A selfish, cynical television executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.


Richard Donner
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Murray ... Frank Cross
Karen Allen ... Claire Phillips
John Forsythe ... Lew Hayward
John Glover ... Brice Cummings
Bobcat Goldthwait ... Eliot Loudermilk
David Johansen ... Ghost of Christmas Past
Carol Kane ... Ghost of Christmas Present
Robert Mitchum ... Preston Rhinelander
Nicholas Phillips ... Calvin Cooley
Michael J. Pollard ... Herman
Alfre Woodard ... Grace Cooley
Mabel King ... Gramma
John Murray John Murray ... James Cross
Jamie Farr ... Jacob Marley
Robert Goulet ... Robert Goulet


Francis Xavier Cross is a cynical, mean spirited television executive, he treats his loyal assistant with contempt. He just sacked a member of staff on Christmas Eve for simply disagreeing with him, and he's alienated himself from his brother who still insists on inviting Frank to Christmas dinner despite him refusing to go every year. However, Frank is forced to learn the true meaning of Christmas when he's visited by three ghosts. Written by Iantjambo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Bill Murray is back among the ghosts. Only this time, it's three against one. See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Richard Donner: [A Christmas Carol (1951)] As in Lethal Weapon (1987), the 1951 Alistair Sim version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is playing on a television in the background of one scene. See more »


When Frank Cross is facing the dog at his brother's apartment in the hallway you can see the dog handler's shadow waving the dog off. See more »


Frank Cross: The Jews taught me this great word: Schmuck. I was a schmuck, and now I'm not a schmuck!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Paramount logo at the start of the film zooms in and transforms into a cloudy, night sky with the film's title appearing See more »

Alternate Versions

TBS runs an "edited for content" version of this film, that deletes or changes profanity and questionable dialog. See more »


Version of A Christmas Carol (1984) See more »


Sweetest Thing
Written by U2
Performed by New Voices of Freedom featuring Adriane McDonald and George Pendergrass
Produced by Jimmy Iovine, Dennis Bell and Christopher Bell
See more »

User Reviews

Great, modern take
21 November 2019 | by acedjSee all my reviews

This is a modern take on the classic Christmas story about Ebeneezer Scrooge from the story A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. To say that there was a lot of creative license taken here would be an understatement, but that does not detract from the fact that this is a great social comment on how commercialized Christmas has become. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a television network head that is trying to put on a live version of A Christmas Carol. He is driving his people like slaves and even tells someone to staple antlers to a mouse because they would not stay. He fires a member of his team on Christmas Eve for disagreeing with something he said. He has led a life of greed and cut off anyone that stood in his way, including his brother. That night he is payed a visit from fours ghosts, the first being his mentor, followed by the ghost of Christmas past, present and future. I am sure you are all familiar with the telling of this story. David Johnson and Carol Kane as the ghost of past and present respectively, steal the show. This is a great movie and should be enjoyed by all, every year.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

23 November 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol See more »


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,027,842, 27 November 1988

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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