| |

23 Best A Christmas Carol Movie Adaptations

The classic story taking place in Victorian England and told by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge who is visited by three ghosts after displaying a grumpy and distasteful attitude toward Christmas and the Holidays.

Over 150 years after the original story, there have been over 20 adaptations from the source material of Charles Dicken’s tale with slight altercations to characters like Tiny Tim, nephew Fred, and effects to match the ever-changing movie industry.

From an animated short film to a musical, here’s the scoop on the best A Christmas Carol movies and tv shows to enjoy for the holiday season and to get you into the Christmas spirit!

1. Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Scrooge and a ghost in a christmas carol
Walt Disney Pictures

A computer-animated film captures the stunning retelling of Charles Dicken’s 1843 novel. This 2009 film by Robert Zemeckis stars Jim Carrey as Scrooge while Gary Oldman plays the character, Bob Cratchit, his underpaid clerk.

London awaits the arrival of the cheerful holiday, while Ebenezer wallows in his own misery about Christmas. He is soon visited by ghosts that are trying to bring the spirit of Christmas back into Scrooge’s life including the ghost of Christmas past. He also learns how to fix the error of his ways.

This version of A Christmas Carol is one of the most recent versions and a film that is still recognized and watched by families both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The motion-capture technique is also similar to Zemeckis’s The Polar Express.

2. A Christmas Carol (1984)

George C Scott as Scrooge
Entertainment Partners Ltd.

One of the best versions and adaptations of A Christmas Carol movies to date, This film by Clive Donner features David Warner as Bob Cratchit, Edward Woodward as the Ghost of Christmas Present, and George C. Scott as the melancholy Scrooge who ignores the importance of Christmas and refuses to be a part of the Christian holiday.

With a magnificent blend of chilling and warm moments throughout this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” it’s not difficult to claim that this rendition of the 1843 novella is a family favorite and a tradition in many households.

3. Ms. Scrooge

This 1997 film by John Korty explores the perspective of a woman confronting her past, present, and future instead of a man. But the obsession with business and poor treatment of workers flawlessly connects to the male counterparts of the classic.

Ms. Scrooge stars Cicely Tyson and Katherine Helmond and attempts to fill in small details that remain unknown in other versions. The film also takes place in Rhode Island instead of London.

4. The Stingiest Man in the Town

A short animated musical television special, The Stingiest Man in the Town is based on the live-action musical. The directors, Arthur Rankin and Jules Bass create a version of A Christmas Carol that goes down in history with a bold and nostalgic animated design.

5. Scrooge (1970)

Cinema Center Films

Even though this adaptation of A Christmas Carol came out in 1970, it is still one of the few versions that the public has well received. Albert Finney plays the miser who is stingy with his money while David Collings stars as his clerk. One day, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

6. Bugs Bunny’s Christmas Carol

bugs bunny's christmas carol
Warner Bros. Pictures

Looking for a comedic version of A Christmas Carol? The short film, “Bug’s Bunny Christmas Carol” takes a funny approach to Charles Dicken’s tale. The 8-minute Christmas special was a part of Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales and may be the perfect movie to watch on Christmas morning.

Even though the film is short and only receives little love, there are plenty of memorable voice actors like Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, and Jacob Marley.

The plot takes a different approach when it comes to giving Scrooge a lesson. Instead, Bugs Bunny dresses up as an ambassador of Hades and scares him. This rendition might be scary for children, but we can’t help but love Looney Tunes.

7. A Christmas Carol (1999)

a christmas carol 1999
Hallmark Entertainment & TNT Productions

This British-American version is one of the best A Christmas Carol movies that first appeared on television in 1999. After Patrick Stewart (Ebenezer Scrooge) made his mark on Broadway, a film was produced to bring Patrick’s version of Scrooge to life.

The inspiration behind the film stems from the 1951 adaptation, taking into consideration the design and the grim scenes starring Richard E. Grant.

The critically acclaimed movie offers a flawless script and casting that hasn’t been replicated since the film’s release.

8. Christmas Carol: The Movie

christmas carol the movie
© 2001 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Jimmy Murakami, this animated retelling of A Christmas Carol with some notable voice actors, Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, and Nicolas Cage. This rendition of the classic tale differs in that Scrooge receives another chance to amend his relationship with Belle.

