By Ruth Kinane
December 22, 2016 at 08:00 AM EST

A Christmas Story

  • Movie

In 1983, A Christmas Story brought the boyhood memories of radio personality Jean Shepherd to the big screen and one moment really stuck in our minds forevermore.

When it was initially released, the movie only made around $20 million at the box office, but it soon became a cult classic.

“I’d say it’s now probably more famous today than it was in 1983,” says Christopher Rosen, editor. “It seems like it’s on every Christmas, all the time. That’s why it’s become such a pervasive part of pop culture, especially around the holidays. You can’t escape A Christmas Story.”

Throughout the movie, the narrator, Ralphie, recalls a series of hilarious memories from his 1940s childhood. While Ralphie’s desire for a Red Ryder BB gun is one of the focal points of the movie, it wasn’t what got the EW editors tongues wagging when they sat down for the People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) special EW Presents: The Top 10 Holiday Movie Moments. That’s because one scene from A Christmas Story is particularly painful to remember.

You see, when Ralphie’s friend Flick is triple-dog-dared to lick a frozen pole, he can’t refuse and winds up with his tongue stuck to the pole.

“It’s just a great scene because what kid hasn’t wanted to lick a pole,” says Rosen. “It looks so inviting, and it looks so cold and maybe it seems like it would be really nice and… there are just terrible consequences.”

Things go from bad to worse for the boys when their teacher gets involved and soon the fire department is brought in to rescue Flick and his attached-to-a-pole tongue.

“Ralphie just has this shocked look on his face,” describes EW correspondent Shirley Li. “He’s guilty, but he’s also like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve involved the teacher, the police, the firemen. I’ve done so much and all because of a triple-dog-dare’… But then again, triple-dog-dares? Those are serious business.”

Adds EW movies editor Kevin P. Sullivan, “The image of that tongue being stretched out and, of course, ripping off is just gross and hilarious and painful and it’s in our heads forever.”

Watch the full episode of EW Presents: The Top 10 Holiday Movie Moments, streaming now on People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices.

Episode Recaps

A Christmas Story

  • Movie
  • PG
  • 94 minutes