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A Christmas Story

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    88
    from 6 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • A Christmas Story's 4K release: a must-have, fan-loved holiday classic upgraded.

    A Christmas Story 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    HDR10
    DTS-HD MA
  • Video
    96
  • A Christmas Story" is a beloved classic, now dazzling in 4K with richer colors, detailed textures, and a nostalgic warmth, enhancing its timeless charm.

  • Audio
    90
  • The DTS-HD audio of 'A Christmas Story' is notably clear and charming, preserving its vintage feel with crisp dialogue and balanced score, despite the mono track's limitations.

  • Extra
    86
  • The A Christmas Story Ultra HD Blu-ray release offers engaging extras and vintage commentaries, blending legacy and newly included features in a nostalgic dual-format package with digital access.

  • Movie
    94
  • A Christmas Story, a timeless classic, humorously portrays a boy's holiday wishes and family life in the 1940s, remaining a cherished piece of Americana.

    Video: 96

    Warner Bros.' release of "A Christmas Story" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents a significant visual upgrade over previous versions, meticulously preserving the film's nostalgic essence while enhancing its technical aspects to meet modern standards. Utilizing a fresh 4K scan of the original camera negative, the new transfer offers an immersive viewing experience that stays true to the film's 1940s setting and cinematographic intentions. The application of HDR10 accentuates this by enriching color palettes, improving black levels, and enhancing contrast without compromising the original gauzy aesthetic or film grain. The transfer effectively balances the film’s intentionally soft, dreamy visuals with a newfound clarity and detail in both interior and exterior shots, making it a modest yet appreciable enhancement above its 2008 Blu-ray release.

    The HEVC / H.265 encoding on a BD-66 layer disc optimizes the 2160p resolution and 1.85:1 aspect ratio, bringing out more depth, detail, and a broader range of colors. This meticulous attention to the film's visual presentation ensures a crisp, stable image that breathes new life into the timeless holiday story. Additionally, improved black levels and more nuanced color saturation contribute to a more dimensional and vibrant image. Exterior scenes benefit remarkably from this treatment, showcasing delicate textures and a richer portrayal of the snowy landscapes and 1940s Americana.

    The UHD Blu-ray also excels in preserving the film’s warm color schemes, particularly noticeable in interior scenes where HDR enhances the romanticized hues of the period décor. Skin tones remain natural across varied lighting conditions, with closeups revealing intricate details previously unseen. The meticulous preservation of the film’s grain structure maintains its filmic quality, avoiding digital noise while ensuring a cleaner, more consistent visual experience. Despite minor challenges in encoding resulting in occasional artifacting, "A Christmas Story's" 4K presentation is by far the best version for home viewing, providing a delightful depth and clarity that honors its beloved status.

    Audio: 90

    The audio presentation of "A Christmas Story" on the 4K UHD Blu-ray is served in a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track. This format reflects the film’s original mono sound design, preserving its authentic vintage aura while enhancing clarity and balance. The dialogue, from the charming narrations to the whimsical exchanges between characters, is sharply articulated, ensuring every word is easily discernible without straining. Background sounds, including the nostalgic score and environmental noises, are well integrated into the mix, providing a fuller listening experience that maintains a faithful homage to the film’s modest auditory origins. The overall sound quality is noticeably improved from previous releases, benefiting from the lossless format which allows for a richer and more nuanced auditory experience.

    Technical aspects of this audio release include additional language tracks in French and Spanish 1.0 mono in Dolby Digital, catering to a wider audience while not compromising the integrity of the original sound. Subtitle options mirror this inclusivity, offering English (SDH), French, Dutch, and Spanish, enhancing accessibility for various audiences. Despite some limitations noted by audiophiles—such as a lack of a 5.1 surround option and some disparity in audio fidelity particularly noted in Shepherd's narration and the high-end spectrum—the track admirably achieves its goal of presenting a clean, balanced, and nostalgic audio experience. The absence of an immersive audio option like Dolby Atmos may disappoint some but considering the film’s narrative focus and period setting, the 2.0 mono track adeptly supports the storytelling without unnecessary embellishment.

    Furthermore, this audio presentation showcases an improvement over previous iterations’ dynamics and depth. Moments of lively sound effects and ambient backgrounds are delivered with clarity and distinction, allowing for an engaging auditory journey through the film's memorable scenes. While it may not boast the low-frequency power or surround sound presentation of more modern film tracks, it compensates with a nuanced loudness and precision in dialogue reproduction. This treatment ensures that "A Christmas Story" remains as endearing and impactful in its audio presentation as it has always been visually, making this 4K audio upgrade a worthy addition for collectors and fans alike seeking to experience the film in its most refined form yet.