One of the biggest differences is the younger appearance of Scrooge when he is visited by Marley’s ghost. Although this movie didn’t receive awards like other versions, this movie is still worth watching for a fresh take on the classic.

9. Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol

Mister Magoo visited by a ghost
United Productions of America

It’s time to kick the holidays into gear with this animated musical rendition of A Christmas Carol. Directed by Abe Levitow, this movie created in 1962 is the perfect movie to watch with kids.

Mr. Magoo is Ebenezer Scrooge in this animated Christmas special that was produced specifically for television. Jim Backus, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy lend their voices to the classic.

Starring as Ebenezer Scrooge on Broadway, Mr. Magoo arrives late and injures the director. Once the musical begins, he turns into Scrooge who is counting money in Victorian London. After a rude awakening by three ghosts, Scrooge finds a new purpose and makes an effort to change his stingy attitude.

10. A Christmas Carol (1971)

a christmas carol movie poster
Richard Williams Productions

The short animated 1971 version of Charles Dicken’s tale is one of the best A Christmas Carol movies and has won the academy award for best short film. The British-American movie and best animated short film follow a similar plot as the classic novel. Moreover, Alastair Sim, Michael Hordern, and other voice actors lend themselves to the short and impactful film.

11. The Muppet Christmas Carol

the muppets during christmas
Walt Disney Pictures

This musical comedy film is one of the best A Christmas Carol movies to date and the first Muppets film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The theatrical film is a family favorite due to the beloved muppets and the musical numbers.

Michael Caine stars as the melancholy Scrooge while Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, and a few others star as Muppet performers like Miss Piggy. Watch this entertaining version of the 1843 novel on Christmas Day.

12. Scrooged

bill murray
© 1988 Paramount Pictures

Scrooged takes on a modern perspective of the beloved novella. Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a successful television executive who drowns himself in cold ambition, leading to the loss of important people in his life.

Even though the characters’ names are different, the good thing is that the plot of the Christmas movie remains similar with the visit of three ghosts that gives him a chance to turn his life around. This version also stars Carol Kane, Richard Donner, and Bobcat Goldthwait.

The release of the film has led to great feedback from viewers, enough to add Scrooged to various lists of the best Christmas films.

13. A Christmas Carol: The Musical

scrooge in the 2004 musical
Hallmark Entertainment

The 2004 musical version of Charles Dicken’s novel is one of the best A Christmas Carol movies that go into more detail about Ebenezer Scrooge’s cold behavior towards mankind. It is also the same musical that Kelsey Grammar plays Scrooge.

The ghost of his friend, Jacob Marley visits him and warns him of the consequences of making other people suffer. This musical version of Charles Dickens novella was also presented at Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden from 1994 to 2003.

14. Rich Little’s Christmas Carol

The Canadian film of the 1843 novella of Charles Dickens’ Tale is a Christmas special that aired both in Canada and the United States upon its release. Rich Little puts on a one-man performance and impersonates the other characters. This animated film was well-received since 1978 and continues to be a go-to Christmas film for many families.

15. A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol

a flintstone's christmas carol
Turner Entertainment

The Flintstones Christmas Carol is a fun and hilarious version of A Christmas Carol. Directed by Joanna Romersa in 1994, this film offers a nostalgic glimpse, featuring characters from The Flintstones franchise. Henry Corden, Jean Vander PyI, and Frank Welker lend their voices to this family-friendly retelling.

This version of the story emphasizes what happens when someone gets too caught up in a character role, especially the cold and melancholy Ebenezer Scrooge.

16. Scrooge (1935)

scrooge looking out window
Twickenham Film Studios

Even though this 1935 version of A Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas film for many, the stylistic choices differ from other versions and you might not like the whole thing the first time around.

The film leans toward German Expressionism and darker scenes. However, there is a colored version that follows closely to the original text of the novella.

The Christmas fantasy film is directed by Henry Edwards and stars Seymour Hicks, Donald Calthrop, and Robert Cochran. Hicks plays the cold-hearted Scrooge and has successfully played the role more than 2000 times in a silent film.

17. A Christmas Carol (1997)

scrooge laying in bed
DIC Productions, L.P.

