A Christmas Carol

by blue_sock_monkey | created - 13 Dec 2012 | updated - 24 Dec 2012 | Public

With my ratings & comments.

A Christmas Carol is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays! Here are more than 20 film, animated & radio versions to choose from.

Please note that I am stingy with stars, and try to rate based on criteria more objective than simply "I loved it/hated it"--a movie has to be really outstanding to earn an 8 or higher from me.

May your days be merry and bright: [link]http://stripgenerator.com/strip/456867/thin-man-christmas-eve/[/link]

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1. Scrooge; or Marley's Ghost (1901)

11 min | Short, Drama, Fantasy

5.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

It's Christmas Eve. The miser Scrooge and his assistant Bob Cratchit finish their work in the office and go home. When Scrooge is going to open his front door, he sees the face of Marley's ... See full summary »

Director: Walter R. Booth | Star: Daniel Smith

Votes: 256

The earliest known filmed adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, the final scenes no longer exist. But you can see the 3-1/2 minutes that still survive on the Internet Archive. (not rated out of respect for its venerable age)

[link]http://archive.org/details/ScroogeOrMarleysGhost1901[/link]

2. A Christmas Carol (1910)

11 min | Short, Drama, Fantasy

6.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Based on the story by Charles Dickens: Ebenezer Scrooge is well known for his harsh, miserly ways, until he is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, and then by three other spirits.

Directors: J. Searle Dawley, Charles Kent, Ashley Miller | Stars: Marc McDermott, Charles Ogle, William Bechtel, Viola Dana

Votes: 438

A charming one-reeler (about 11 minutes long) that manages to tell the whole story in highly compressed form. Look for it on the Internet Archive. (not rated out of respect for its venerable age)

[link]http://archive.org/details/AChristmasCarol[/link]

3. Scrooge (1935)

Approved | 78 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

6.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Scrooge, the ultimate Victorian miser, hasn't a good word for Christmas, though his impoverished clerk Cratchit and nephew Fred are full of holiday spirit. But in the night, Scrooge is ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Edwards | Stars: Seymour Hicks, Donald Calthrop, Robert Cochran, Mary Glynne

Votes: 1,444

5/10 Not awful--but not very good either. It simply moves too fast and omits too much to work. The Ghosts are perfunctory, and I found Hicks a bit cartoonish.

4. A Christmas Carol (1938)

Not Rated | 69 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge ... See full summary »

Director: Edwin L. Marin | Stars: Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Terry Kilburn

Votes: 5,079

7/10 Not as emotionally involving as it should have been--it omits not only Belle, but also the children Want and Ignorance. Owen is fine, if not particularly poignant. I liked Mackay's Fred.

It's a shame that Lionel Barrymore (who had been originally cast) was unable to play the role. The Internet Archive, however, does have a Christmas Eve 1939 recording of Barrymore's annual radio adaptation, narrated by Orson Welles; you can find it here:

[link]http://archive.org/details/CampbellPlayhouseAChristmasCarol12241939[/link]

5. The Christmas Carol (1949 TV Short)

25 min | Drama, Short, Fantasy

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Dickens' classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and three Christmas Ghosts that change his perception of life. Narrated by Vincent Price.

Director: Arthur Pierson | Stars: Vincent Price, Taylor Holmes, Patrick Whyte, Robert Clarke

Votes: 189

4/10 Quick (25 minutes), not very authentic (there is not a British accent to be found), and minimalist (a bearded Vincent Price reads the scene transitions to us from a cozy living room set). Don't expect any Victorian holiday atmosphere. For some reason, the ghost of Christmas Present reminded me of Superman. An interesting example of early U.S. television, but not a worthy Carol. Available at the Internet Archive.

[link]http://archive.org/details/TheChristmasCarolastoldbyVincentPrice[/link]

6. A Christmas Carol (1951)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Fantasy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve...

Director: Brian Desmond Hurst | Stars: Alastair Sim, Jack Warner, Kathleen Harrison, Mervyn Johns

Votes: 16,887

8/10 One of the very best versions. Sim is perfectly cast and really inhabits the character; you will cry when he finally visits Fred's house. There's a true Victorian mood here, too.

What I don't care for are the additions made to Dickens's original, which to me alter Scrooge's character & take up too much time.

