5 Christmas Movies You Should See, Pt. 2: George C. Scott Is the Scrooge GOAT | A Christmas Carol (1984) Review

Adapted from Words Like That S1 Ep. 5: “Christmas Movie Special + End of Year Story Updates," originally released December 19, 2023.

I am a Charles Dickens fanatic. I’ve been working my way through his complete works for the last 8 years. I’ve read all the majors, and I’m into the minors and short stories. I wrote my graduate thesis proposal on Dickens’s prose style (although I didn’t end up pursuing the thesis because I changed majors mid-stream, but, anyway….). In short, I love Dickens, and A Christmas Carol is, in my book, the greatest Christmas fiction story. 

Consequently, it’s been adapted on screen at least 50 million times. (My team fact checked that number, and it's approximately 100% accurate.) Everybody, of course, has their favorite version, and mine is the 1984 rendition, starring the indomitable George C. Scott as Scrooge.

This was actually a TV movie, but the production value is so high, I had watched it around 20 times before I discovered it wasn’t a theatrical release that had been panned and scanned for TV. It’s basically a page-to-screen adaptation, competently directed by Clive Donner, and Scott essentially reprises his George Patton role in order to bring Scrooge to life. (If that sounds weird, it’s actually glorious.) 

The supporting cast (which includes one of my favorite Star Trek alums, the late, great David Warner as Bob Cratchit) is strong, and, most importantly, the film captures the spirit and never loses the point of the original novella.

Two minor criticisms: 

Because it is a TV production, it’s shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio. I would’ve loved to have seen this shot in a widescreen format. Also, it’s very difficult to translate the Ghost of Christmas Past to the screen from Dickens’s description, and the Ghost here, like every other adaptation I’ve seen, is really weird and visually unappealing. But these are minor quibbles. 

There are also, as one might expect, some disturbing images in the ghost sequences that might scare the kids, so be advised if you’re a parent.

Bottom Line:

It’s a wonderful adaptation of a classic, so, if you like the Christmas Carol story, and you’ve never seen this iteration, I highly recommend checking it out this season. 10/10.

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Cole Powell is an award-winning singer/songwriter and Z-list YouTuber. Armed with degrees in computer technology and liberal arts and sciences, Powell seeks to pontificate his pitiful opinions to the masses through any means the internet allows.

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