In December 1843, Charles Dickens published his novella A Christmas Carol, and a holiday classic was born. In the 177 years since it first entranced readers, the story of the miserly Scrooge who learns about the true meaning of Christmas has been adapted countless times for the stage and screen. And many of those TV and film versions are available stream. Here’s where to watch seven different adaptations of the story of Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’
Michael Caine stars opposite a cast of Muppets in this 1992 musical adaptation of Dickens’ story. Kermit the Frog is Bob Cratchit, Statler and Waldorf are Scrooge’s former partners Robert and Jacob Marley, and Gonzo is Charles Dickens, who narrates the movie. You might expect a version of A Christmas Carol featuring puppets to play fast and loose with the original tale, but this version has been praised for being one of the most faithful adaptations of the book. Streaming on Disney+ and available to rent on Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
‘A Christmas Carol’ with Alistair Sim
For many viewers, the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol with Alistair Sim in the Ebenezer Scrooge role is the only one worth watching. Sim perfectly embodies Scrooge as he transforms from a cantankerous miser (whose sour attitude is rooted in a painful childhood and youth) to a man filled with a new appreciation and wonder for life by the movie’s end. Streaming for free on Amazon Prime with the IMDb TV app.
‘A Christmas Carol’ with George C. Scott
Another much-loved version of A Christmas Carol is this 1984 TV movie with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Frank Finlay plays Jacob Marley and David Warner is Scrooge’s beat-down employee Bob Cratchit. Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime with the Starz add-on.
‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol’
Introduce little ones to the classic tale of Scrooge by streaming Mickey’s Christmas Carol. With a running time of just 26 minutes, this 1983 animated short isn’t too long to hold kids’ attention. Of course, Scrooge McDuck plays Scrooge, while Goofy is Jacob Marley and Mickey Mouse is Bob Cratchit. Streaming on Disney+ and available to rent on Amazon Prime.
In this modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray plays cantankerous TV exec Frank Cross, who plans to force his staff to work through the holidays. But after being visited by three spirits (played by David Johansen, Carol Kane, and Robert Hammond), he rediscovers the meaning of Christmas. Available to rent on Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
‘A Christmas Carol’ with Guy Pearce
Some versions of A Christmas Carol play up the story’s humorous elements. But this 2019 version (which aired on FX and stars Guy Pearce as Scrooge), offers a much darker take on the story. In this 3-hour movie, Scrooge’s misanthropy veers into cruelty, and the character’s past is much more grim. This is one to watch after the kids go to bed. Streaming on Hulu.
‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’
This isn’t a straight adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but rather a fictionalized take on how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) wrote his famous novella. In the movie, Dickens is broke and facing a deadline as he struggles to complete the story. As he battles writer’s block, he’s visited by the characters he’s created, including Christopher Plummer as Scrooge. Streaming on Showtime and Kanopy.
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