This year marks the 180th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which is one of the most famous Christmas stories ever written. Since its first publication in 1843, readers have constantly revisited the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, a joyless old man who loves only money. One year, on a magical Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future (aka the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come).
A Christmas Carol is a morality tale that forces Scrooge to come to terms with the mistakes he’s made in life, while giving him one last chance to turn his life around and make new choices. Hollywood has embraced this redemptive story with numerous adaptations over the years. For this Christmas season, we’re going to tell you where you can watch six of the most famous adaptations of A Christmas Carol.
This is not the first film version of A Christmas Carol, but it is one of the most famous versions. It’s a British film that was called Scrooge in the U.K before it was retitled for the U.S. Alastair Sim headlined the cast as Ebenezer Scrooge in this film, which has been rerun for decades on television. It’s also the only version on this list that you can watch for free.
Watch A Christmas Carol on Plex.
Someone at Disney had the brilliant idea of retelling A Christmas Carol with Carl Barks’ signature creation, Scrooge McDuck, playing his namesake, Ebenezer Scrooge. It came together as the animated featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
The Disney characters line up really well to the original story, with Uncle Scrooge’s nephew, Donald Duck, playing Ebenezer’s nephew, Fred, while Mickey Mouse plays Bob Cratchit, and Goofy has a memorable appearance as the ghost of Jacob Marley. For the young kids in your life, you won’t find a better Christmas Carol adaptation than this one.
Watch Mickey’s Christmas Carol on Disney+.
Scrooged is an updated take on A Christmas Carol that takes place in the present day … back when the present was 1988. Bill Murray stars as Frank Cross, a heartless TV executive who ruthlessly makes his employees work through the holidays during a production of A Christmas Carol.
But it isn’t long before Frank is put through A Christmas Carol of his own, and his personal ghosts aren’t above laying on hands on him to impart the most important lesson of his life.
Michael Caine is one of the few human performers in The Muppets Christmas Carol, and he delivers a master class performance as Scrooge. Almost every other role in the movie is performed by Muppets, and it’s absolutely delightful. It even sticks more closely to Dickens’ story than most of the other adaptations do.
Watch The Muppets Christmas Carol on Disney+.
When Robert Zemeckis was in his Beowulf phase, he helmed this performance capture animated take on A Christmas Carol with the living cartoon himself, Jim Carrey, as the voice of Scrooge — and also as the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. This is also a fairly faithful adaptation, with some added zaniness to match Carrey’s brand of comedy.
Watch A Christmas Carol on Disney+.
Put the kids to bed early for this version of A Christmas Carol. This FX- and BBC-produced adaptation goes to much darker places than all of the other incarnations listed here. The ultimate destination is the same, but it’s definitely unsettling compared to the others.
Guy Pearce stars as Ebenezer Scrooge, with Andy Serkis as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley, Charlotte Riley as Lottie Scrooge/the Ghost of Christmas Present, Joe Alwyn as Bob Cratchit, Vinette Robinson as Mary Cratchit, and Jason Flemyng as the Ghost of Christmas Future.
Watch A Christmas Carol on Hulu.
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