Feeling a little humbug this year? There's only one way out of that: You will be visited by four ghosts on Christmas Eve and they will remind you the true meaning of Christmas. Settle in with some eggnog and lift your spirits by streaming one of the many adaptations of Charles Dickens' perennial holiday tale, A Christmas Carol.
Here are a few of our recommendations of the story available for streaming, including several musical versions, a Muppet favorite, and one from the "goes wrong" company, Mischief Theatre.
The newest adaptation of the Dickens classic is this modern retelling from Apple Original Films. The musical stars A-list Hollywood hunk Ryan Reynolds as the humbug visited by funny man Will Ferrell as the Ghost of Christmas Present. The film promises big musical numbers (with a score from Dear Evan Hansen Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul) and lots of laughs. Keep eyes peeled for Broadway vet Patrick Page as well. Stream it on Apple TV+.
Disney's A Christmas Carol
Following the success of 2004's The Polar Express, director Robert Zemeckis returns to motion capture computer animation for his 2009 film. The adaptation is set in the Victorian era and remains faithful to the source material. Jim Carrey voices Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as all three Christmas ghosts that visit over the course of the night. Gary Oldman plays Bob Cratchit and Marley's ghost. The cast also includes Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, and Bob Hoskins. Stream it on Disney+.
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Disney+ also has the 1983 Oscar-nominated animated featurette featuring Mickey Mouse as Bob Cratchit and, obviously, Scrooge McDuck as Ebenezer Scrooge. The half-hour film was the first original Mickey Mouse theatrical cartoon to be produced in over 30 years. It hit theatres in December 1983 with the theatrical re-issue of The Rescuers. Several other Mickey-universe characters make appearances in this Christmas Carol, including Donald and Daisy Duck, Jiminy Cricket, and Goofy. It's perfect for the little ones in your life who cannot sit through a full-length Christmas Carol (or those who find the ghost story too scary).
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Michael Caine plays Scrooge with the Muppets filling in for most of the other roles, including Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Waldorf and Statler as the Marley Brothers, Fozzie the Bear as Fozziwig, and more. The film features a screenplay by Jerry Juhl and songs by "Rainbow Connection" co-writer Paul Williams. As a special Christmas treat this year, the Disney+ stream has restored the cut song "When Love Is Gone," sung by West End favorite Meredith Braun as Scrooge's the-one-that-got-away Belle.
To watch the extended version of the film with the cut song, go to the page for Muppet Christmas Carol on Disney+, and scroll to the Extras section. Look for The Muppet Christmas Carol (Full Length Version).
Albert Finney won the Golden Globe for his Scrooge performance in this 1970 musical adaptation of the story. The film also features a score from Tony-nominated composer Leslie Bricusse (Jekyll & Hyde, Stop the World-I Want to Get Off). English acting legend Alec Guinness is Jacob Marley. Stream the tuner (with it's memorable closer "Thank You Very Much") on Paramount+.
Paramount+ also has the 1938 black-and-white faithful film A Christmas Carol, starring Reginald Owen (who made his final Broadway appearance in 1972 as Erronius in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), and the 1988 updated comedy Scrooged, starring Bill Murray as a crotchety TV exec.
A Christmas Carol
Tony and Olivier nominee Siân Phillips narrates this 2020 dance film directed by Jacqui Morris and David Morris. Framed as a toy theatre come to life, the artsy telling utilizes more of the novel's prose than adapted dialogue, accompanied by silent physical performances. It also features the voices of Tony winner Simon Russell Beale, Carey Mulligan, Leslie Caron, and more. Stream it Amazon Prime.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical
This 2004 television film is adapted from stage musical by Broadway songwriters Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, which premiered in 1994 at Madison Square Theatre. It ran seasonally there through 2003. The film stars Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge, alongside Jesse L. Martin, Jane Krakowski, and Geraldine Chaplin as the three Christmas ghosts. Jason Alexander gives a spooky turn as the chain-rattling Jacob Marley. The musical can be streamed on several free-with-commercial streaming apps, such as The Roku Channel, Crackle, and Pluto TV.
A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong
Mischief, the comedy theatre troupe behind The Play That Goes Wrong and Peter Pan Goes Wrong, takes a stab at the Dickens tale for an hour-long televised special. In their version, the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society (the fictional group of their play-within-a-play format) hijack the BBC studio production of A Christmas Carol and put on their own disastrous performance. The special features a teleplay by Mischief founders Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields. No subscription required to stream it with ads on YouTube Movies & TV.