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Vegas Vacation is a 1997 comedy film. It is the fourth film in the Vacation film series centering around the fictitious Griswold family, following National Lampoon's Vacation, National Lampoon's European Vacation, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase reprises his starring role as Clark W. Griswold, the patriarch of the family. The film grossed over $36.4 Million domestically.


At work, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has invented a long life food preservative, earning him a large bonus check. Clark announces to his family that he is taking them on vacation. Enthusiasm wanes, however, when Clark says they are headed to Las Vegas, Nevadamarker.

His wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo), and teenage daughter, Audrey (Marisol Nichols) have their doubts, as Las Vegas is not known for its family-friendly atmosphere, while Rusty (Ethan Embry) appears to be more eager, even asking if prostitution is legal there.

Upon arriving in Vegas, the family embarks upon a series of mishaps and adventures. Clark crosses paths with Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), the husband of Ellen's cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn). Eddie and his family now live in the desert just north of Las Vegas, on what used to be an H-bomb test site.

While on a group tour of the gigantic Hoover Dammarker, Clark foolishly leaves the group after accidentally creating a leak in the dam's inside walkways, and is forced to climb the scaffolding to the very top of the dam to get out, because his cries for help cannot be heard over the roaring water of the spillway.

During the vacation in Las Vegas, Clark becomes addicted to gambling, Rusty gets a fake ID and becomes a winning high roller (taking on the pseudonym 'Nick Pappagiorgio'), Audrey starts hanging out with Eddie's wild stripper daughter Vickie (Shae D'Lyn), and Ellen becomes addicted to Wayne Newton (playing himself), who may have feelings for Ellen, and it's making Clark jealous.

After Clark gambles away the family's $22,600 bank account, Eddie—who has money buried in his front yard—tries to come to the Griswold family's rescue in return for everything the Griswolds have done for him and his family over the years.

Ultimately, the family begins to fall apart, thanks to Clark's obsessive gambling, Ellen's infatuation with Wayne Newton, Rusty's new winning lifestyle, and Audrey's desire to engage in exotic dancing with Cousin Vicki rather than spend time with her family.

The Griswolds must learn how to come together as a family, or "Sin City" just might destroy their very fabric.

Near the climax of the film, the Griswolds gamble their last two dollars on a game of Keno. They take a seat next to an older man (Sid Caesar in a cameo) who compliments Clark on his lovely family, and hints that he's been lonely all of his life. Out of guilt, Clark tells the man to consider himself part of the Griswold family for the night. The man happily accepts Clark's kind words, and both parties begin the game. At first, the Griswolds are hopeful, but as they realize they've already lost the game, they sadly sit for moments in silence. Suddenly, the man next to them ecstatically declares that he's won the game. As he continues to express joy, he suddenly begins to slip in and out of consciousness while Ellen sends Rusty for help. He awakens one last time and whispers a message to Clark, before dropping his winning ticket and falling one final time. Clark, puzzled, tells Ellen that the man said "take the ticket". When the casino security guards and paramedics arrive, they declare the man officially dead. They tell the Griswolds his name was Mr. Ellis, and commented on how sad his loneliness was to them. As Mr. Ellis is carried away, a janitor approaches with a vacuum cleaner; walking straight for the winning ticket on the floor. Though it appears Clark is going to allow it to be lost, he at last moment pulls the ticket out of the path of the vacuum.

Clark and Ellen remarry at the end. Afterwards, Clark hands Eddie a large pile of cash and explains by telling him that "we were very fortunate last night". It was then that Rusty informed Clark of the four cars he had won. Clark then sternly demands the keys for all vehicles. Though it appears that Clark will refuse to allow the family to keep the vehicles, he quickly hands a set of keys to each member of the family. The movie rolls credits as the Griswolds are shown on Interstate 15, driving back home to Chicago.


  • The Miragemarker Resort on the Las Vegas Stripmarker was a major filming location for this movie.
  • Filmed during the busy tourist season, from mid-June, through late September 1996.
  • Several sections of the movie are filmed at Shenandoah, the home of entertainer Wayne Newton, who also appears in the film.
  • Producer Jerry Weintraub makes a cameo appearance as "Gilly from Philly".
  • Siegfried and Roy's world-famous stage show is featured, with the entertainers (and tigers) interacting with Chase.
  • Wallace Shawn, Julia Sweeney, and Toby Huss have small roles; Sid Caesar appears in a cameo. Toby Huss portrayed a young Frank Sinatra impersonator/fake i.d. salesman. The role was similar to a number of MTV commercials from the early 90's that featured Huss as a Vegas crooner.
  • The "Cousin Vicki" and "Cousin Dale" characters appear here for the first time since the original Vacation film (though both are played by different actors).
  • Christie Brinkley reprises her role as "The woman in the red Ferrarimarker" from National Lampoon's Vacation. When she appears on a red Ferrari as the Griswolds drive on the I-15 frontage road, she flirts with Clark as usual and Clark discovers she has an infant son on the back seat. Unknown to Clark, the girl assumes she is with another man and keeps on driving saying good bye.


  • This time, the Griswolds are on a roll.



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