Box art for Scrooged



Light comic version of the Dicken's classic with a cold-hearted TV executive as the Scrooge character.

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common sense

PAUSE for kids age 12
1 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
1 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Dated comedy is part Ghostbusters, part Dickens.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this horror-comedy takeoff on Charles Dickens boasts mid-level PG-13 material down the line, including swearing, violence (bloodless, even with loads of ammunition spent), some sex talk (but nothing really shown), and alcohol drinking. Some disturbing imagery for the very young includes a dusty ghost of the decayed-zombie variety, and a tall, creepy, skeletal Ghost of Christmas Future. Jokes about the Kama Sutra and its positions will almost certainly lead to embarrassing questions from young children. Kids will need a lot of explanation for the dated cultural references (Spago restaurant, Mary Lou Retton, the Six Million Dollar Man, etc.).

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about all the different variations on A Christmas Carol ever since Dickens wrote it. Tell kids that while Dickens was alive he HATED copies and stage versions (there being no movies in his Victorian era). What would Dickens have thought of this one?
  • Ask kids what their favorite renditions of the Scrooge story are, and why.
  • Much of the humor here focuses on the shallowness, greed, and sensation of commercial television -- yet this was before "reality TV" and prime-time game shows, which brought new levels of exploitation (couples taking lie-detector tests over infidelity; celebrities fighting drug addiction; women trying to marry for money; etc.). Is TV today worse than when Scrooged was released?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

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    reviews counted: 13
    see all Scrooged reviews
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Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: A roaring good time.

- Christopher Null,, Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fresh: I found much of this irreverent modernization of A Christmas Carol to be hilarious, and I commend Murray and director Donner for giving their film a sardonic edge.

- Chuck O'Leary,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rotten: If Donner and his team had any interest in the story's message, they've picked a puzzling way to show it.

- Hal Hinson, Washington Post, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Audience Reviews

3 stars

"All day long, I listen to people give me excuses why they can't work... 'My back hurts,' 'my legs ache,' 'I'm only four!' The sooner he learns life isn't handed to him on a silver platter, the better!" Richard Donner is known most of his 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Superman' films. High level actions films in other words. So I was a bit surprised when the end credits started to roll and there came Donner's name out. Director and producer. Well, this tale of Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' has been adapted sooo many times on film and television. Donner's outlook is a bit more "modern" (the film was released back in '88) with Bill Murray in the lead. But Murray is not the one that caught my attention and high praise... I'll reveal the name later on. Francis Cross (Murray) is a egotistical executive at a television company. He's got everything a man wants. Fame and fortune. But along with that he has become cold-hearted and cruel. His concentration on his work has made him lose his "one true love" and alienated him from his family. He overworks his staff and fires people on Christmas day. So he ain't such a nice guy. It's time for three ghosts (well four if you count his former boss) to appear and teach him a lesson. 'Scrooged' has not aged well, that's for sure. The effects and the makeup ain't that good looking anymore but in my opinion, this movie don't need 'em that much per se. It' more about the story. And the basic idea hasn't changed a bit since Dickens wrote his last words for the novel. Bill Murray, who was in his (first) prime in the 80's ('Stripes', 'Ghostbusters'), lost himself in the 90's (with the exception of 'Groundhog Day') and made a comeback in 2001 ('The Royal Tenenbaums'), is acting a bit on overdrive here. I've seen this film maybe 3-4 times by now and on this last viewing, I found him a bit annoying at times. But there are several scenes where he gives good performances, funny or dramatic. BUT (and that's a big but) the one performer that steals the show, eventhough she's seen for maybe 1 minute in total, is Anne Ramsay. I've loved her performances in 'The Goonies' and 'Throw Momma From the Train'. This film was one of her last, as she died of throat cancer in 1989. Her unusual speech is caused by the fact, that some parts of her tongue and jawbone had to be removed in eary 80's when she had cancer for the first time. What a wonderful momma she was. As a curiosity, I saw that this film also had "Free South Africa" posters on some locations. I'm a fan of the 'Lethal Weapon' series and I remember from the 2nd film that there were similar posters shown there. The film had a South African baddy so I'm starting to think that Donner wanted to give his own part in the fight against apartheid. In 1991 it ended in South Africa... Well back to the film. 'Scrooged' still guaranteed several laughs, eventhough my multiple viewings. Dickens' novels story will never die and this is a somewhat different adaptation and in my opinion, a successful one. Now when Christmas is just behind the corner, I'd recommend 'Scrooged' as a Christmas film for the more mature audience.

- TheMachinist, Sunday, November 14, 2010

2 stars


- smith44, Sunday, April 4, 2010

4 stars

The greatest interpretation of Scrooge to ever exist. It's slightly modified to fit the 80s yuppie lifestyle, but it even becomes more powerful in doing so. Bill Murray is at the top of his game, giving Scrooge a very humanistic and sadistically charming feel. The sarcasm works so well with all the bizarre elements. Richard Donner really made this into a gothic epic with some incredible visuals and oddball lighting. It's also kind've more powerful than every other adaption because you actually care about the character and want to see him succeed instead of just learning his lesson. The supporting characters work well with this too because you have such sympathy for their tragic lives.

- ythelastman89, Wednesday, March 24, 2010