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A Christmas Carol (1951)
"Scrooge" (original title)

Approved  |   |  Drama, Fantasy  |  2 December 1951 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 14,028 users  
Reviews: 201 user | 58 critic

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


(as Brian Desmond-Hurst)


(adapted from "A Christmas Carol"), (adaptation)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Harrison ...
Mervyn Johns ...
George Cole ...
John Charlesworth ...
Francis De Wolff ...
Spirit of Christmas Present (as Francis de Wolff)
Rona Anderson ...
Carol Marsh ...
Brian Worth ...
Miles Malleson ...
Glyn Dearman ...
Michael Dolan ...


Stingy businessman Ebenezer Scrooge is known as the meanest miser in Victorian London. He overworks and underpays his humble clerk, Bob Cratchit, whose little son, Tiny Tim, is crippled and may soon die. He also has nothing to do with his nephew, Fred, because his birth cost the life of his beloved sister. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge has a haunting nightmare from being visited by the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley. He is visited by three ghosts and is given one last chance to change his ways and save himself from the grim fate that befell Marley. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Now! The story that has brought joy to millions! A new screen triumph! See more »


Drama | Fantasy


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

2 December 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Carol  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the novella, the Spirit of Christmas Past carries an extinguisher, a small funnel which was used to put out candles. This was eliminated for the movie version, although the Spirit does appear more or less solid, depending on the scene, to correspond with the description in the book. See more »


Alice seems to age very little between the past and present scenes, compared to Scrooge. This could be to show the contrast between the two--she chose to stay on the "good" path and has a healthier spiritual condition, he turned to greed and belligerence and has prematurely aged. See more »


Jacob Marley: Look to see me no more. But look here, that you may remember for your own sake what has passed between us!
Ebenezer: Why do they lament?
Jacob Marley: They seek to interfere for good in human matters, and have lost their power forever.
See more »


Featured in A Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011) See more »


Silent Night, Holy Night
(1818) (uncredited)
Music by Franz Gruber
English lyrics by John Freeman Young
Excerpt sung by a trio of boys
Sung by an offscreen chorus at end of film
Often in the score as background music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not a perfect film but still the most enduring version.
30 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film is one I will watch year after year and surpasses the other versions I've seen in so many ways ... even if Noel Langley's screenplay liberties with Dickens' novel led to an inescapable character error.

In Langley's screenplay, we're led to believe that Scrooge's father blames him for his wife's death during childbirth ... which later leads Scrooge to blame his nephew for the death of his younger sister (Fan) under the same circumstances. The flaw? The Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge back to his boarding school. Fan comes to take Scrooge home, saying that their father has repented and become kinder. Scrooge remarks how much Fan looks like their mother ... and Fan replies, saying it might be the reason why he's become kinder. But, if Fan was Scrooge's younger sister and if their mother died during Scrooge's childbirth, Fan couldn't exist ... because their mother was already dead and buried by the time she would have been born.

In Dickens' novel, the death of Scrooge's mother is only implied. And Fan's death is only mentioned as happening when she was an adult. Death during childbirth was not associated with either the mother or Fan ... implying that the "distancing" between Scrooge's father and Scrooge, as well as between Scrooge and Fred, was merely because both had become miserly and unfeeling men of business. And in the novel, Dickens referred to Fan as being, quote, "much younger than the boy" (referring to Ebenezer). If Langley referred to Fan as being "older" than Ebenezer, it could have been seen as merely a screenplay writer taking "license" to revise the novel. But Langley didn't make such a reference ... which probably left Dickens readers scratching their heads.

That error aside, the film was completely enjoyable and will certainly be enjoyed by future generations as much as my generation has enjoyed it.

P.S. Trivial tidbit. While death during childbirth was common in Dickens time, it wasn't as common as death by consumption (today called tuberculosis). Dickens own younger sister died from the disease ... and her name was Fan.

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