Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) has problems. He’s just eight and at the bottom of his large family’s pecking order: when the pizzas arrive, his simple cheese and tomato is scoffed by his siblings. And his family are all off to France for Christmas. But on the day of departure, everyone assumes that somebody else has woken Kevin and he’s in another part of the 20-strong group…

Kevin awakes alone in the house and, at first perturbed, soon begins to revel in the quiet and his independence: his own pizza is delivered, and he gets to buy his own toothbrush and watch what he wants on TV. But two burglars, Harry Lime (Joe Pesci) and Marv Merchants (Daniel Stern), have fingered the family home as ripe for pillaging. Little do they know that Kevin’s in residence and even less do they know about the fiendish booby traps he can devise to foil their plans…

The teaming of Columbus, who then had only two features under his belt, and Hughes, a veteran scriptwriter of huge box-office hit comedies including Pretty in Pink, the National Lampoon series and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, was inspired, but it was Culkin who stole the show. The concept originated from the Hughes-scripted Uncle Buck, where Culkin’s role (alongside the deadpan Q&A of John Candy, who has a cameo role in Home Alone) convinced Hughes to write him a lead part. Columbus was less impressed: he screen tested dozens of child actors before admitting that Culkin was the perfect choice, which he was, mixing maturity, child-like terror and gleeful hysteria at the plight of his opponents.

And credit also has to go to Pesci and Stern, with the former, best known for roles as a gangster in Goodfellas and Once Upon a Time in America, showing a brilliant turn for comedy that was to re-surface in My Cousin Vinny. The film made Culkin the highest paid child actor of all time (although he later encountered problems), launched Columbus’s career and established Hughes as one of Hollywood’s top writers. Nobody would argue that this film is thought-provoking, life-changing or deep, but it is a crafted, laugh-out-loud classic comedy.

Cast:Macaulay Culkin (Kevin McCallister), Joe Pesci (Harry), Daniel Stern (Marv), John Heard (Peter McCallister), Catherine O’Hara (Kate McCallister), Roberts Blossom (Marley), Devin Ratray (Buzz McCallister), Michael C. Maronna (Jeff McCallister), Hillary Wolf (Megan McCallister), Angela Goethals (Linnie McCallister), Gerry Bamman (Uncle Frank McCallister), Terrie Snell (Aunt Leslie), Daiana Campeanu (Sondra), Kieran Culkin (Fuller), Kristin Minter (Heather McCallister), John Candy (Gus Polinski), Ralph Foody (Gangster #1 (Johnny)), Michael Guido (Gangster #2 (Snakes)), Larry Hankin (Officer Balzak), Ken Hudson Campbell (Santa), Hope Davis (Receptionist), Billie Bird (Woman in Airport), Bill Erwin (Man in Airport), Jeffrey Wiseman (Mitch Murphy), Virginia Smith (Georgette), Ray Toler (Uncle Rob), Clarke Devereux (Officer Devereux), D. Danny Warhol (Pizza Boy), Matt Doherty (Steffan), Jedidiah Cohen (Rod), Senta Moses (Tracy), Anna Slotky (Brook), Gerry Becker (Officer #1), Victor Cole (Officer #2), Porscha Radcliffe (Cousin), Brittany Radcliffe (Cousin), Peter Siragusa (Lineman), Alan Wilder (Scranton Ticket Agent), Dianne B. Shaw (Airline Counter Person), James Ryan (Stock Boy), Mark Beltzman (Stosh), Ann Whitney (Drugstore Clerk), Jim Ortlieb (Herb the Drugstore Clerk), Monica Devereux (Flight Attendant), Lynn Mansbach (French Woman), Tracy J. Connor (Check Out Girl), Sandra Macat (Santa’s Elf), Richard J. Firfer (Store Manager), Kate Johnson (Police Operator), Michael Hansen (Airport Driver), Peter Pantaleo (Airport Driver), Jean-Claude Sciore (French Gate Agent), Edward Bruzan (Polka Band Member), Frank Cernugel (Polka Band Member), Eddie Korosa (Polka Band Member), Robert Okrzesik (Polka Band Member), Leo Perion (Polka Band Member), Vince Waidzulis (Polka Band Member), John Hardy (Polka Band Member),

Director: Chris Columbus
Writer: John Hughes

US / 103 minutes / 1990