Top 5 depictions of Scrooge on screen
A character so famous that his name has entered the English language as a byword for miserliness and misanthropy, the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his twilight journey of redemption is as well-known as they come. Featured in over 100 adaptations on stage, screen and radio, it’s difficult to select the best iterations of everyone’s favourite anti-hero.
To celebrate the release of The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Miriam Margolyes and Simon Callow, we take a look at some of the best interpretations of Scrooge from Bill Murray to the Muppets!
Starring Albert Finney as the miserly businessman and Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley’s ghost, this musical version of A Christmas Carol was nominated for four Academy Awards and five Golden Globes—for which Finney won a Best Actor gong. Despite his role as an elderly man, in reality Finney was only 34 when he played Scrooge (making him the youngest person to play the infamous character on our list). The musical itself was adapted for the stage in 1992 and has since been revived multiple times for new audiences.
This modern retelling of A Christmas Carol takes place in New York City, where an inconsiderate and arrogant TV executive is visited by three ghosts who show him the causes and consequences of his actions. Starring Bill Murray, Karen Allen and Bob Goldthwait, the dark comedy is jam-packed with references to the original story including the Belle Cab Company that the Ghost of Christmas Past drives, which Dickens fans will know is named after Scrooge’s first love in the novel.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Certainly the silliest iteration of the festive favourite, The Muppet Christmas Carol sees Jim Henson’s gang take on Scrooge’s story with the help of legendary actor Michael Caine—who to this day still names the role his most memorable. Before production began, Caine reportedly told Brian Henson, "I'm going to play this movie like I'm working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I will never wink, I will never do anything Muppety. I am going to play Scrooge as if it's an utterly dramatic role, and there are no puppets around me." Henson replied "Yes, bang on!"
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Utilising the talents of Jim Carrey, who not only excellently voices Ebenezer Scrooge but also the three ghosts, the Robert Zemekis directed a movie that is also a festive treat for the eyes due to its incredible motion capture animation. Although it's a very faithful adaptation, often lifting entire sentences from the novel, the film was deemed too dark by some critics, yet audiences ultimately proved them wrong as the film became a box office success.
The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)
A completely fresh take on the well-loved story, The Man Who Invented Christmas looks instead at how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. After a string of unsuccessful novels, Dickens needed a hit and couldn’t shake the idea of a Christmas story out of his head. However without the support of his publishers and with only six weeks until Christmas Day, he set out to write and publish the book himself. Inspired by his past, present and hopes for the future, the young author conjures up the iconic Scrooge and forever immortalises how we celebrate Christmas forever.