Box art for A Christmas Carol (1938)

A Christmas Carol (1938)

children & family

In this adaptation of Charles Dickens's classic tale, an elderly miser learns the error of his ways on Christmas Eve when he is visited by ghosts from Christmases past, present and future.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 6
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
0 out of 5
Violence & scariness
0 out of 5

A gentle, less scary version of the classic.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that younger viewers might still be unnerved by the ghosts.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what Christmas is really about. Families with teens can compare this movie to later versions. The theme that one man's cruelty affects the lives of many is a worthwhile subject for families to discuss. Families may also want to discuss how people survive and deal with unfair circumstances. How do the Cratchits cope?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Clocking in at a short 69 minutes it's no surprise that this leaves out a few parts. What is surprising are the parts that have been left out. Most importantly, the character of Belle and Scrooge's evolution into the money loving, Christmas hater. This leaves out a lot of motivation for the character and a lot of explanation for the audience. Luckily this version of Dickens' classic tale adds some wonderful material not present elsewhere. The opening which sees Fred walking to Scrooge's workplace, has him encounter the Peter and Tim Cratchitt. This builds a relationship between Fred and Bob that carries on throughout the film and makes all the scnes more cohesive. It also brings Scrooge's worlds together. The performances are very good, even if there were one or two American accents sneaking in. A wonderful Christmas warmer.

- kiriyamakazou, Friday, December 11, 2009

4 stars

A lovely and passionate classic recreation of the legendary tale. It retains the compellingness of the story and holds very good acting, a smooth pacing, excellent effects for the time and many more pros. All characters are very strong, felt for and loveable, expressing human compassion and joy without exaggerating. Ultimately, the film is an exciting and entertaining masterpiece that will have you applauding with the biggest of smiles on your face.

- crossbladezero, Monday, December 20, 2010

4 stars

I liked how the story was told, but the characters were a little bit overdrawn so, rather than being only suggested, their features were thrust on our throat by force.

- alice5mith, Friday, January 8, 2010