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Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

PG | | Comedy, Family | 22 May 1987 (USA)
Ernest, a lovable loser who works as a summer camp handyman and dreams of becoming a guidance councilor, must find a way to inspire a group of juvenile delinquents as well as stop a shady strip mining company from closing the camp.


John R. Cherry III (as John Cherry)


John R. Cherry III (screenplay) (as John Cherry), Coke Sams (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Varney ... Ernest P. Worrell
Victoria Racimo ... Nurse St. Cloud
John Vernon ... Sherman Krader
Iron Eyes Cody ... Old Indian 'Chief St. Cloud'
Lyle Alzado ... Bronk Stinson (Foreman)
Gailard Sartain ... Jake (Chef #1)
Daniel Butler Daniel Butler ... Eddie (Chef #2)
Patrick Day ... Bobby Wayne
Scott Menville ... Crutchfield
Jacob Vargas ... Butch 'Bubba' Vargas
Danny Capri Danny Capri ... Danny
Hakeem Abdul-Samad ... Moustafa 'Moose' Hakeem Jones
Todd Loyd Todd Loyd ... Chip Ozgood
Andrew Woodworth Andrew Woodworth ... Pennington
Richard Speight Jr. ... Brooks


At the beginning Ernest gets a shot by Miss. St.cloud then they get a group of kids from a institution. Then Ernest becomes a camp counselor. Later on Ernest gets bit by fire ants at a picnic with Nurse St.cloud and the Chief which is Miss. St.clouds Grandfather. Then The Chief is tricked into selling the camp by Krader Mining company. Then Ernest gets beat up and Miss. St.cloud patches him up. Then he saves Kamp Kikike which is where they live and they become a year round camp.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Family


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

22 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Trilha do Bravo See more »

Filming Locations:

Burns, Tennessee, USA See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,171,957, 25 May 1987

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"Ernest Goes to Camp" is the very first feature film in the "Ernest" franchise See more »


When Ernest tries to start a fire, rubbing a stick on his left leg there is a hole in his pants. When he stands to walk a few seconds later there is no hole in his pants. See more »


Butch 'Bubba' Vargas: Ernest, um... we've been thinking.
Crutchfield: Yeah, we ain't got much of a chance but we got a plan.
Bobby Wayne: If we stop those miners then there will be a Camp Kikakee.
Ernest P. Worrell: Boys, we can't stop those miners, look what they did to me and that was just one of them.
Chip Ozgood: Come on Ernest, that don't sound like no path of the brave to me.
Moustafa 'Moose' Hakeem Jones: I don't want to go back to no institution, I want to stay right here with you.
Bobby Wayne: Yeah we all do, Ernest.
Chip Ozgood: Come on, Ernest, we can get them.
Bobby Wayne: Hey, it's the path of the brave.
Crutchfield: Let's go for it, we can ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Touchstone DVD re-release, the credits have been re-digitized from the old red font to a new, fancier one. See more »


References Apocalypse Now (1979) See more »


Lyrics by Alice Keister
Music by Shane Keister
Performed by W.T. Davidson
See more »

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User Reviews

The quintessential Ernest film

"Ernest Goes to Camp", the quintessential Ernest film, introduces the mass population to the dim, innocuous Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney). Many of us had seen the Ernest & Vern commercials prior to the film's release, but the movie gave all of us a special glimpse into the life of this simple country boy.

In this particular film Ernest is the lone handyman at Kamp Kikakee, a summer camp for young boys, whose premise is based on ancient Native American principles and traditions. Ernest enjoys his job and simple life very much, but he longs to be promoted to the position of camp counselor so he can "shape and mold young minds into a focused world view". Ernest may just get his chance...

The state governor has ordered the camp to take part in his Second Chance program, which will allow a group of juvenile deliquents from the State Institute for Boys to take part in the camp's activities, and, hopefully, clean up their acts.

The evil, military-minded Counselor Stennis - who is almost reminiscent of Douglas Niedermeyer from "Animal House" - takes a crack at knocking the second-chancers into place, but strikes out when they stage a coup and break his ankle. Head Counselor/Manger Tipton is in a bind. He knows none of his counselors will want to take charge of the deliquent boys now, so he enlists naive Ernest to do the job.

Ernest takes his new duties, and the boys, very seriously, but the boys could care less about him, until the camp nurse sets them straight (i.e., "Ernest is the only person in the world who even wanted to know you"). Meanwhile, a strip mining company on the upper part of the river has been trying to talk Chief St. Cloud, owner of the campgrounds, into turning the land over to them so they can mine the land for petrocite. The Chief, who speaks no english, turns the mining company down twice, through his granddaughter (the camp nurse). Lo and behold, Sherman Krader, the mining company CEO, cons Ernest - the only other person at the camp who can speak the Chief's native Indian language - into getting the Chief to sign the release papers.

The camp is going to close. The second-chancers will be sent back to the state institution. This looks like a job for ERNEST! He and the deliquents devise a plan to scare away the strip mining company, which involves blowing up all of their equipment. The plan doesn't really work because Sherman Krader arrives on the scene with a fully-loaded rifle to shoot ring-leader Ernest (and...let's face it...in the real world Ernest and the kids would have been sued because of their thoughtless plan). Luckily though, the camp nurse went behind them all and got the judge to issue a restraining order against the mining company. Later, Krader's attorney admits that they bamboozled the Chief so the camp is saved, the second-chancers get to stay at the camp year-round, and Ernest becomes a full-fledged counselor (although he still performs his handyman duties).

A string of inferior Ernest films were released, up until Jim Varney's death a few years ago (he was 51). "Ernest Goes to Camp" is the only one worth seeing, unless you have children who might enjoy the films. I was nine years-old when I saw this flick in the theater, and I still enjoy it! Saw it on DVD for the first time today!

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