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A Christmas Carol (1984)

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


Clive Donner


Charles Dickens (novel), Roger O. Hirson (screenplay)
766 ( 122)

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
George C. Scott ... Ebenezer Scrooge
Frank Finlay ... Jacob Marley
Angela Pleasence ... Ghost of Christmas Past
Edward Woodward ... Ghost of Christmas Present
Michael Carter ... Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
David Warner ... Bob Cratchit
Susannah York ... Mrs. Cratchit
Anthony Walters Anthony Walters ... Tiny Tim
Roger Rees ... Fred Holywell / Narrator
Caroline Langrishe ... Janet Holywell
Lucy Gutteridge ... Belle
Nigel Davenport ... Silas Scrooge
Mark Strickson ... Young Scrooge
Joanne Whalley ... Fan
Timothy Bateson ... Mr. Fezziwig


Made for television version of the Charles Dickens classic of the same name. Ebenezer Scrooge is a hard-nosed, single-minded businessman in Victorian London. He has no friends, has disowned his only living relative - his nephew Fred Holywell - and generally treats everyone he meets with extreme contempt. He hates Christmas, only cares about making money and only gives his clerk, Bob Cratchit, the day off. However, he is taught the true meaning and spirit of Christmas by three ghosts who show him his own past and present. He is also shown what the future holds for him after his death if he doesn't change his behavior for the better. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A new powerful presentation of the most loved ghost story of all time! See more »


Drama | Family | Fantasy


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Portuguese

Release Date:

17 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens Weihnachtsgeschichte See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


After Scrooge is abandoned by the Ghost of Christmas present, he asks if they can come to a "meeting of the minds". A "meeting of the minds" is one of 6 required elements under the formalist theory of contract. As a Businessman, Scrooge would have been familiar with this term and likely resorted to using it in his desperate situation. See more »


When Bob Cratchit finishes work on Christmas Eve and picks up Tiny Tim it is still light as the sky is blue. But England is in the north hemisphere meaning it should be dark at that time of year. It would only be light at night in summer not winter. See more »


Ebenezer Scrooge: [to a "simile" player at the Hollywell's party, who's just been eliminated from the proceedings] ... "Quick as a FLASH," you idiot!
Ghost of Christmas Present: Ebenezer! Shush!
Ebenezer Scrooge: You said they could neither see nor hear us.
Ghost of Christmas Present: Oh, yes... that's right. Well, even I forget the regulations sometimes; after all, I don't come back very often.
Ebenezer Scrooge: SHUSH... I'm trying to listen to the game!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Some VHS and DVD releases (but not all) edited out Marley's voice calling Scrooge in the apparitional hearse, and then again just before appearing in the knocker. See more »


Version of A Christmas Carol (1960) See more »


Here We Come A-Caroling
Sung A Cappella by David Warner, Susannah York, Louise Gasser, Kieran Hughes, Sasha Wells, Nancy Dodds, Orlando Wells & Anthony Walters
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

By George it's the best!
16 October 2014 | by jjnxn-1See all my reviews

Flawless adaptation of the Dickens classic with George C. Scott ideally cast as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The production, a TV event in its day, is of the highest quality and could easily be mistaken as a theatrical film to those who didn't know better. Aside from Scott's award worthy performance the supporting cast is peppered with marvelous work. David Warner is a terrific Bob Cratchit, timid and kindly but strong with Susannah York as nice counterpoint as a scrappy Mrs. Cratchit. At first Anthony Walters is a disconcerting Tiny Tim with his breathy, somewhat dreamy take on the character until you take into account that Tim is ill and would be fey.

Angela Pleasance is a delightful and somewhat punk, with her ultra white hair, Ghost of Christmas Past. Unbowed by the blustery Scrooge and especially notable is Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present. He's full of brio and swagger with booming voice and resplendent in his velvet robes. That's one thing that makes this production stand out from others, often the spirits are just guides for Scrooge and recede into the woodwork once he begins his journey with them. Here they add an extra layer of enjoyment onto the tale.

Equally fine is Roger Rees as Scrooge's nephew Fred, keeping his jaunty humor and outlook even when confronted with his uncle's bitter and miserly ways. Lucy Gutteridge also makes a lovely and gentle Belle, Scrooge's lost love. In fact every role no matter how incidental is played expertly and contributes a piece of texture to the film.

As marvelous as the other players and the costume and set design are, and they are truly wonderful, Christmas Carol rises or falls on its Scrooge. That's where this production truly excels. There have been many fine actors who have essayed the role but once seeing George C. in the part it's hard to imagine a better interpretation. Playing off his natural crusty disposition and ability to fly into volcanic outburst at a moment's notice the Scrooge of the early going is a thoroughly hard and distasteful man but thanks to the actor's inherent warmth when he does an about face at the film's conclusion it is once again completely believable.

A holiday treasure not to be missed!!

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