Holy Cow, Home Alone Is 25!

An oral history of one of the most beloved Christmas comedies ever made.

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On August 8, 1989, my father, John Hughes, jotted down in a notebook a movie idea, born of traveler’s anxiety, that occurred to him during the bustle of departing for our first family trip to Europe, and set it aside. Two weeks later, after returning home, he revisited the premise: What if one of the kids had been accidentally left behind? 

Over the next nine days, he completed the first draft of Home Alone, capped by an eight-hour, 44-page dash to the finale. Before finishing, he’d expressed concerns in the marginalia of his journal that he was working too slowly.

Twenty-five years later, and six years after my father’s death, the filmmakers remain astounded at the worldwide reach of the “little movie” that first captured their imagination on the page. Shot around the North Shore, far from the reaches of Hollywood studios, Home Alone defied everyone’s prerelease expectations, becoming the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever made. To celebrate the film’s anniversary and its place in the holiday-movie canon, some of the key cast and crew have reunited to go home again.

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