Home Alone

Home Alone
Home Alone

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Chris Columbus
Produced by John Hughes
Written by John Hughes
Starring Macaulay Culkin
Joe Pesci
Daniel Stern
John Heard
Catherine O'Hara
Roberts Blossom
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Julio Macat
Editing by Raja Gosnell
Studio Hughes Entertainment
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) November 16, 1990 (1990-11-16)
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million (estimated)
Box office $476,684,675 (worldwide)[1]

Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation. While initially relishing time by himself, he is later greeted by two would-be burglars played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci. Kevin eventually manages to outwit them with a series of booby traps. The film also features Catherine O'Hara, John Heard, Devin Ratray and Roberts Blossom. As of 2009, Home Alone was the highest grossing comedy of all time.[2]

Culkin was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, becoming the youngest actor ever to be nominated for the award at the age of 11. The film was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score.



The McCallister family prepares to spend Christmas with Peter and Frank's brother Rob in Paris, gathering at Peter and Kate's home in a suburb of Chicago the night before their flight. Eight-year-old Kevin, their youngest son, finds himself the subject of ridicule from his siblings and cousins. After getting into an argument with his older brother Buzz, he is sent to the third floor bedroom of the house, where he wishes his family would disappear. During the night, a power outage resets the alarm clocks and causes the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to reach the airport on time, Kevin is left behind and the family does not realize it until they are already airborne. Once in Paris, his mother and father desperately try to book a flight home.

Meanwhile, Kevin wakes up to find the house empty and is overjoyed to find that his wish came true. He takes Buzz's life savings, practices shooting with Buzz's BB gun, jumps on the bed, watches a gangster film, 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, his next door neighbor "Old Man" Marley, who was rumored to have murdered his family many years earlier, and the appearance of The Wet Bandits, Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants, who are breaking into other vacant houses on the block.

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 a church, he comes across Marley. The two of them talk, and he learns that Marley is in fact a very nice man and the rumors about him are not 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 a big argument they had. Kevin advises him to reconcile with his son.

After leaving the church, Kevin heads home and sets up various booby traps inside the house. Harry and Marv break in. After the two spring every trap in the house, Kevin flees to the second floor of the house and dials 911. They chase him out of the house and he flees to the vacant neighboring home. The Wet Bandits catch him when he runs to the top of the stairs and hang him on a coat hook on the door. Marley has sneaked up behind them and knocks them out with a snow shovel and takes Kevin home. Shortly after, they are arrested.

Kevin wakes up the next morning and is disappointed to see that his family is still gone. He then hears Kate enter the house, calling for him. He goes downstairs and the two of them meet and reconcile. Immediately after, the rest of the McCallisters, having traveled directly from Paris to Chicago, arrive. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, although Peter finds Harry's missing gold tooth and wonders what it is. Kevin and Buzz have a moment of reconciliation. He then goes over to the window and sees Marley greeting his son and his family. As he is hugging his granddaughter, he looks up to see Kevin. He waves at him and Kevin waves back, smiling. He watches as Marley heads inside with his family. However, Buzz interrupts him by calling out, "Kevin! What did you do to my room?" He immediately runs there and the film ends.


  • Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister: An eight-year-old who comes from a big family and usually gets into trouble with them. One night he wishes for them to disappear and gets his wish, but later on, he learns that it is not really fun being alone. He then defends his house from Harry and Marv by using booby traps.
  • Joe Pesci as Harry Lyme: The short leader of the Wet Bandits who break into Kevin's house. He and his partner Marv hit houses that are unoccupied when their owners leave town and get information about their security systems by posing as police officers.
  • Daniel Stern as Marv Merchants: The tall member of the Wet Bandits. He has a habit of leaving the water running when he and Harry commit burglaries, insisting it is their calling card.
  • Roberts Blossom as Old Man Marley: A kind elderly man and a neighbor of the McCallisters who is said to have murdered his whole family, causing Kevin to run scared of him every time he sees him.
  • Catherine O'Hara as Kate McCallister: Kevin's mother and the mother of four more children.
  • John Heard as Peter McCallister: Kevin's father and the father of four more children.
  • Devin Ratray as Buzz McCallister: Kevin's older brother.
  • Hillary Wolf as Megan McCallister: Kevin's older sister.
  • Angela Goethals as Linnie McCallister: Kevin's older sister.
  • Michael C. Maronna as Jeff McCallister: Kevin's older brother.
  • Gerry Bamman as Frank McCallister: Kevin's uncle and brother of Peter McCallister.
  • Terrie Snell as Leslie McCallister: Kevin's aunt.
  • Jedidiah Cohen as Rod McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
  • Senta Moses as Tracy McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
  • Daiana Campeanu as Sondra McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
  • Kieran Culkin as Fuller McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
  • Anna Slotky as Brooke McCallister: One of Kevin's cousins.
  • Kristin Minter as Heather McCallister: Kevin's cousin and daughter of Rob McCallister.
  • John Candy as Gus Polinski: A member of a band (The Kenosha Kickers) whose flight is canceled due to the weather so he and his band have to catch a ride in a van. He offers to give Kate a ride to Chicago, since it is on the way to Milwaukee, and she accepts. He confides to her that he accidentally left his son alone at a funeral home once. Culkin and Candy previously starred in Uncle Buck together.


As with most of Hughes's films, Home Alone was set—and most of the film was shot—in the greater Chicago area. Any other shots, such as those of Paris, are either stock footage or film trickery. The Paris-Orly Airport scenes were filmed in one part of O'Hare International Airport. The scene where Kevin wades through a flooded basement when trying to outsmart the burglars was shot in the swimming pool of New Trier High School. A mock-up of the McDonnell Douglas DC10 business class was also put together in the school, on the basketball courts.[3] 20th Century Fox picked up the project after Warner Bros.'s rejection when the budget escalated from $14 million to $17 million.[4]

The Home Alone house is a three-story single family detached house used for shooting most of the scenes in Home Alone and the first four scenes of Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.[5] The kitchen in the film was shot in the house, along with the main staircase, basement and most of the first floor landing. However, the house's dining room, and all of the rooms downstairs (excluding the kitchen) were built on a sound stage. It is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in the village of Winnetka,[6] which is 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.[7] "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,[8] as well as being cited as an example of "How to Get Your Home in the Movies."[9]

In May 2011, the house was listed for sale at $2.4 million.[10]


The film score of Home Alone was composed by John Williams. Christmas songs, such as O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells, are featured prominently in the film, as well as the film's theme song "Somewhere in My Memory." The soundtrack was released by Sony Classical in 1990.

Video release

The film was released on VHS in 1991 and included a mail-in rebate offer from Pepsi (a product prominently featured in the film).

It was first released on DVD in 1999 as a basic package, with no special features other than theatrical trailers for the film and its sequels. However, it was later re-released in 2006 as a "Family Fun Edition", which included a large number of extras (multiple trailers, deleted scenes, bloopers, commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and more). A Blu-Ray release of the Family Fun Edition followed in 2008.

Video games

The first Home Alone game was released in 1991. Home Alone video games were released for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Mega Drive, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Game Gear, the Game Boy, the Sega Master System, the Amiga and personal computers. The Home Alone game on the SNES system used still images and character's voices from the film in its gameplay. It also features the characters from the film as well as new enemies created for the game including a fat gangster, ghosts, large rats and very large tarantulas. A video game titled Home Alone was released for the PlayStation 2 in 2006, but it was not released in the United States.


In its opening weekend, Home Alone grossed $17 million in 1,202 theaters, averaging $14,211 per site and just 6% of the final total. Home Alone 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.[11] 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.[12] The film ended up making a final gross of $285,761,243, the top grossing film of its year in North America[13] The film is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the highest grossing live-action comedy ever.[2]

By the time it had run its course in theaters, Home Alone 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.[14]

Home Alone received mixed reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a "Rotten" score of 55%, based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 5.2/10.[15] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, it has a rating score of 63, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[16]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film a 2 1/2 out of 4-star rating. He criticized the plot as "so implausible that it makes it hard for [him] to really care about the plight of the kid [Kevin]." He praised Culkin's performance and compared the elaborate booby-traps in the film to Rube Goldberg.[17] Although Caryn James of The New York Times complained that the film's first half is "flat and unsurprising as its cute little premise suggests", she praised the second half for its slapstick humor. She also praised the conversation between Kevin and Marley, as well as the film's final scenes.[18] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "D" grade, criticizing the film for its "sadistic festival of adult-bashing". Gleiberman said that "[John] Hughes is pulling our strings as though he'd never learn to do anything else."[19] Variety praised the film for its cast.[20] Jeanne Cooper of The Washington Post praised the film for its comedic approach.[21] Hal Hinson, also of The Washington Post, praised Chris Columbus's direction and Culkin's acting.[22]

The film received an Academy Award for Best Original Score nomination written by John Williams.


