Christmas elicits nothing more than "Bah, humbug!" from Ebenezer Scrooge (Scott), a miser whose sole pursuit of financial success has left him a bitter and lonely old man. But a Christmas Eve visit from the Ghosts of Chri... more »stmas Past, Present and Future ultimately teaches him to open his heart to the spirit of Christmas and to the joys of friends and family.« less
Schuylar L. (schuym1) from SIOUX CITY, IA Reviewed on 12/4/2018...
This is a great adaptation of a Christmas classic. This originally aired as a television movie in 1984 on CBS.
John C. (bookwheelboy) Reviewed on 12/30/2007...
For my money the best version.
1 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
My favorite adaptation of my favorite Christmas tale
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christmas just isn't Christmas unless you watch at least one version of A Christmas Carol, and this is by far my favorite. George C. Scott gives one of the greatest performances I have ever seen an actor give; he truly becomes Ebenezer Scrooge to the fullest degree possible. Scott can say more with just the slightest hint of a facial movement than many actors can say during the course of an entire movie. All of the performers here are excellent, bringing to life adored characters such as Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Scrooge's nephew Fred. All four spirits are remarkable, none more so than Scrooge's old partner Jacob Marley; having Marley's jaw drop after untying the burial cloth holding his mouth closed is an important aspect of the story and certainly does make an impression on the viewer. This is just one example of the moviemakers' faithfulness to Charles Dickens' original story; another would be the inclusion of the two miserable children, Ignorance and Want, beneath the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present.This timeless tale works extremely well on its own, but the unsurpassed acting skills of Scott make it almost more than real. The change wrought in him during the course of the night, as he changes from a man of crass materialism and unkindness to a repentant soul pleading for a chance to change his ways, is powerfully presented and really touches the viewer emotionally. The simple happiness revealed in the lives of Bob Cratchit and others are as heart-warming as the forgotten mistakes and pains of a younger Scrooge are agonizing. If there is any heart out there that is not touched by the goodness and courage of Tiny Tim, I don't even want to know about it. No matter how many times you watch this movie, it proves itself capable of bringing a tear to your eye, a lump in your throat, and ultimately the very spirit of true holiday cheer and Christian charity that Dickens intended it to convey.I cannot say I have seen every adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but I really cannot believe any other version could exceed the quality and emotional impact of this one. No matter how many times I read the story or watch the movie, it remains a source of eternal joy to me. This is more than a movie for me; it is an important and necessary part of each and every Christmas holiday season."
A Holiday Must See
Mark Baker | Santa Clarita, CA United States | 11/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"George C. Scott makes an outstanding Scrooge in this 1984 TV production of the Christmas classic. The story is once again told of a miser, miserable and alone. He shuns Christmas and helping others, only doing things that will increase his personal wealth. But then one fateful Christmas Eve, he's visited by four spirits who try to show him another way. Will it be enough to redeem him?I love this story, usually enjoying it in a couple forms over the course of December. This particular film version is my favorite. Probably helps that I've watched it almost every year since it came out. The acting is superb, especially from Scott. The costumes, scenery, and effects are wonderful as well, and they stick very close to the original story. Just watching a few minutes, I get... in and want to watch the whole thing all over again.This DVD is the perfect way to watch the film. The picture and sound are remarkably clear for an almost 20 year old made for TV film. Definitely better then my old recorded from TV tape. The film is presented in its original ratio - full frame. While it would have been nice to have an extra or two, the quality of the movie makes up for this absence in my opinion.If you're looking for a film version of this classic story for the holidays, look no further. This movie is sure to become a tradition in your family."
The best of all possible Scrooges.
