Help, the Americans are coming

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German title Help, the Americans are coming
Original title National Lampoon's European Vacation
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 1985
length 90 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Amy Heckerling
script John Hughes ,
Robert Klane
production Matty Simmons
music Charles Fox
camera Robert Paynter
cut Pembroke J. Herring

←  Predecessor
The shrill four on the move

Successor  →
Nice mess

Help the Americans come (Original title: National Lampoon's European Vacation ) is an American comedy film directed by Amy Heckerling from 1985 . It is a sequel to The Shrill Four on the Move from 1983.


The chaotic Griswald family from Chicago - consisting of "overfather" Clark, the naive mother Ellen, the precocious son Rusty and the lovesick daughter Audrey - win a tour of Europe in the game show "A Pig in a Poke". The hair-raising journey begins in London , where the family ends up in a cheap dump instead of the promised luxury hotel. While Ellen mistakenly encourages another guest to take a bath in the bathtub of the hotel's shared bathroom with her eyes closed, Clark ends up in another woman's bed because there doesn't seem to be any room numbers in the hotel. Audrey, who had to leave her boyfriend Jack behind in Chicago, makes hours of phone calls overseas. Meanwhile, Rusty cannot choose between four different television programs, all of which have the same theme: the making of cheese.

The next morning the Griswalds go on a trip in a rental car and, as expected, fail due to English left-hand traffic . Despite the sheet metal damage, the locals remain overly friendly and in turn apologize for the accident, which is clearly Clark's fault. The excursion is further delayed when Clark tries to get the right exit at an English roundabout. The day finally ends with a half-insane Clark at the wheel, who even after several hours did not manage to escape the roundabout. When the family is about to check out of the hotel the next morning, Father Clark almost hits a blow given the high phone bill caused by Audrey. The last stop in England is Stonehenge - here too the Griswald family unknowingly leaves their mark. With your rental car you bring the monument that has existed for thousands of years to fall.

In Paris , the Griswalds are luckier with their hotel, but not with the French, who make fun of American tourists in French. The Griswalds, however, are completely carried away by the supposed friendliness of the French. In front of a fountain in Paris, Clark asks a French passerby to film him and his family and gives him his video camera. But the French run away with this one. The loss would certainly have been bearable if Clark hadn't filmed his wife Ellen doing a striptease before leaving. He had promised her to delete the recording, but didn't.

The next stop for the family leads to Germany . Here they want to visit their relatives whom they have never seen before. But they accidentally end up at the wrong address and come across an elderly couple. Since the two parties cannot understand each other due to the language differences, the misunderstanding is not cleared up. After that, Father Clark manages to get himself into trouble again. In this way, he transforms a harmless Bavarian folk festival into a solid brawl that ends in a wild chase.

Griswald's madness continues in Rome . When the family tries to rent a car, they unknowingly run into a crook who gives them the key to a car. However, he does not mention that the kidnapping victim of the crooks is in the trunk of the car and pretends that the trunk key has been lost. Since the family lost most of their luggage in their chase, they go shopping in Rome. On her way through the Eternal City, Ellen discovers a huge advertisement of herself for a pornographic film - and she realizes that Clark did not delete the videotape as promised. She insults him angrily and then goes back to the hotel. There she meets the crook again and pours her heart out to him. But he has nothing else in mind than to get the car with the kidnapped man back. He tries to steal the keys from Ellen's handbag by advances, but Ellen realizes that she still loves Clark and eventually pushes the thief away. When the police arrive at the hotel, the crook panics and kidnaps Ellen. Ultimately, however, Clark manages to save his wife, and the two are happily in each other's arms. The chaotic vacation is now over, but even on the return flight to the USA, Clark manages to spread chaos and almost crashes the plane because he confuses the toilet cabin with the cockpit, and the descending plane the torch the Statue of Liberty grazes.


It is the only film in the series in which the family name "Griswald" is written, but not "Griswold".

In cameo roles include Mel Smith as a hotel manager, Robbie Coltrane as a man in the bathroom, Eric Idle as a cyclist, Willy Millowitsch as Fritz spray, Erika Wackernagel as Helga spray and Claudia Neidig seen as Claudia, and Moon Zappa , the Daughter of Frank Zappa .

The scenes of the film, which take place in Germany , were shot in Brixen , South Tyrol .

The comedy grossed $ 49.4 million in US cinemas.


The theme song of the film Holiday Road , which can be heard at the beginning, is by Lindsey Buckingham , member of the band Fleetwood Mac . Beverly D'Angelo sings the song Big Spender in the striptease scene . The song Some Like It Hot , which is played in Rusty's disco dream, is from Power Station . When the family visits the Louvre in a fast run, Plastic Bertrand sounds with Ca plane pour moi .

More songs (among others):

  • A Town Called Malice - The Jam
  • New Looks - Dr. John
  • Back in America - Network


Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times on July 27, 1985 that the film based its gags on stereotypes about foreigners.

The lexicon of international films describes the film as “happy slapstick without intellectual and formal demands”, which is, however, “quite brisk and imaginatively staged”. It also states that what “for Americans may be a satire about the clichés of their image of Europe [...] is of course only partially amusing for Europeans”.


Jason Lively was nominated for the Young Artist Award in 1986.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Filming locations for help, the Americans come
  2. Box office / business for help, the Americans come
  3. Review by Janet Maslin
  4. Help, the Americans are coming. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used