7. Shower of Stars (1954–1958)
Episode: A Christmas Carol (1954)

60 min | Family, Drama

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A mean and miserly proprietor of a counting house in 1840's London is taken by ghosts to Christmas scenes of his youth, contemporary ones involving his family and employee, and lastly, a ... See full summary »

Director: Ralph Levy | Stars: William Lundigan, Mary Costa, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone

Votes: 89

6/10 First-class 1950s television: Fredric March and Basil Rathbone play Scrooge and Marley, respectively. The script is by Maxwell Anderson (who should have given us considerably more of Dickens's own dialogue here), while the music is by Bernard Herrmann (who should have written considerably fewer songs). There's a distinct flavour of Victorian Christmas, with carolers, snow in the streets, steaming roast fowl, dancing.

Much loved by many--but I unfortunately am not among them.

8. The Alcoa Hour (1955–1957)
Episode: The Stingiest Man in Town (1956)

60 min | Drama

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

This is a musical version of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol". Ebenzer Scrooge, is given a chance to reform and save his soul. He is visited by 4 ghosts and is shown visions of his past life and the consequences of his life on others.

Director: Daniel Petrie | Stars: Philippa Bevans, Vic Damone, Johnny Desmond, Olive Dunbar

Votes: 28

A musical version, broadcast live, starring Basil Rathbone, Vic Damone, Patrice Munsel, and Johnny Desmond.

9. Fredric March Presents Tales from Dickens (1958– )
Episode: A Christmas Carol (1959)

25 min | Drama

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Add a Plot

Director: Neil McGuire | Stars: Fredric March, Basil Rathbone, Robert Arditti, Sydney Arnold

Votes: 17

7/10 This short version features Basil Rathbone as Scrooge. Narrator Fredric March claims to be speaking from the same room in which Dickens wrote A Christmans Carol. (This is possible but unlikely. The Carol was composed in 1843 at 1 Devonshire Terrace in London; that house was demolished circa 1960. The room March is standing in does, however, resemble the library at Gads Hill Place, Kent, to which the Dickens family moved in June 1857. "Boz" wrote many of his later works there.)

While an inexpensive production, this program was made with care and sensitivity. The camera moves around; the characters are energetic & well-conceived. It's too abbreviated to be a great Carol--but it is a worthy one.

10. Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (1962 TV Movie)

Approved | 53 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An animated, magical, musical version of Dickens' timeless classic "A Christmas Carol." The nearsighted Mr. Magoo doesn't have a ghost of a chance as Ebenezer Scrooge, unless he learns the ... See full summary »

Director: Abe Levitow | Stars: Jim Backus, Morey Amsterdam, Jack Cassidy, Royal Dano

Votes: 2,117

7/10 A musical play within a play! The songs vary in quality, but I must say I enoyed the energy and high spirits of this version more than many more solemn adaptations.

11. A Christmas Carol (1969 TV Movie)

TV-G | 45 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

On Christmas Eve, an old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the spirit of his former partner, Jacob Marley. The deceased partner was in his lifetime as mean and miserly as Scrooge ... See full summary »

Director: Zoran Janjic | Stars: Ron Haddrick, Bruce Montague, John Llewellyn, Brenda Senders

Votes: 85

7/10 An attractively animated version, with watercolour backgrounds. The dialogue stays very close to Dickens's story. Marley is very creepy. But where is Fred?

12. Scrooge (1970)

G | 113 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A musical retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about an old bitter miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Director: Ronald Neame | Stars: Albert Finney, Alec Guinness, Edith Evans, Kenneth More

Votes: 7,578

2/10 A mean-spirited abomination. Bah humbug!

Finney is fine--but the score is lame, the singers mediocre, the direction campy. Give it a miss unless you're a Carol completist.

13. A Christmas Carol (1971 TV Short)

28 min | Animation, Family, Short

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.

Director: Richard Williams | Stars: Alastair Sim, Michael Redgrave, Michael Hordern, Diana Quick

Votes: 933

8/10 A delightful animated short; in some ways I enjoy Sim here more than in his 1951 version. The distinctive animation style is reminiscent of the original 1843 illustrations by John Leech. Well worth tracking down.

14. Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol (1979 TV Short)

8 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Yosemite Sam is miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in this spoof of Charles Dickens' classic tale. Porky Pig, as Scrooge's clerk, Bob Cratchit, is fired on Christmas eve for the unpardonable act of ... See full summary »

Director: Friz Freleng | Star: Mel Blanc

Votes: 252

6/10 8-minutes of Bugs dressed up in a sheet in order to spook Yosemite Sam. It's fun, and won't take up much of your time.

15. Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983)

G | 26 min | Animation, Short, Comedy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The classic Disney animated characters play the roles in this animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece.

Director: Burny Mattinson | Stars: Alan Young, Wayne Allwine, Hal Smith, Will Ryan

Votes: 8,108 | Gross: $21.00M

5/10 Cute but forgettable--although Donald Duck makes a surprisingly effective nephew Fred.

16. A Christmas Carol (1984 TV Movie)

PG | 100 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An old bitter miser who rationalizes his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.

Director: Clive Donner | Stars: George C. Scott, Frank Finlay, Angela Pleasence, Edward Woodward

Votes: 9,850

9/10 My very favorite version. This one stays close to Dickens; the special effects are tastefully done to enhance the mood; and I truly am spooked by Christmas Yet-To-Come here. The production has a lush Victorian atmosphere, with a good score. I found myself truly caring about Scrooge's fate. My only quibble is with Rees's overly restrained Fred.

17. The Jetsons (1962–1963)
Episode: A Jetson Christmas Carol (1985)

TV-Y7 | 22 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

6.6
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What do Santa Claus and George Jetson have in common? They both have to work on Christmas eve! That mean old Mr. Spacely forces George to work late, while the family wonders what has ... See full summary »

Director: Ray Patterson | Stars: George O'Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Daws Butler, Don Messick

Votes: 109

1/10 This is not an episode from the original 1962 series, just 22 mindless minutes made two decades later. It doesn't have much to do with Dickens either.

18. Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988 TV Short)

43 min | Short, Comedy, History

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After a genial spirit shows the benevolent Ebenezer Blackadder visions of his unscrupulous ancestors, he resolves to mend his generous ways.

Director: Richard Boden | Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry

Votes: 9,939

7/10 A clever anti-Carol, which every Blackadder fan must see.

19. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

G | 85 min | Comedy, Drama, Family

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser's redemption on Christmas Eve.

Director: Brian Henson | Stars: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 39,358 | Gross: $27.28M

7/10 Clever, full of colour and energy, blissfully non-campy. The songs are banal, but the cast's sincerity shines.

20. A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994 TV Movie)

G | 69 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Fred is cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in a stage adaption of the story, but is acting a bit stingy in real-life.

Director: Joanna Romersa | Stars: Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward

Votes: 904

2/10 Another play-within-a-play version. The tedious frame story goes on and on, repeatedly interrupting the Carol itself. For Flintstones fans only.

21. A Christmas Carol (1999 TV Movie)

PG | 95 min | Drama, Fantasy

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An old bitter miser who makes excuses for his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three ghosts visit him on Christmas Eve.

Director: David Hugh Jones | Stars: Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Joel Grey, Ian McNeice

Votes: 6,939

8/10 An intelligent and attractive adaptation, beautifully cast and filmed, with nice special effects. Stewart is excellent. But somehow this one does not dig at my gut the way the 1984 & 1951 versions do, perhaps because I found the Christmas Present sequence weak.

22. Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001)

PG | 77 min | Animation, Family

5.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

The film begins with a live-action sequence set in Boston in 1857, the site of a live reading by renowned novelist Dickens. As he begins his 'story of ghosts' a woman in the audience ... See full summary »

Director: Jimmy T. Murakami | Stars: Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Jane Horrocks

Votes: 1,500

23. A Christmas Carol: The Musical (2004 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 97 min | Drama, Fantasy, Musical

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by ghosts on Christmas Eve.

Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman | Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Jesse L. Martin, Jane Krakowski, Jennifer Love Hewitt

Votes: 1,527

24. A Christmas Carol (2009)

PG | 96 min | Animation, Drama, Family

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
55 Metascore

An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Steve Valentine

Votes: 84,542 | Gross: $137.86M

3/10 Ugly and startlingly unpleasant, a heartless if dazzling array of special effects.

25. The Night Before Christmas Carol (2010 TV Movie)

57 min

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Charles Dickens is portrayed conceiving the story of A Christmas Carol, in his study at 1AM on Friday, October 13, 1843.

Director: Scott Davis | Star: David Zum Brunnen

Votes: 8

4/10 A disappointing one-man version of how Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. Not much fun to be had here.