    Extra: 86

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray of "A Christmas Story" offers a compelling set of extras that brilliantly enhances the film experience for both new and longtime fans. The two-disc set includes an engaging audio commentary by director Bob Clark and Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie. Notably, the Blu-ray disc presents a mix of legacy and somewhat new features, totaling approximately 127 minutes of additional content. Highlights include the documentary "Christmas in Ohio: A Christmas Story House," which delves into the stories behind the film’s original house and its transformation into a fan museum, and "Another Christmas Story," where cast and crew reflect on the film’s lasting impact. Also featured are two focused featurettes on iconic props - the Red Ryder BB gun and the infamous leg lamp, alongside high-definition presentations of deleted script pages and a rare Jean Shepherd original radio reading. This collection thoughtfully commemorates the film’s legacy, making it a valuable addition for fans.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Insightful track with director Bob Clark and actor Peter Billingsley.
    • Christmas In Ohio: A Christmas Story House: Documentary on the iconic film's house.
    • Another Christmas Story: Cast and crew discuss the film's impact.
    • Daisy Red Ryder: A History: Featurette on the famous BB gun.
    • Get A Leg Up: A look at the creation of the leg lamp prop.
    • Flash Gordon Deleted Script Pages: High-definition gallery of deleted script content.
    • The Leg Lamp Spot: A short promotional piece for the leg lamp.
    • Jean Shepherd Original Radio Reading: Two vintage radio readings by Jean Shepherd.

    Movie: 94

    Bob Clark’s “A Christmas Story,” an indelible mark of holiday cinema now brilliantly presented in 4K UHD, remains a quintessential slice of Americana, blending nostalgia with exceptional filmmaking. The narrative, based on Jean Shepherd’s semi-fictional novel "In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash," splendidly captures the Christmas spirit through the eyes of young Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) in 1940s Indiana. His quest for the elusive Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, against the backdrop of his parents' well-meaning skepticism and the colorful misadventures of childhood, makes for a story of universal charm and warm humor. The film's upgrade to 4K brings out an unprecedented clarity and vibrancy, shedding new light on a beloved classic that has been a staple across generations through VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, and now in the highest quality yet seen.

    The slices of life that comprise “A Christmas Story” resonate beyond its period setting, transcending into a timeless narrative about family, ambition, and the simple yet profound desires of childhood. These vignettes, which range from school assignments to dealing with bullies, compile a series of relatable moments that balance on the fine line between comedy and heartwarming drama. The 4K transfer not only enhances the visual delight but also invites audiences to appreciate the nuances of performance and setting that have made this film a perennial favorite. The meticulous attention to detail in the remastering process underscores Warner Bros.’ commitment to preserving the film’s legacy.

    From its technical merits to its heartful storytelling, “A Christmas Story” in 4K UHD Blu-ray format reaffirms its place in the pantheon of holiday cinema. It captures the essence of childhood longing and the ineffable magic of Christmas through its crisp imagery and engaging narrative. The film’s transition into the digital age serves as a testament to its continued relevance and appeal, offering both new audiences and longtime fans a chance to experience Ralphie’s adventures like never before. Coupled with vibrant picture quality and lossless audio, this release honors the film’s original allure while embracing modern standards of visual and auditory excellence.

    Total: 88

    A Christmas Story," a film embedded in the holiday spirit of countless households, receives a dazzling upgrade in its 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation, courtesy of Warner Bros. This long-anticipated release does not disappoint, offering an impressive visual facelift that revitalizes the beloved classic. Enhanced by fantastic 4K visuals that shed new light on the movie's timeless charm, alongside a remastered standard Blu-ray, the package ensures a refreshing home video experience. The addition of lossless audio, not previously available in older editions, further enriches this viewing experience, making it a must-have for both enthusiasts of the format and those yet to upgrade their home theater setup. Notably, the inclusion of rescued bonus features alongside new special content and a comprehensive compilation of classic extras underscores the release's value, ensuring fans have access to an exhaustive archive that celebrates the film's legacy.

    Warner Bros.' effort to cater to a diverse audience is evident through its meticulous remastering, which appeals to Gen-Xers, Boomers, and younger viewers alike. The 4K with HDR image quality presents "A Christmas Story" in the best light possible, coupled with a DTS-HD 2.0 audio mix that beautifully encapsulates the film's simplicity and nostalgia. This combination not only respects the original auditory and visual components but elevates them to meet contemporary expectations without detracting from the film’s intrinsic warmth and humor.

    In conclusion, "A Christmas Story" in its 4K UHD Blu-ray incarnation is an exceptional addition to any holiday collection, offering something for everyone and introducing a new generation to its charm. With enhanced visuals, superior sound quality, and an abundance of extras, this release is indispensable for both long-time fans and newcomers to the film's festive allure. Whether revisiting this classic or experiencing it for the first time, viewers are guaranteed an enriching experience that captures the essence of the holiday season. Highly recommended, this upgrade is a festive treat that continues to resonate with audiences across generations, solidifying its status as a holiday viewing tradition.