Miles D. Moore | Alexandria, VA USA | 12/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The celebrated version of "A Christmas Carol" is the one starring Alastair Sim, who gives the definitive version of the traditional, crabbed miser performance of Scrooge. It indeed is very fine, but this version is better. It is probably the most faithful of all the screen "Christmas Carols" to the original Dickens story. It pulses with color and life, and the ancient Midlands town of Shrewsbury makes a delightful stand-in for 19th-century London. But what really makes this version unforgettable is the superb, surprising casting, beginning with George C. Scott as Scrooge. Scott plays Scrooge not as a crabbed old coot, but as a man whose imposing, smug facade masks enormous sorrow and insecurity--a man who suffered greatly, lost his way because of it, and needs to find that way again. It is a brilliant performance, and the supporting players shine like rubies: Frank Finlay as a truly terrifying Marley's Ghost; "Tom Jones" co-stars David Warner and Susannah York as Bob and Mrs. Cratchit; Edward Woodward, taking time out from "The Equalizer" to make a delightful Ghost of Christmas Present. This version of "A Christmas Carol" remembers that the story is, first and foremost, a ghost story; when the Ghost of Christmas Present reveals Ignorance and Want to Scrooge, every viewer will be thoroughly unnerved, and thoroughly moved. The terror, of course, is all the better to appreciate the abundant joy with which the story ends. Once you see this version of "A Christmas Carol," you will settle for no other."
My favorite version
S. Ruble | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It would be an understatement to say that there have been many filmed versions of "A Christmas Carol." They run the gamut from somewhat scary to lighthearted, from straight drama to musical, and everything in between.
Myself, I tend to dislike the musical versions and prefer the story to be straight drama, with a touch of scariness. As such, this version is my favorite. While it is not a completely faithful adaptation of the book, it is true to the spirit of the book and to Dickens's firm sense of social justice.
George C. Scott as Scrooge is one of those rare examples of absolutely perfect casting. With his jowly, scowly face and gravelly voice, he is completely believable as the miserly, miserable Scrooge, yet at the same time, he shows the humanity that is buried beneath, especially when the Ghost of Christmas Past is showing him the path he took that led to his lonely, bitter existence.
The Ghost of Christmas Present is a harsher, more judgemental spirit. As played by Edward Woodward, he laughs a lot, but at the same time is oddly humorless. There are times when he is actually rather frightening, which of course sets the stage for the terrifying Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
The supporting cast is extremely good (save for maybe Susannah York as Mrs. Cratchit), and the production values are much higher than one would expect from a TV movie. In fact, one could easily mistake it for a theatrical release; I was surprised to learn that it wasn't."
Why (Officially) I Love This Movie!
Charles Griffin | DeLand, FL USA | 01/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Every winter, I enjoy watching A Christmas Carol on TV whenever I can, and the 1984 version is my favorite. The production and performances add up to a moody, realistic and touching adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic.Director Clive Donner (editor of the much celebrated 1951 Alastair Sim version of Scrooge) presents a stunningly authentic recreation of Dickens' London. From effectively foggy streets to Ebenezer's own cobwebbed-infested manor, Donner provides a gritty, appropriately dark atmosphere, enhanced by the wonderful score. The film's pacing is exquisite. In showing Ebenezer the error of his ways, the filmmakers give equal time to his past, present and future, never once lingering to the point of boredom. Thus the story seems to fly by compared to the other adaptations.George C. Scott is excellent as Scrooge. Like all of those who've portrayed the character, his old miser starts out mean and bitter and ends up joyous and thankful! But throughout his performance, true sadness runs deep. Scott makes his emotional transformation subtle, painting a realistic portrait of a man haunted by the mistakes of his past, taking his pain out on the world. But what separates the 1984 production of Christmas Carol from all others is the terrific supporting cast. David Warner may give the warmest performance of his career as Bob Cratchet (all the more poignant considering the many villains he's played over the years). Frank Finlay is the most compelling Jacob Marley I've ever seen. You can almost feel this man's torture just by gazing upon his unblinking expression. Edward Woodward brings great depth to the Ghost of Christmas Present, communicating tremendous power, yet just the right touch of humor. Finally, this adaptation of the Dickens' tale features the scariest, most intimidating Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come you'll find anywhere!Most of us look forward to a healthy dose of A Christmas Carol at the end of each year and we all have our favorite version. Thanks to the handsome production values, expert pacing and perfect cast, led by the magnificent George C. Scott, I believe they truly got it right in 1984!"