
|Ray Toler||Rob McCallister|
|Billie Bird||Woman in airport|
|Bill Erwin||Man in airport|
|Clarke Devereux||Officer Devereux|
|Dan Charles Zukoski||Pizza boy|
|Lynn Mansbach||French woman|
|Alan Wilder||Scranton ticket agent|
|Hope Davis||French ticket agent|
|Dianne B. Shaw||Airline counter person|
|Tracy Connor||Check out girl|
|Jim Ryan||Stock boy|
|Kenneth Hudson Campbell||Santa Claus impersonator|
|Sandra Macat||Santa's elf|
|Ann Whitney||Drugstore clerk|
|Richard J. Firfer||Store manager|
|Kate Johnson||Police operator|
|Airport van drivers|
|Jean-Claude Sciore||French gate agent|
|Monica Devereux||Flight attendant #1|
Frank R. Cernugel
|Polka band members|
|Irene Columbus||Woman with baby on flight to Paris|
|Quinn Culkin||Girl at airport|
|Raja Gosnell||Murphy's answering machine voice|
|James Huffman||Kid at airport|
|Earl Hundt||Airport patron|
|Larry Nazimek||Airline pilot|
|Paul Ruffino||Polka van driver|
|Yuri Rutman||Sailor at airport|
|Luciano Saber||Airport traveler|
|Linda Wylie||Flight Attendant #2|
As with most of Hughes' films, the film was set—and most of it was shot—in the greater Chicago area. Any other shots, such as those of Paris, are either stock footage or film trickery. The scene where Kevin wades through Marley's flooded basement when trying to outsmart Harry and Marv was actually shot in the swimming pool of New Trier High School. A mock-up of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 business class was also put together there, on the basketball courts. 21st Century Fox picked up the project after Warner Bros.'s rejection when the budget escalated from $14 million to $17 million.
The Home Alone house, or more precisely 671 Lincoln Avenue, is a three-story single family home detached ones used for shooting most of the scenes in the film and the first few scenes of the sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. The kitchen was actually shot in the house, along with the main staircase, basement, and most of the first floor landing. However, the dining room, and all of the rooms downstairs (excluding the kitchen) were built on a soundstage. It is located in the village of Winnetka, Oak Park, a suburb of Chicago, located about 19 miles (30 km) north of the city in New Trier Township. It was built in 1920 and features 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a fully converted attic, a fireplace, a detached double garage, and a greenhouse. "Kevin's tree house" in the backyard was demolished, since it was built specifically for the film. It is listed as a Chicago-area tourist destination, as well as being cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies".
Following its original theatrical release, FoxVideo made the film available on VHS and Laserdisc in 1991.
The film made its DVD debut on October 5, 1999. This, which contained a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer version of it, was later repackaged in a Christmas Classics box set with those of A Christmas Carol, Jingle All the Way and Miracle on 34th Street, on November 7, 2006. It was repackaged again, this time with the DVDs of the first three Home Alone sequels, in another box set released on October 14, 2008.
A new DVD release with a higher-quality anamorphic widescreen transfer and several bonus features, labeled as the Family Fun Edition, was released on November 21, 2006. A Blu-ray edition of it was later released on December 2, 2008, and later included in a 2-pack with the Blu-ray release of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 2010. The Family Fun Edition Blu-ray was released again in 2011 as a combo pack that also contained the DVD and a Digital Copy. A 25th Anniversary Edition DVD and Blu-ray were released on October 6, 2015, both individually and in a "Collector's Edition" collection with Blu-rays and DVDs of the four sequels.
Novelization and deleted scenes
A children's novelization of the film was published several months prior to its initial November 1990 opening. It features chapters and pictures that showcase several large scenes that were filmed but deleted from the final film. One of the many notable cut scenes features Harry impersonating a police officer. This particular scene takes place directly after the McCallisters leaves for the airport. It also includes the burglars' surnames. Joe Pesci's character, Harry Lyme, is a reference to Orson Welles' character in the 1940s film The Third Man.
In its opening weekend, the film grossed $17 million in 1,202 theaters, averaging $14,211 per site and just 6% of the final total. It proved so popular that it stayed in theaters well past the Christmas season. It was the #1 film at the box office for 12 straight weeks, from its release weekend of November 16–18, 1990 through the weekend of February 1–3, 1991. It remained a top 10 draw at the box office until the weekend of April 26 that year, which was well past Easter weekend. It made two more appearances in the top 10 (the weekend of May 31-June 2 and the weekend of June 14–16) before finally falling out of the top 10. It ended up making a final gross of $285,761,243, the top grossing film of its year in North America. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest grossing live-action comedy ever.
By the time it had run its course in theaters, the film was the third highest grossing film of all time, according to the home video box. In total, its cinema run grossed $477,561,243 worldwide.
Though the film was a great success in theaters, critical reception to it has been mixed. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that the plot was too implausible and the entire film too contrived. Modern day review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave it a "Rotten" score of 47%. Reviewers cited that slapstick comedy has little appeal. The user section, however, on the site was positive with a "Fresh" score of 85% and a 63 out of 100 rating, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", at Metacritic. It received an Academy Award for Best Original Score nomination written by John Williams.
The film won two 1991 Young Artist Awards for Most Entertaining Comedy Movie and Best Actor Macaulay Culkin, portraying his lead role as Kevin. It also won the 1991 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Movie. It was also nominated for two 1991 Oscars for Best Score and Best Original Song.
The film was followed by a commercially successful sequel, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which was the only Home Alone follow-up to bring back the original cast from the first film.
Home Alone 3, released in 1997, had completely different actors and a completely different storyline. It was also the only film in the series to not be set on or around Christmas--it is set in January. For that reason, it is not covered on this wiki.
A fourth film, Home Alone 4, followed in 2002. IT features some of the same characters featured in the first two films, but with a new cast and storyline that does not fall into the same continuity. It was the first film in the series to be made-for-TV instead of theatrical release.
A fifth film with another unrelated storyline, Home Alone: The Holiday Heist, followed in 2012 and was also made-for-TV.
Angels with Filthy Souls
Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film that appears within Home Alone and was made specifically for it. When the pizza delivery boy comes to deliver Kevin his cheese pizza, he plays it and fast forwards through Snakes' parts to make the pizza boy believe that Johnny lives in the house and run off when he fires at Snakes. To thwart Harry and Marv, Kevin later plays it to trick them into thinking there are armed, dangerous adults in the house and uses fireworks to make things more believable. The title is likely a reference to the 1938 film Angels with Dirty Faces. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York shows that there is a sequel, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, which aids Kevin as well. The original clip was also used in the 2019 film Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.
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