Critics Consensus

Scrooged gets by with Bill Murray and a dash of holiday spirit, although it's hampered by a markedly conflicted tone and an undercurrent of mean-spiritedness.



Total Count: 43


Audience Score

User Ratings: 77,393
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Movie Info

A darkly comic and surreal contemporization of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, this effects-heavy Bill Murray holiday vehicle from 1988 sees the former SNL funnyman assuming the role of television executive Frank Cross, the meanest and most depraved man on earth. Cross will stoop to unheard of levels to increase his network's ratings -- even if it means mounting outrageous programs to retain an audience, such as "Robert Goulet's Cajun Christmas" and Lee Majors in "The Night the Reindeer Died," with an AK-47-toting Santa. Cross plots his foulest move, however, for the Christmas holiday, when he will force his office staff to mount a live production of A Christmas Carol on national television -- and thus work through Christmas Eve. Cross's life is turned upside down with visits from three ghosts: a craggy-faced cabbie known as The Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen); the sugar-plum fairy Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) (who gets her jollies by bonking Frank across the face with a toaster oven); and, eventually, the caped, headless Ghost of Christmas Future, who will send Frank sliding into a crematory oven -- just before he gives the sleazoid one last chance to redeem himself. Along the way, the spirits carry Frank to scenes from his past, present, and future (per Scrooge) and impart a glimpse of how he became so thoroughly rotten. The radiant Karen Allen co-stars as Frank's girlfriend, Claire Phillips, and the film packs in cameos from countless celebrities -- among them, Mary Lou Retton, John Houseman, Jamie Farr, and, in a truly grisly and tasteless bit, John Forsythe. Richard Donner directs, from a script credited to the late Michael O'Donoghue and Mitch Glazer. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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Bill Murray
as Frank Cross
David Johansen
as Christmas Past
Carol Kane
as Christmas Present
Nicholas Phillips
as Calvin Cooley
Alfre Woodard
as Grace Cooley
Mabel King
as Gramma
John Murray
as James Cross
Jamie Farr
as Himself
Lee Majors
as Himself
Pat McCormick
as Ghost of Christmas Present (TV)
Regina King
as Lanell Cooley
June Chandler
as June Cleaver
Sanford Jensen
as Executive
Jeffrey Joseph
as Executive
Dick Blasucci
as Executive
Peter Bromilow
as Archbishop
Bill Marcus
as IBC Guard
Cal Gibson
as IBC Guard
Damon Hines
as Steven Cooley
Paul Tuerpé
as Stage Manager
Lester Wilson
as Choreographer
Jack McGee
as Carpenter
Bill Hart
as Carpenter
Kathy Kinney
as IBC Nurse
Alvin Hammer
as Foreman
Tony Steedman
as Headwaiter
Lisa Mende
as Doris Cross
Ryan Todd
as Frank as Child
Selma Archerd
as Mrs. Claus at Party
Jay Byron
as Man #1 at Party
Harvey Fisher
as Party Guest
Roy Brocksmith
as Mike the Mailman
Stella Hall
as Lew Haywards Secretary
Anne Ramsey
as Woman in Shelter
Logan Ramsey
as Man in Shelter
Wendie Malick
as Wendie Cross
Maria Riva
as Mrs. Rhinelander
Raphael Harris
as Older Calvin
Dick McGarvin
as Announcer
Stephen Kahan
as Technician
Norman D. Wilson
as Technician
Henry Brown
as Technician
Jeanine Jackson
as Technician
Amy Hill
as Technician
Miles Davis
as Street Musician
Larry Carlton
as Street Musician
David Sanborn
as Street Musician
Paul Shaffer
as Street Musician
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News & Interviews for Scrooged

Critic Reviews for Scrooged

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (9)

  • Despite the juicy, on-the-edge craziness, Murray is able to layer his outrageous histrionics with an inner sensibility, making his ultimate transformation not only believable but Christmas-cheer uplifting.

    Apr 7, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Tacky in the extreme, this self-congratulatory 1988 film is an exercise in hypocrisy, indulging every form of Christmas exploitation that it pretends to attack, and many of the laughs are forced.

    Nov 27, 2007 | Rating: 1/4
  • An appallingly unfunny comedy, and a vivid illustration of the fact that money can't buy you laughs.

    Nov 27, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Rowdy stuff for the light in head.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • In spite of the jokes at the expense of television-network censors, there's very little in the film, aside from naughty words, that wouldn't be perfectly acceptable on prime-time television.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5
  • Whenever Bill Murray is in a film, there's always one simple rule. Give him a decent set-up and you've got yourself a classic.

    Apr 17, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Ben Falk
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Scrooged

  • Sep 13, 2015
    A very dark tale of the well known Scrooge tale that is full of dark humour, The film starts off well but gets abit too serious and weird but a good performance by Bill Murray just about gets us through the weird stuff, It's not for kids as some bits may scare them.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 13, 2014
    Scrooged is a Christmas film without any spirit. Bill Murray is pretty bad and the film is an unfunny mess of mean-spirited humor. Not necessary for seasonal enjoyment. Rating: 44
    Bradley J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2014
    Declaring the film a mess may be a valid point but I like that it is full of strange choices both in front of and behind the camera (i.e. having Donner direct and casting Bill Murray as a heartless TV executive) as it makes the whole thing more memorable.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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