Few stories have had quite the impact on popular culture, and the world at large, in the way that Charles Dickens' 1843 classic novella A Christmas Carol has. It's a story that has been told and retold truly countless times, with adaptations and works inspired by it being produced on a regular basis.
Telling the tale of the saving of Ebenezer Scrooge's soul, this story is one that never fails to delight and move viewers of all ages, regardless of what medium they're reading or watching it in. And whether the adaptation is live action, or animated, or even produced with puppets, it's clear that this story's meaning never loses it's luster, even almost 200 years later. We're taking a look at the ten best adaptations of the story, according to their IMDb scores.
10 A Flintstones Christmas Carol (7.0)
Over the years, adaptations of the classic Charles Dickens novella featuring beloved children's and animated characters inhabiting the roles have been surprisingly common and popular. One of the most beloved of them all comes in at number 10 on this list, with a respectable 7.0 as its IMDb score: A Flintstones Christmas Carol.
Produced for television in 1994, the special finds the beloved residents of Bedrock staging a production of A Christmas Carol, with their own unique twist on charcter names such as the Cragit family, the fearsome Jacob Marbley, and Ebonezer Scrooge played by Fred himself - who often has quite the Scrooge-like attitude as it is.
9 A Christmas Carol (1999) (7.4)
Some truly legendary actors have taken on the role of the iconic fictional character Ebenezer Scrooge. One of the most beloved of them all is Star Trek icon Patrick Stewart, who took on the part in the 1999 television production A Christmas Carol.
One of the more serious and not nearly as cheerful adaptations of Dickens' source material, the 1999 British production was inspired after Stewart performed A Christmas Carol on stage. The cast also features impressive names like Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit, Dominic West as his nephew Fred, and Joel Grey as the Ghost of Christmas Past.
8 A Christmas Carol (1938) (7.5)
One of the earliest adaptations of Dickens' work is the beloved 1938 A Christmas Carol, starring early British Hollywood star Reginald Owen in the iconic Ebenezer Scrooge role. The film also featured the legendary Hollywood family of the Lockharts as the Cratchits.
Though faithful to the book in many ways, this adaptation, though serious in tone, removed many of the more upsetting elements of the story, including darker aspects of Scrooge's visions of his death and his past tragic romance.
7 Scrooge (1970) (7.5)
Though many beloved Christmas movies, and even some adaptations of A Christmas Carol itself, contain memorable musical moments, there's nothing inherent to the story of A Christmas Carol that lends itself to the genre of the musical. And yet that's exactly what the 1970 film Scrooge produced.
Critically acclaimed and nominated for many awards, the Albert Finney-led film is one of the most accurate adaptations of the story, even with its richly produced musical score added to the story. The film also features a memorable turn by the legendary Sir Alec Guinness as Scrooge's partner, Jacob Marley.
6 Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (7.7)
As yet another example of the universality of A Christmas Carol, one of the most beloved adaptations of all comes from the 1960s children's animation of Mister Magoo. In 1962, Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol aired on NBC and finds the adorable dim-witted old man Mister Magoo taking on the role of Scrooge in a local musical production.
In addition to sweet songs written for the special, this animated adaptation features other great 60s voices from Morey Amsterdam, Jack Cassidy, Joan Gardner, and Paul Frees, as well as plenty of comic relief at Mister Magoo's expense.
5 The Muppet Christmas Carol (7.7)
One of the most beloved adaptations of all time features barely any human characters at all - and has often been deemed the most faithful adaptation of Dickens' work. Released in 1992, The Muppet Christmas Carol stars everyone's favorite puppets alongside Hollywood icon Michael Caine in the role of Scrooge.
Featuring the adorable weirdo Gonzo as the film's narrator, Charles Dickens himself, the movie goes to great lengths to preserve the integrity and actual words of Dickens' novel, all while incorporating beautiful music and plenty of Muppet-esque humor. The real stars of the movie, apart from Caine's phenomenal turn, are the buddy duo of narrators Gonzo and Rizzo, and the adorable young Robin the Frog as Tiny Tim.
4 A Christmas Carol (1984) (7.8)
George C. Scott stars as Scrooge in yet another of the British television productions of the beloved Charles Dickens tale. Released in 1984, the movie is perhaps the most faithful fully live action and human cast adaptation of Dickens' tale, featuring a highly acclaimed performance from Scott.
Other standouts in the television special include Frank Finlay as Jacob Marley, the late great Roger Rees as Scrooge's nephew Fred, and David Warner and Susannah York as the married Cratchits.
3 Blackadder's Christmas Carol (8.0)
One of the highest rated adaptations of this beloved tale is also one of the most unconventional of them all, as it comes in the form of a satire as part of the Blackadder series. Starring the iconic British comedian Rowan Atkinson as Ebenezer Blackadder, a man who is the total opposite of Scrooge and known for his kindness and charity.
Through a visit from a single spirit, known simply as the Spirit of Christmas, Ebenezer Blackadder decides that a life of generosity and compassion simply isn't for him, and chooses instead to become a cruel and ruthless businessman.
2 Mickey's Christmas Carol (8.0)
Coming in at second place on IMDb's rankings is one of the shortest, but also most beloved adaptations of them all: the classic 1983 animated special Mickey's Christmas Carol. Though the special offers abbreviated visits from each of the three spirits in order to fit its brisk runtime, the story nevertheless feels completely and powerfully told.
A large part of the special's success comes from the perfect casting of the greedy Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as Mickey and Minnie Mouse and various other tiny mice as the Cratchit family. It's impossible to watch Tiny Tim as played by the tiny Fieldmouse and not be completely moved.
1 A Christmas Carol (1951) (8.1)
Coming in at number one according to IMDb's rankings it the 1951 classic A Christmas Carol (or, in the United Kingdom, Scrooge) starring Alastair Sim as a truly tough and merciless Scrooge. This film is perhaps one of the most adult of the adaptations, as it does not shy away from exploring the darker aspects of Dickens' original tale.
The film is also one of the only ones to incorporate the faithful narration from Dickens' original text, lending a certain air of comfort and levity to the otherwise dreadfully serious adaptation.
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