The film was followed by a commercially successful sequel, the 1992 release Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which brings back the original cast from the first film. Home Alone 3, release in 1997 has completely different actors, and a different storyline. A fourth film followed in 2002, Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House. This film features some of the same characters featured in the first two films, but with a new cast and a storyline that does not fall into the same continuity.

Angels with Filthy Souls

Johnny informing Snakes that he isn't welcome anymore

Angels with Filthy Souls is a fictional gangster film that appears within Home Alone. The only shown part of it is when a man named "Snakes" appears and demands 10% from "Johnny"; but Johnny ends up shooting him. After ordering a pizza, Kevin plays a home video of Angels with Filthy Souls to trick the delivery boy into thinking Peter doesn't like people calling him a cheapskate. Later, Kevin uses the movie to make the Wet Bandits think there are armed, dangerous men in his house.

There is also a sequel to the film, Angels with Even Filthier Souls, in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, which aids Kevin as well.

Complete footage of the satirical film was included as a bonus on the 2006 DVD release.


  1. ^ "Home Alone (1990)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=homealone.htm. Retrieved May 29, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Home Alone - Movie Review, http://www.movie-gazette.com/1081, retrieved August 7, 2009 
  3. ^ "Remembering Home Alone". http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=iI79sLJ8G8Q. Retrieved September 26, 2008. 
  4. ^ Teather, David (November 30, 2007). "Fade to red". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2007/nov/30/1. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Filming Locations". movielocationsguide.com. http://www.movielocationsguide.com/Home_Alone_2:_Lost_in_New_York/filming_locations. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Home Alone filming locations". http://www.movie-locations.com/movies/h/homealone.html. Retrieved June 13, 2008. 
  7. ^ "Facts about the Home". jamielynnphillips. January 3, 2006. http://www.zillow.com/HomeDetails.htm?zprop=3360197. Retrieved June 21, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Chicago - Things to do". http://www.harraton.com/wedding/chicago.html. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  9. ^ "How to Get Your Home in the Movies". realestate.com. June 16, 2007. http://www.realestate.com/tipsandtools/Buzzworthy/How-to-Get-Your-Home-in-the-Movies.aspx. Retrieved June 15, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Home Alone house for sale". May 6, 2011. http://www.rte.ie/ten/2011/0506/homealone.html. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Home Alone in 9th Week as No. 1 Film : Movies: 'Godfather Part III' takes dramatic slide from second to sixth place in its third week out. 'Awakenings' is in second.". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1991-01-14/entertainment/ca-310_1_godfather-part-iii. Retrieved 2011-01-01. 
  12. ^ "Home Alone (1990) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=homealone.htm. Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  13. ^ Movies.com: Movie box office results for the top 50 movies of 1990
  14. ^ "Movies.com: Movie box office results for the top 50 movies of 1990". Movies.com. http://movies.go.com/boxoffice?cat=1990. Retrieved December 24, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Home Alone Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/home_alone/. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Home Alone Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. http://www.metacritic.com/movie/home-alone. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (November 16, 1990). "Home Alone". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19901116/REVIEWS/11160302. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  18. ^ James, Caryn (November 16, 1990). "Movie Review - Home Alone". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9C0CE6D8143DF935A25752C1A966958260. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  19. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (July 25, 2007). "Home Alone Review". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,318682,00.html. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Variety Reviews - Home Alone". Variety (Reed Business Information). November 16, 1990. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117791714?refcatid=31. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  21. ^ Cooper, Jeanne (November 16, 1990). "Home Alone". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/homealonepgcooper_a09ecc.htm. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  22. ^ Hinson, Hal (November 16, 1990). "Home Alone". The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/homealonepghinson_a0a9b9.htm. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 

External links

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