Best R-rated comedies of all time
19. National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Key players: Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, John Hughes, Beverly D'Angelo, Imogene Coca, Randy Quaid, James Keach, Anthony Michael Hall, Dana Barron, Eddie Bracken, John Candy
Why it's great: Like "Animal House," this was adapted from a short story that ran in the pages of "National Lampoon," and John Hughes turned his short piece into a perfect deconstruction of the self-inflicted torture of the family vacation, giving Chevy Chase one of his best roles as Clark Griswold, the well-meaning father whose efforts always end in catastrophic failure. Seeing the way Ramis brought together the anarchy of the '70s in Chase, the classic live TV comedy of the '50s with Coca, and the Oscar-nominated character comedy of Randy Quaid, it is a collision of voices and styles that seem appropriate as the Griswolds drive across America. People forget how dark this first film is, but when the film played theatrically, the shrieks that greeted Aunt Edna's ultimate fate were amazing, just one of the many memorable audience moments in the film.
- Drew McWeeny