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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.

Director:

Clive Donner

Writers:

Charles Dickens (novel), Roger O. Hirson (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

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 ... 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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Rediscover the Joy of Christmas Spirit! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Family | Fantasy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Portuguese

Release Date:

17 December 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Carol See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only traditional adaptation of A Christmas Carol where Scrooge's father is seen on screen. He is mentioned in the book but is never seen. See more »

Goofs

The dome of St Paul's Cathedral is visible just a few streets away from the Cratchits' house. Near the end of the film, however, Scrooge tells the poulterer to deliver a goose to the Cratchits' house in Camden Town (as named in the book) - over four miles away from St Paul's. See more »

Quotes

Fred Holywell: Uncle Ebenezer, this is my wife Janet. Janet this is Uncle Ebenezer.
Janet Holywell: It's a pleasure.
Ebenezer Scrooge: More like a surprise, wouldn't you say?
Janet Holywell: Well, that too.
Fred Holywell: That's quite true. Quite honestly, it is a surprise. At least yesterday, you made it quite clear, it seemed to me at least, that you had no intention of accepting my annual invitation.
Ebenezer Scrooge: I made other things clear too, didn't I, Fred? That Christmas was a humbug - a waste of time and money. A false and commercial festival, devoutly to be ignored.
Fred Holywell: Yes, ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The more recent DVD and Blu ray releases by 20th Century Fox edit out the fade to blacks where advert breaks originally would have been (which ironically had dramatically broken the film up into the five 'staves' as per the novel). This has made for some rather abrupt jump cuts in the visuals and music. See more »

Connections

Version of Ponds Theater: A Christmas Carol (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

I Saw Three Ships
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
The Definitive "Christmas Carol"
19 December 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

This 1984 version of the Dickens' classic `A Christmas Carol,' directed by Clive Donner, stars George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge. By this time around, the challenge for the filmmaker was to take such familiar material and make it seem fresh and new again; and, happily to say, with this film Donner not only met the challenge but surpassed any expectations anyone might have had for it. He tells the story with precision and an eye to detail, and extracts performances from his actors that are nothing less than superlative, especially Scott. One could argue that the definitive portrayal of Scrooge-- one of the best known characters in literary fiction, ever-- was created by Alastair Sim in the 1951 film; but I think with his performance here, Scott has now achieved that distinction. There is such a purity and honesty in his Scrooge that it becomes difficult to even consider anyone else in the role once you've seen Scott do it; simply put, he IS Scrooge. And what a tribute it is to such a gifted actor; to be able to take such a well known figure and make it so uniquely his own is quite miraculous. It is truly a joy to see an actor ply his trade so well, to be able to make a character so real, from every word he utters down to the finest expression of his face, and to make it all ring so true. It's a study in perfection.

The other members of the cast are splendid as well, but then again they have to be in order to maintain the integrity of Scott's performance; and they do. Frank Finlay is the Ghost of Jacob Marley; a notable turn, though not as memorable, perhaps, as the one by Alec Guinness (as Marley) in the film, `Scrooge.' Angela Pleasence is a welcome visage as the Spirit of Christmas Past; Edward Woodward, grand and boisterous, and altogether convincing as the Spirit of Christmas Present; and Michael Carter, grim and menacing as the Spirit of Christmas Yet To Come.

David Warner hits just the right mark with his Bob Cratchit, bringing a sincerity to the role that measures up well to the standard of quality set by Scott's Scrooge, and Susannah York fares just as well as Mrs. Cratchit. The real gem to be found here, though, is the performance of young Anthony Walters as Tiny Tim; it's heartfelt without ever becoming maudlin, and simply one of the best interpretations-- and the most real-- ever presented on film.

The excellent supporting cast includes Roger Rees (Fred Holywell, and also the narrator of the film), Caroline Langrishe (Janet Holywell), Lucy Gutteridge (Belle), Michael Gough (Mr. Poole) and Joanne Whalley (Fan). A flawless presentation, this version of `A Christmas Carol' sets the standard against which all others must be gauged; no matter how many versions you may have seen, watching this one is like seeing it for the first time ever. And forever after, whenever you think of Scrooge, the image your mind will conjure up will be that of George C. Scott. A thoroughly entertaining and satisfying experience, this film demands a place in the annual schedule of the holiday festivities of every home. I rate this one 10/10.


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