ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Scrooge: Which Actor Played Him Best?

Updated on September 20, 2011
Seymour Hicks as Scrooge (1935)
Seymour Hicks as Scrooge (1935)

Buy Scrooge/A Christmas Carol on DVD & Blu-Ray

Who was the best Scrooge on film?

We're still in November, but in a few days, this author will be eagerly dusting off his Christmas DVDs and settling down with a carton of eggnog to enjoy a handful of movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol.

The British character actor Alastair Sim has traditionally claimed the title of best Scrooge, for his sterling performance in the 1951 film. But does he deserve the accolade, or are there other actors who have excelled in the role? The competition is surprisingly fierce.

One of the earliest screen Scrooges was Seymour Hicks, in the 1935 film Scrooge. He played the old skinflint as a truly miserable, unlikeable character, unattractively scruffy and unkempt. Some screen Scrooges have been bumbling in a way that is almost endearing, but Hicks is a genuine wretch, never a loveable rogue. The tone of the film is exceptionally bleak, opening in dreary fashion with the sound of a Christmas carol being badly played through a thick London fog. Hicks, despite being forgotten in the wake of later portrayals of the miser, turned in a performance that rivals Sim and may well be closer in spirit to the dark, menacing Scrooge of Charles Dickens's original novel.

Another overlooked depiction of Ebenezer Scrooge is in the 1977 BBC version. The entire production, despite running just over one hour, is one of the most faithful adaptations of the book to date, capturing exquisitely the haunting, ghost-story elements of the tale. Michael Hordern plays the title role in this version; coincidentally, he was a marvellously memorable Marley's Ghost in the 1951 film.

George C Scott's performance in the 1984 TV movie, directed by Clive Donner, has also received high praise. Here again is a version that reflects much of the bleak, gritty reality of the story's Dickensian origins, and Scott plays Scrooge as a severe taskmaster, yet a man of apparent principle. And of course Dickens's Scrooge was, albeit in a strange way, a man of principle, opposed to the "humbug" of Christmas precisely because he perceived it as a hypocrisy.

Dozens of other actors have taken on the part over the decades, including Patrick Stewart, Albert Finney, Basil Rathbone and Jim Carrey. Hicks, Hordern and Scott give Sim a run for his jealously guarded money, but perhaps there is good reason why Sim remains the silver screen's best-loved Scrooge. No one presented quite such a mirthful and inspiring transformation as Sim. It is hard not to bubble over with gladness along with Sim as he tosses his quill aside and collapses with glee at the end of A Christmas Carol (1951). He gives us the mean-spirited miser, but later provides us with a redeemed Scrooge who warms the heart, brought merrily and unforgettably alive by the spirit of the festive season.

Read the story of Ebenezer Scrooge online.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)