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An American Christmas Carol
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Reviews & Ratings for
An American Christmas Carol (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

A novel retelling of the Dickens tale. Give it a chance.

Author: Tom from Texas
17 December 2001

Not enough people ever gave this one a chance, but it should be considered one of the better versions of "A Christmas Carol" out there.

Why did it fail? Well, who wanted to see "Fonzie" play Scrooge back in 1979? I must admit that I did not like this movie the first time I saw it either, but it grew on me, as any good movie does. Henry Winkler plays Depression era "Bennidict Slade" (what an inventive American equivalent for "Ebenezer Scrooge"!), a rich businessman that started out as a delinquent orphan that was adopted by a kind man he unwittingly ends up putting out of business in his pursuit of greed. The "Depression Era" skin put on this movie makes it all the more gray, bleak and believable.

One thing that hurt this movie was that it doesn't have as much of a "feel good" ending as the usual "Scrooge" versions, but I rank this one high because it has my absolute favorite ending of any version of the "Scrooge" genre.

Naturally, I can't spoil the ending, only to say that Slade has more fun surprising people with his new found attitude, knowing just how shocked everyone will be, than any Scrooge movie I've seen. It makes a fun difference. And his surprise for "Tiny Tim", very well done.

One annoying distraction, the "Ghost of Christmas Future" is portrayed by a black man wearing gold chains, dressed in 1979 fashions and listens to disco music. Their "Ghost of the Future" jumped a little too far ahead, and is comical by todays standards.

But this is a great version, and if you are bored to death with endless variations of "A Christmas Carol" where you know the story blindfolded, then I highly recommend you give this one a chance. You'll like it as long as you don't try and compare it to A.C.C., looking for places where they changed the story.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Fonzie plays Scrooge

Author: evilcat from Toronto, Ontario
9 February 2000

I have to admit that this is my personal favorite when it comes to all the "Christmas Carol" films. I try to watch it every year now. I actually really enjoyed Henry Winkler as "Scrooge" and found his portrayal memorable. I am not sure if it is noted in the credits but the majority of this film was shot on location in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. This film does break some of the traditions of the original Charles Dickens tale but it is a very good version of the original with all the same good spirit.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful Christmas story

Author: munkmanor from United States
23 December 2006

This movie was excellent as a modern reminder that the Dicken's Classic, "A Christmas Carol" is still alive and well in this modern era. A heart- felt movie reminding us the joy of Christmas needs to be with us the whole year round. The acting is superb and traditional in every sense! This movie reaches to all, provoking the conscientious of human dignity and respect for our fellow man. One can simply tell the actors really got into their roles, ensuring this would be a great Christmas Classic. Bravo for the making of the "An American Christmas Carol". I can only assume Mr. Winkler who stared in this role feels this is one of his best works, defining the role as Ebenezer Scrooge.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Deserves Full Praise As A Worthy Addition.

Author: scott88-4 from Canada
14 April 2006

While I love almost all of the "Christmas Carol" films, this one really has a special place in my heart. I saw this movie many years back when I was not really a fan of Christmas movies and never went out of my way to watch them. This film changed that. I enjoyed it so much that I now eagerly await every December as a time once again to enjoy some of the classic holiday shows from times past. "An American Christmas Carol" is easily one of my favorites. And, as a previous reviewer felt, the ending of the Winkler version may be the best of all of the versions, although I still love the Alistair Sims ending (standing on his head!) Excellent film. And it deserves a place in the "Christmas Film Hall Of Fame".

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

My favorite Christmas Carol movie.

Author: dlwoods from Naches, Washington, USA
23 December 2000

I have loved this movie for a long time. Unfortunately, where I live my searches of TV schedules over the years have turned up nothing. It is very nice that I can finally give this movie the praise it deserves. It was a grand experience discovering that Henry Winkler was an actor of this range. I also was impressed that he and the studio chose a different presentation of this timeless story. To conclude, I thank this venue for allowing me to sing the praise of this movie so many years later, while I again search for replays of it on TV.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Should be on the air

Author: mflunder from Ontario, Canada
15 December 2002

When asked recently what my favourite version of A Christmas Carol was, I had to respond with this movie. Henry Winkler provides a character in this adaptation that is the most believable amongst other perennial favorites in the role of Scrooge (Mr. Slate in this case).

