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Where to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas (all versions)

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You really are a heel. You’re as cuddly as a cactus, you’re as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch.”

For Dr. Seuss fans of all ages, Albert Hague’s incredibly catchy song from the original TV special, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (as performed by Thurl Ravenscroft) perfectly summed up the nefarious malcontent who was so disgusted by Christmas revelry that he decided to make everyone else miserable as he was by taking away their presents and pageantry.

However, the Grinch’s enduring popularity isn’t just because he was such an effective villain. It’s because the Grinch has an epiphany about the true meaning of Christmas and a redemptive turn as he realizes just how wrong he was to rob Whoville. And the Grinch went to great extremes to make things right before embracing the change within himself as well. As the story says, his heart grew three sizes that day, and he didn’t suddenly die of a coronary episode.

There have been three adaptations of Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 1957 children’s book. The aforementioned How the Grinch Stole Christmas! TV special, the 2000 live-action film starring Jim Carrey in the title role, and The Grinch, a 2018 animated movie that expanded the story to feature-length. Now, it’s time to tell you where to find all three adaptations this holiday season.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Frankenstein star Boris Karloff lent his voice to How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as both the narrator and the Grinch himself. The special was directed and developed by Looney Tunes legend Chuck Jones, and the animation has held up very well in the ensuing decades.

The only real knock against this version of the story is that it’s over too quickly, with just 25 minutes from start to finish. Still, it’s hard to argue with something that works so well that it’s still a Christmas favorite nearly six decades later.

Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Peacock.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch talks to a dog inDr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Some Grinch-like Hollywood executive has ensured that no one can stream the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas this holiday season without paying extra. Sounds like somebody deserves coal in their stockings for that.

Director Ron Howard and screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman took some extreme liberties with the Grinch’s backstory in this one by reframing his alienation from Whoville. For example, the Grinch once loved Martha May Whovier (Christine Baranski) and shared mutual enmity with his childhood bully, Mayor Augustus MayWho (Jeffrey Tambor).

Additionally, the film establishes the Grinch’s reluctant bond with young Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) when he saves her life, and she tries to get him involved with the town’s Christmas celebrations. This movie has essentially the same ending as the TV special, it just takes longer to get there.

Rent or buy How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Google Play, Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV+.

The Grinch (2018)

The Grinch in the process of stealing Christmas.
Universal Pictures

Sherlock and Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch steps into the title role of The Grinch, which offers the most sympathetic version of the character to date. As part of the expanded story, this movie shows that the Grinch’s actions came from a place of anger, pain, and loneliness that stayed with him throughout his life. And yet, he isn’t a heartless monster even before his redemption. The Grinch cares for his dog, Max, and he doesn’t even begrudge his reindeer, Fred, a happy ending.

To pad out the story, the creative team gave larger roles to Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) and the rest of Whoville. The rest of the cast includes Rashida Jones as Donna Who, Kenan Thompson as Bricklebaum, Angela Lansbury as Mayor McGerkle, Tristan O’Hare as Groopert, Sam Lavagnino as Ozzy, Ramone Hamilton as Axl, Scarlett Estevez as Izzy, and Pharrell Williams as the Narrator.

Watch The Grinch on Peacock.

Is any version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas worth watching?

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Yes, especially the original animated version. While dated, it still offers an entertaining, if short, diversion into a classic Dr. Seuss tale. Little kids will be especially entertained by its simplistic storyline and clear good versus bad narrative.

The Jim Carrey version has both its admirers and detractors. The Ron Howard-directed live-action interpretation loses some of its magic in its big-budget translation, and Dr. Seuss can be a bit annoying at 105 minutes. Still, Carrey is at his peak comedic form here, and the makeup and production design are genuinely captivating.

For modern fans, The Grinch has perhaps the best chance of catching on. It has dazzling modern animation and a more reflective story than the live-action film. Carrey may be a live-action cartoon himself, but the Grinch’s unique physicality will always work better in animation.

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