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Parents' Guide to

A Christmas Carol (1938)

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Classic Dickens' tale has mild scares but positive messages.

Movie NR 1938 69 minutes
A Christmas Carol (1938) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 2+

Not scary

This is really not scary for a haloween movie.
age 9+

Best to wait...

I remember watching this movie as a young kid. I was terrified. And, I'm pretty sure I didn't understand it (both the language and the concepts). I waited until my kids were 10 and 12 and we really enjoyed this movie. It's a great classic.

Is It Any Good?

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

This 1938 version of A Christmas Carol is a charming early adaptation of Charles Dickens' novella. It opens with a jolly Victorian Christmas scene and the promise of a warm and gentle journey through what is, at least in part, a dark and harrowing tale of redemption. Somehow the overall tone tends toward cheer and optimism, even as mean and miserly Scrooge is being shown the error of his selfish and judgmental ways.

The short runtime means the story is rather whizzed through, but it doesn't lose the essence of this cautionary tale, nor does it undermine the cast of classic characters. And while Dickens aficionados might feel short-changed, many viewers -- especially younger ones -- will find this a reasonably accessible and certainly entertaining retelling. Though made in 1938, this black and white production has a timeless feel to it. Indeed, the very fact that it was made so long ago probably makes it all the more atmospheric to a 21st century audience. And nobody, of any age, can fail to be uplifted by its ultimate festive message of goodwill to all.

Movie Details

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