It was 30 years ago today that we were introduced to plucky youngster Kevin McCallister in Home Alone. On 7th December 1990, UK audiences got their first glimpse of a Christmas movie that would mix knockabout slapstick with sugary sentimentality to blockbusting effect, making Macaulay Culkin a star in the process.
For many people (us included), Christmas isn't complete without at least one viewing of Home Alone. So join us as we celebrate the movie's 30th birthday with our blog list of 30 fun facts. From the John Hughes script to the locations and the magical John Williams score, this is your essential look at an enduring festive classic.
1. Screenwriter John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) was inspired to write the script after speculating on what would happen if he went on holiday and left his young son behind.
2. Hughes came up with Home Alone while shooting Uncle Buck, during a scene in which Macaulay Culkin’s character interrogates a potential babysitter through a letterbox.
3. Hughes completed the first draft of the screenplay in nine days, with the first 44 pages completed in eight hours.
4. Hughes had been so impressed with Culkin when shooting Uncle Buck that he suggested him to eventual director Chris Columbus.
5. Culkin's younger brother Kieran also appears in the movie as the bed-wetting Fuller.
6. Chris Columbus (later to direct the first two Harry Potter films) came to the movie after departing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, on which he had argued with star Chevy Chase.
7. Home Alone was supposed to be a Warner Bros release but they parted ways with Hughes and Columbus over budgetary disputes; 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios under Disney) then took up the project.
8. The movie was filmed in the Illinois locations that had featured in John Hughes classics such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, notably the village of Winnetka, south of Chicago.
9. The McCallister house is located at 671 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, but the only interiors used were the staircase, basement, first-floor landing and attic.
10. Robert De Niro was considered for the role of Harry, but it eventually went to his Goodfellas co-star Joe Pesci.
11. Pesci found it difficult not to swear when around the film's young actors, so he invented Harry's frustrated noises as an alternative.
12. Daniel Stern backed out of the movie following a pay dispute, but when his alternative was seen to lack chemistry with Pesci, Stern was brought back onboard.
13. The tarantula placed on Stern's face was real, but the actor insisted on performing just one take.
14. Stern had to scream silently to avoid scaring the creature, with the noise dubbed in later.
15. Stern's 1995 movie Bushwacked began life as a Marv-centred spin-off movie.
16. With his starring role as Kevin, young Macaulay Culkin became the most successful child actor of his age, eventually leveraging $4.5 million for his return in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.
17. All of John Candy's scenes as polka player Gus were shot in one day.
18. All of Candy's lines were improvised, as was Kevin's famous: "You guys give up, or are you thirsty for more?"
19. Columbus added the subplot about Old Man Marley, thinking it would add more heart to the film.
20. The film-within-a-film known as Angels With Filthy Souls was shot in one day as a parody of the 1938 noir movie Angels With Dirty Faces.
21. Joe Pesci accidentally bit Macaulay Culkin during the climactic showdown, leaving the former with a permanent scar.
22. John Williams composed the Oscar-nominated score, but Bruce Broughton was originally meant to score it, only pulling out when production overran on The Rescuers Down Under
23. Williams also composed two carols for the movie: the Oscar-nominated 'Somewhere In My Memory', and the heavenly 'Star of Bethlehem', heard when Kevin talks to Old Man Marley in the church.
24. With worldwide takings of $477.1 million, Home Alone was, at the time, the third-highest-grossing movie ever released, behind Star Wars and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
25. Although a Christmas movie release, Home Alone stayed at the box office number one spot in America for 12 weeks.
26. Home Alone was the most successful live-action comedy movie of all time, until the release of The Hangover: Part II in 2011.
27. Screenwriter William Goldman coined the phrase "to be Home-Aloned", meaning a film's box office would be negatively impacted by comparison with Home Alone.
28. The film inspired three sequels, with Hughes writing the second and third movies.
29. The fourth reintroduced the characters from the original movie, only now played by different actors (Mike Weinberg took over from Macaulay Culkin in the role of Kevin).
30. A Home Alone remake is in production, starring Jojo Rabbit actor Archie Yates.
How many times will you be watching Home Alone this Christmas? Let us know @Cineworld.