A Christmas Carol (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Christmas Carol (1951)



Critic Consensus: The 1951 adaptation of Charles Dickens' timeless classic is perhaps the most faithful film version -- and Alastair Sim's performance as Scrooge is not to be missed.

Movie Info

Widely considered to be the definitive of the many film versions of Charles Dickens' classic novel is this 1951 British adaptation, starring Alastair Sim (entitled "Scrooge" in its U.K. release). Sim plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a London miser who, despite his wealth, refuses to make charitable contributions and treats his sole employee, Bob Cratchit, as an indentured servant. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late business partner, Jacob Marley, who was as selfish as Scrooge in life and has been condemned to an eternity of wandering the Earth in shackles. Marley informs Scrooge that he's to receive a trio of spirits that night who will take him on a journey through Christmases Past, Present, and Yet to Come. As Scrooge encounters each apparition, he is taken on a tour of his life and realizes what a wretch he is, transformed by greed from an idealistic youth into an embittered ogre. Infused with a new, cheery outlook, Scrooge sets about earning his redemption. ~ Karl Williams, Rovimore
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Kids & Family, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Charles Dickens, Noel Langley
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 3, 1998
United Artists


Alastair Sim
as Ebenezer Scrooge
Kathleen Harrison
as Mrs. Dilber
Mervyn Johns
as Bob Cratchit
Hermione Baddeley
as Mrs. Cratchit
Michael Hordern
as Jacob Marley
John Charlesworth
as Peter Cratchit
Glyn Dearman
as Tiny Tim
George Cole
as Scrooge as young man
Carol Marsh
as Fan Scrooge's Sister
Olga Edwardes
as Fred's Wife
Roddy Hughes
as Mr. Fezziwig
Hattie Jacques
as Mrs. Fezziwig
Clifford Mollison
as Mr. Wilkins
Michael Dolan
as Ghost of Christmas P...
Francis De Wolff
as Ghost of Christmas P...
C. Konarski
as Ghost of Christmas F...
Ernst Thesiger
as Undertaker
Louise Hampton
as Laundress
Noel Howlett
as First Collector
Fred Johnson
as Collector
Peter Bull
as First Businessman
Douglas Muir
as Businessman
Henry Hewitt
as Rosehed
Patrick Macnee
as Young Jacob Marley
Jack Warner
as Mr. Jorkins
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Christmas Carol

Critic Reviews for A Christmas Carol

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (6)

A sturdy 1951 British mounting of the Dickens tale, with Alastair Sim contributing a definitive Scrooge.

Full Review… | December 5, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Though Dickens' frank sentimentality calls for broad treatment, Brian Desmond Hurst's direction is too often heavy as well.

Full Review… | December 5, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Other Christmas Carols need not apply.

Full Review… | November 27, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

You have what Scrooge himself might call 'Ho-hum-bug.'

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

What we have in this rendition of Dickens' sometimes misunderstood Carol is an accurate comprehension of the agony of a shabby soul.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

This faithful adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a rare beast indeed, a genuinely affecting melodrama.

Full Review… | December 6, 2013
Total Film

Audience Reviews for A Christmas Carol


It's a classic. The performances are wonderful and the atmosphere is suitably eerie and memorable. It loses a few points, though, for dragging in the middle, but besides a dip in energy, the film still resonates with all who see it as a beautiful and timeless achievement.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer


Perhaps not a definitive version, as there never could be one for this story. However, this is probably the most well rounded version. Great performances, especially from Sim, help to create a believable and emotionally taxing experience. The other high point of this film are the bits that are added. The book is expanded upon, with earlier scenes of Marley and Scrooge including an embezzling scam that shows their ruthless business technique. It all makes for a dense and almost perfect adaptation.

Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

many still consider this the definitive film version of a Christmas carol, and in many ways it still is. alastair sim is brilliant as srooge, doing a great job of selling each emotion and change of perspective. despite this films reputation as the definitive version, its surprising that this version also adds more to the story than most versions. especially during the visions of scrooges past, this film contains quite a few scenes not found in the novel or any other film version, thankfully each of the additions work really well to create a complete and compelling version of this wonderful story.

danny d

Super Reviewer

A Christmas Carol Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)
– Submitted by Frances H (23 months ago)

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