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Parents' Guide to

A Christmas Carol (1951)

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

The classic book brought to life.

Movie NR 1951 86 minutes
A Christmas Carol (1951) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 8+

the best a christmas carol.

age 8+

A great antidote to the cynicism surrounding Christmas.

This is a wonderful movie, a classic. The story of Scrooge's redemption and return to life "among the living" as someone who keeps the messages of kindness, gratitude, and charity towards his fellows is one that has been obscured by countless re-tellings and absorption into pop culture. There are two deathbed scenes, and the climactic scene where Scrooge faces the reality of his own death, and they are sad (for different reasons), but I wouldn't prevent my son from watching them. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is presented as a black-robed faceless figure, Death-like, and this can be frightening for younger children. Also, there is a scene where the Cratchits, including the children, have a round of gin punch, but there is no drunkenness or inappropriate behavior--this is just a matter of historic and textual accuracy.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Aided by Noel Langley's (The Wizard of Oz) insightful script and some truly phenomenal performances, director Brian Desmond Hurst gave us a grand Christmas present with this film. It's inarguably the best version of Dickens' immortal tale of greed and redemption ever to be captured on film. Alastair Sim breathes depth and complexity into Scrooge, showing us a man bewildered at times by his own cruel nature; it's like an unshakeable illness he's come to accept over the course of his life. Resigned to his lonely fate, he resists the spirits who might save him, telling them he's beyond help.

Maybe it's that conviction, the utter dourness he exudes, that makes the ghosts especially hard on this Scrooge. Marley shrieks lamentably and bangs his chains for attention. The Ghost of Christmas Past shows him painful scenes that no other version has presented: a heartbroken young Ebenezer at the deathbed of his beloved sister; his and Marley's evolution as shrewd and tyrannical businessmen; a dying Marley telling Scrooge with his last faint breath that they were wrong, to save himself. Sim's transformation at the end is the most dramatic you'll ever see, hilarious and touching and insanely energetic.

Movie Details

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