Going back in time, this version of A Christmas Carol is another animated retelling and is one of the few early film adaptations with original songs from Tim Curry, Whoopi Goldberg, Ed Asner, and Michael York.

This film first appeared on Nickelodeon and was soon released on DVD. The title role was played by Tim Curry and has remained a classic alongside other adaptations.

18. FX’s A Christmas Carol

scrooge and a ghost
FX Productions

Directed By Nick Murphy, this 2019 version of A Christmas Carol is a miniseries with enticing cinematography showcasing Ebenezer Scrooge’s story. The three-part series follows Scrooge’s encounter (Guy Pearce) with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

This adaptation presents a darker tale, specifically targeted toward an adult audience. This series might not remind people of the holiday season with a heavy backdrop of dark and explicit elements. But it is a series worth watching around this time of year to pass the time if you’re having an adult Christmas party.

19. A Christmas Carol (1951)

Scrooge encounters a ghost
George Minter Productions

A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) stars the famous, Alastair Sim as taking on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge with a notable supporting cast including Kathleen Harrison, George Cole, and many others.

This film with special effects brilliantly expands upon the 1843 novella by exploring the journey of Scrooge’s rise as a successful businessman.

The chairwoman’s role is also brought more to attention. However, the expansion of character backgrounds doesn’t overshadow the main plot of the visits from the Ghost of Christmas Present to the Ghost of Christmas Future.

20. Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck
© 1983 – Walt Disney Studios. All rights reserved.

This bite-size rendition of A Christmas Carol is a special edition centered around the Mickey Mouse universe. There are also a few characters from classic Disney films like Robin Hood and Pinocchio. Have your family watch this Mickey Mouse version of A Christmas Carol featuring Jiminy Cricket and other characters like Scrooge McDuck.

Each of the ghosts that Scrooge encounters is a different fan-favorite Disney character while Mickey Mouse plays the clerk. Even though the classic novella tells the story from a darker perspective, Mickey’s Christmas Carol elicits a sense of fun not often portrayed in other adaptations.

21. A Christmas Carol (1938)

scrooge and a ghost

One of the best A Christmas Carol movies to ever be released is this 1938 version featuring Reginald Owen. The plot follows closely with the original novel with Scrooge’s awakening on Christmas Day as a changed man. Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, Leo G. Carroll, and others bring the movie to life.

22. Scrooge, or Marley’s Ghost

The earliest film adaptation of the novella is a six-minute silent film directed by Walter R. Booth. Ebenezer Scrooge (Daniel Smith) is confronted by Jacob Marley’s ghost with visions of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future.

At the time of the film’s release, it was a major undertaking in its attempt to retell an 80-page story in less than ten minutes. However, the movie may fall flat for many compared to other modern takes of the story.

23. An All Dogs Christmas Carol

two dogs looking at a flower
MGM Family Entertainment

One of the best and most underrated A Christmas Carol movies features a lineup of animated dogs. The television special serves as the last installment in the All Dogs Go to Heaven film series.

This animated film doesn’t directly follow the original plot but rather places an emphasis on working undercover with people intent on siding with evil. Ernest Borgnine plays Carface, Steven Weber as Charlie, and Dom DeLuise as Itchy.

Find the true meaning of Christmas with these versions of A Christmas Carol! There are various versions of Scrooge with many taking on the role of Scrooge and other characters including Lionel Barrymore, Basil Rathbone, W.C. Fields, Vincent Price, and some films diving deep into his background and relationships.

Another hidden gem retelling the story is The Man Who Invented Christmas with Christopher Plummer.

But the majority of the adaptations have stuck to the original plot of the Bah Humbug character encountering the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, present, and the past.

If you’re as obsessed with A Christmas Carol as we are, consider picking up The Last Christmas of Ebenezer Scrooge: The Sequel to A Christmas Carol on Amazon by Marvin Kaye.

Fun Facts

Did you know that “A Klingon Christmas Carol” is the first play to be entirely in Klingon, which is a made-up language from Star Trek? There have also been recent collaborations with Star Wars and A Christmas Carol story.

There is an episode from Doctor Who that stars Michael Gambon as Scrooge.

That’s the scoop on the best A Christmas Carol movies and shows!

best a christmas carol movies

For more holiday movies and classics, visit these:

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for the support!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.