Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella A Christmas Carol is a vital treatise on how wealth needs to be shared and not hoarded, and how people who think otherwise should be terrorized by ghosts. The story has been adapted for the stage, film, and television hundreds of times since its original publication. If you celebrate the holiday, then here are some of the best options for adaptations to stream with whomever you’re spending it with. Merry Christmas!
The Terrifying 1971 Animated Short
This is the film that launched the career of genius animator Richard Williams. In just 25 brilliantly animated minutes, it conveys the full breadth of Dickens’s story with considerable imagination and heart. Its faithful replication of 19th-century illustration styles also means that the ghosts look properly horrible. Do your kids a favor and scare them straight this holiday!
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The 1984 One With George C. Scott as Scrooge
Of all the straightforward live-action versions of the story, it’s hard to beat this one, a cross-Atlantic co-production for television. A large part of that is due to George C. Scott playing Ebenezer Scrooge, in many ways embodying the character as the archetype we’ve come to know him as. The magnificent muttonchops greatly aid his performance, of course.
But the greatest Christmas Carol adaptation of all is …
The 1992 One With Michael Caine and the Muppets
The Muppets automatically make everything better, and Charles Dickens is no exception. The first major Muppet work produced after the untimely death of creator Jim Henson, it perfectly embodies the spirit of both the zany foam troupe and the original story at the same time. Michael Caine gives one of the best Scrooge performances while acting against puppets. Think about that. Think about it. Added bonus, some great Paul Williams songs.