It has been a while since I have seen the film and I am disappointed not to find it on TV again this year. I could use the refreshing view this film provided to the tired Allister Sims or Gorge C. Scott versions.

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:


Author: Eddie Smith ( from United States
23 December 2000

I haven't seen it in about 15 years, but I really did like this version of A Christmas Carol. Yeah, it deviated a bit from the original story, but... so what? I could relate to it more.

Seems like ABC would have this one to broadcast annually, but I guess they tossed it when the Fonzie furor was over. Actually, I'm not sure if he was best cast as the American Scrooge, but that didn't take away from the story.

Call me delusional, but I consider it an unappreciated holiday classic.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Excellent re-imagining of the concept

Author: rkhen from Canada
21 December 2013

First, disclosure: I'm a giant Dickens fan, scholar of his life and work, and total Charles Dickens fanboy geek all the way around.

This movie is NOT a version or update of Dickens' 'Christmas Carol'. It's written as if the writers had never heard of the Dickens story, were handed a one-paragraph summary of the plot, and told "Go!" And everything about it works. I especially like the way they improved on some of the weaknesses of the Dickens story. Just three examples: Slade stays gruff, socially awkward, and highly competent after his transformation, instead of becoming a loony old fool, which is fakey. He quotes business theory to justify his actions, as if it were a religion. Also typical of real-life Scrooges. And -- skirting spoilers -- the changes he makes in his life afterward are much more uplifting and realistic. He's just much, much more interesting than Scrooge. (Sorry, Chuck!) I could go on. These writers do Dickens better than Dickens.

The 1930s New England setting is brilliant; the small town works better than London (which comes off like a small town in the Dickens story, but it's not.) And, gosh Henry Winkler is outstanding! A young actor, playing "old" in a ton of make-up, and totally believable.

Anyway, I won't rave on. Like many other reviewers here, I say, Give it a try! I'm astonished to see this movie get two stars in TV listings and hear commentators in the media sneer about it, like it's the dumbest Dickens "adaptation" ever. First, it's not; I could write a book about the total crap passing for "Dickens'" Christmas Carol. And second, it's not. As in "not Dickens". It's a little bit better, and a whole lot fresh.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Henry Winkler Triumphs In An American Christmas Carol !

Author: Mooviemike from United States
24 November 2013

I'm going to start of by saying that the "Fonz" from Happy Days is my all-time favorite TV character from my all-time favorite show. I'll also put out there that i got to meet Henry Winkler in person a few years back. That being said i remember fondly back in 1979 watching An American Christmas when it premiered on TV. Henry Winkler was at the height of his popularity then and i couldn't wait to see him in a new Christmas movie around the holiday season. Myself being all of 12 years old at the time i loved Henry Winkler in his "Scrooge" type role and the depression era setting. As others have stated the story has been changed slightly for an American setting and the ending a little differently done. But for me those are strong points that separate this version from other versions. That's why it's called "An American Christmas Carol" and not just "A Christmas Carol" because of it's American spin on things. For those looking it's been released on Blu Ray and DVD and you can probably find it online or locally for a pretty reasonable price. For fans or someone looking for something new they haven't seen give "An American Christmas Carol" a shot. This reviewer gives two thumbs up for "The Fonz" and if you don't agree you can "Sit On It" ! (Just some Happy Days humor for you.....Happy Holidays !)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

this is the version that puts a jump in my step

Author: burntmattr from United States
30 November 2009

It takes a great movie "for me" to voice my opinion, but this is such a great version I had to speak out. Although there are other versions "and there are many" this is the one that puts a jump in my step, this is the one that I go out of my way to watch. I actually plan my TV viewing time around it every year, the President could be declaring war, and I'll change the channel on him. One year it was not playing on any of the station so I went out and bought a copy. Now I have it on file forever, and can watch it any time I choose "but seriously" it literary kills me to have to wait until Christmas time to watch it. One year "I couldn't wait" so I whipped out my disk "slid it in the player" and watched it in July. Be cool John, R.I.

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