No matter how many times it's been adapted, the classic tale of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol remains all but universally beloved. But one of the most beloved adaptations of them all hails from some unlikely characters: Disney and Jim Henson's The Muppets themselves. Released in 1992, The Muppet Christmas Carol is an absolute classic.
The movie is one of the most faithful adaptations of Dickens' tale, featuring Gonzo the Great stepping in as the narrator Dickens himself, along with best buddy Rizzo the Rat for comic relief. Michael Caine is truly perfect in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, and the soundtrack is absolutely packed with classic Muppet songs. But there are some moments in the film that may have gone unnoticed to even the most loyal of Muppet fans.
10 A sweet moment between Rizzo and Gonzo
Though sadly underutilized in recent Muppet productions, the bromance between Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat was undeniably the highlight of many Muppet films and series produced in the 1990s and early 2000s. That's entirely true for The Muppet Christmas Carol as well, as the film finds them sharing narrator duties and engaging in plenty of comic relief.
In one particularly sweet, but blink and you miss it moment, Rizzo offers an exasperated Gonzo some of his jelly beans. And at Gonzo's irritated sigh, Rizzo quickly offers a seeming apology as he quickly kisses Gonzo on his iconic curved alien nose.
9 A Rastafarian Marley
Anyone familiar with the original tale of A Christmas Carol knows that Ebenezer Scrooge's cold-hearted business partner was a man named Jacob Marley. But in The Muppet Christmas Carol, Scrooge had not just one, but two business partners: the Marley brothers, Jacob and Robert.
Played by the beloved but always grumpy and argumentative Statler and Waldorf, the duo of Marley and Marley get one of the best songs in the movie and provide plenty of comedy all on their own. But hidden within their characters is a joke that likely goes right over many children's heads: Robert Marley is clearly meant to refer to the late great reggae icon Bob Marley.
8 Familiar mice family
Though they only appear in a few brief but absolutely adorable moments in the film, the family of mice who live in a hole in the wall near Scrooge's offices are some of the most beloved and most fondly remembered characters in the entire movie.
As it turns out, these teeny tiny stars had quite the career in Christmas movies. The family of mice were the main Muppet characters in the 1995 made for television special Mr. Willowboy's Christmas Tree, which starred Robert Downey Jr. in the title role, as well as Leslie Nielsen and Stockard Channing in supporting roles.
7 Beaker's controversial salute
From the very beginning of their existence, Muppets have never been meant for audiences of children only. They've pushed the boundaries in terms of what's appropriate for young audiences, and often fit in plenty of innuendos and suggestive dialogue, especially in more recent years.
But there's one particular moment in The Muppet Christmas Carol that has led to plenty of mind-boggling but admittedly hilarious debates. After Scrooge brusquely offends Beaker and Bunsen as they attempt to raise money for the poor, the duo storm out of the office, but not before Beaker makes one final meeping remark - and maybe gives Scrooge the middle finger, too.
6 Fraggle Rock reference
The Muppets are known for reusing and repurposing both puppets and characters whenever the need arises for them to do so. But there's one particularly beloved character from another Jim Henson work that has a brief cameo in the final scenes of the film.
Sprocket, the beloved Muppet dog from the classic HBO children's series Fraggle Rock, appears as one of the Muppets flocking to follow the newly redeemed and changed Scrooge during his musical number "Thankful Heart." He can be seen at Scrooge's left hand side, holding packages and singing gleefully along.
5 Ma Bear's role
In many ways, it truly does seem like Dickens' work was meant to be adapted by the Muppets. But no convenient coincidence is quite as hilarious as the fact that Scrooge's first boss in the novel was named Fezziwig, allowing for the film to use Fozzie Bear as a character now named Fozziwig.
In addition to Fozzie, however, the film also uses the seldom seen puppet, Ma Bear, as the co-owner of Fozziwg and Mom. The duo have a briefly depicted but adorable dynamic, and the film marked one of Ma Bear's final appearances until the recent Facebook Portal ad campaign.
4 Fred's missing wife
Sometimes, certain things can just fly under the radar without making much of an impression due to how small a given role was within a film. But it's hard not to notice the fact that Scrooge's nephew Fred's wife is glaringly absent from the film's final celebratory feast, despite being seen mere moments before.
According to Brian Henson on the film's commentary track, there's no real plot-based reason for this glaring omission. The actress for Clara simply wasn't available the day that this sequence was filmed.
3 A sweet tribute to Michael Caine
The world building of all Muppet movies are truly a wonder to behold, but the scenery and vibrant life that line the streets of The Muppet Christmas Carol are truly art in its purest form. So much information and so many references are packed into such brief snapshots of London city life.
It's hard to know where to look during the fast-paced street scenes and musical numbers, which makes it even easier to miss some of the sweetest references within the film. One such reference? A storefront glimpsed during "Thankful Heart" bears the name Micklewhite's, as an homage to Michael Caine's birth surname.
2 A deleted song makes the film's ending make no sense
One of the most controversial parts of The Muppet Christmas Carol - as controversial as a Muppet movie can be, after all - concerns the blatant removal and omission of a key song from the film in its theatrical and many subsequent home releases. During Scrooge's visit with the Ghost of Christmas Past, he observes his lost love, Belle, serenading his younger self with a touching breakup song, "When Love Is Gone."
The moment is one of the first scenes of humanity on Scrooge's part, as the elder Scrooge begins to sing along and weep. But the song has been removed in so many versions of the film, it winds up making the film's closing song - "The Love We Found" - make very little sense, given the fact that both songs use the same musical arrangement and share similar lyrics. Thankfully, newer releases have included the song, and Disney+ even features it as a bonus feature on the film.
1 Touching Jim Henson tribute
At the end of Kermit the Frog's sweet song "One More Sleep Til Christmas," the beloved frog stops and stares up at the night sky and silently watches in awe as a shooting star streaks across the London sky. It's a sweet moment in the film, a momentary break from the forward progression of the narrative. And, as it turns out, it was entirely meant as a tribute to the late Jim Henson.
The Muppet Christmas Carol was the first Muppet project released after Henson's tragic passing, and per son Brian Henson's explanation, the inclusion of Kermit watching a star streak by was meant to evoke a similar scene in the early film The Muppet Movie.