When it comes to Christmas movies, there are a lot of options. From classics to new releases, the genre has become very versatile. But the most beloved Christmas movies of all time are re-imaginings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This beloved story follows Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey through the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Throughout his experience, Scrooge learns that giving is more important than greed and finds a way to share the joy of the holiday with others.
The best re-imaginings of the story offer a mix of light humor and drama. Often they use modern settings and twists on the story to make it feel more contemporary. However, there are many other versions that are faithful to the original text and do not alter or deviate from the main plot of the story. One of the best is Brian Desmond Hurst’s portrayal of Scrooge, which perfectly straddles the line between somber sadness and happy hope.
MGM’s 1938 version, which features Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge, is another great example of a faithful adaptation. The film trimmed down the story to a manageable length and removed some of the darker aspects of the book, but it still stays true to the spirit of the story.
It’s also worth mentioning the 1971 Richard Williams adaptation, which is on the darker side of the spectrum and offers some truly terrifying imagery. This is a good choice for older viewers, though it will scare younger audiences.
If you prefer something lighter, there’s the Muppet Christmas Carol, starring Michael Caine as Scrooge. This version is a little less accurate to the source material, but it’s definitely worth watching. The characters are all delightful, and Caine’s performance is masterful.
Other re-imaginings of the story include Carry On Christmas, which was broadcast in 1969 and featured Cyril Ritchard (Peter Pan’s Captain Hook) as Scrooge. The film also stars Alfie Bass and Tessie O’Shea as Bob and Tiny Cratchit.
There’s also Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol, which was the first animated television special to tackle the story. The UPA character’s usual myopia-based hijinks are used as a framing device for the story, but they do not interfere with the story itself. The characters and dialog are played pretty straight, although the production does jostle things around a bit by swapping out Christmases Past and Present and by introducing the modern ending in which Scrooge surprises Cratchit at home.
There are also numerous audio recordings of the story, including a full-cast production from the Colonial Radio Theatre that was broadcast yearly on Sirius XM radio and released by Blackstone Audio in 2007. Brilliance Audio has also recorded a studio recording with Peter Gerety as Scrooge.