Home Alone's Most Iconic Shot Was Completely Accidental

Home Alone's Most Iconic Shot Was Completely Accidental
Image credit: 20th Century Studios

Real talent will always shine through.


  • Home Alone is a 1990s comedy that has become a Christmas staple over the years.
  • The film's main character, Kevin McCallister, was portrayed by Macaulay Culkin, who was only 10 years old at the time.
  • Culkin's misunderstanding of the directions led to the movie's most iconic shot of Kevin screaming in pain from cologne.

As happens every year, on December 25th, many families will turn on their televisions only to be sucked into another rewatch of Home Alone. Some find the movie just as hilarious as the first time they saw it, while others keep watching just to see the little ones laughing on the screen.

Whatever the motives, it's hard to deny the iconic status this movie has earned after all these years of success.

You might think that at this point you know everything there is to know about Home Alone, including every single line and every single joke. However, there are always some surprising behind-the-scenes facts that will refresh your perspective on the holiday classic.

Macaulay Culkin’s Screaming Face Was A Happy Accident

Home Alone's Most Iconic Shot Was Completely Accidental - image 1

One of the most famous shots from Home Alone is the image of Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, holding his hands to his cheeks and screaming in pain from cologne burns. To this day, this particular image is the one most associated with the movie as a whole, as it showcases the adorable goofiness of Culkin's character.

What the majority of viewers don't know, however, is that Culkin was not instructed to hold that pose. And as brilliant a comedic actor as he may have been at the time, it wasn't improvisation. It was an accident that happened because a young actor got a little confused about all the moves he had to make.

As director Chris Columbus recalled in an interview with Insider, he first advised Culkin to take his hands away from his cheeks when he patted them, as most people tend to do when they're in pain:

“My direction to him was when you pat your face, move your hands and scream. And I think it was the first take, he kept his hands on his cheeks. We all started laughing hysterically. We did it a couple more times with his hands off his face, but my editor, Raja Gosnell, he cut that take into the first cut that I saw and it was in there forever,” he said.

Although it was a misstep, it was definitely a successfully salvaged one, as this first take is the one that made the cut.

If you are already preparing for your honorary Home Alone rewatch for Christmas 2023 to celebrate Macaulay Culkin's well-deserved star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, you can stream the movie on Disney Plus.

Source: Insider