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Released on: 23 Nov 1988 • Rated: PG-13 • Runtime: 101 min

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Director: Richard Donner
Writer: Mitch Glazer, Michael O’Donoghue, Charles Dickens
Actors: Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe

Plot: A selfish, cynical television executive is haunted by three spirits bearing lessons on Christmas Eve.

Box Office Gross: $60,328,558

Awards: Nominated for 1 Oscar. 1 win & 5 nominations total








“Scrooged,” the 1988 film that took Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and gave it a wildly irreverent spin, is like the fruitcake of holiday movies: a bit nuts, surprisingly rich, and definitely an acquired taste. Directed by Richard Donner and starring Bill Murray at his snarky best, this film is a Christmas comedy that’s as heartwarming as it is hysterical.

Plot Overview

Bill Murray plays Frank Cross, a cynical, selfish TV executive who’s more interested in ratings than holiday cheer. On the eve of his network’s live Christmas Eve show, Frank gets a visit from three ghosts who are about to give him a crash course in holiday spirit. The twist? These aren’t your grandma’s friendly Christmas spirits. They’re more likely to drop you from a skyscraper than sprinkle you with festive glitter.

Character Dynamics

Bill Murray’s Frank Cross is Scrooge if Scrooge were a sarcastic, 80s power-suit-wearing, martini-sipping cynic. His deadpan delivery and comic timing are on full display, making Frank a character you love to hate and then just love. The supporting cast, including Karen Allen as his long-suffering ex-girlfriend, Alfre Woodard as his overworked assistant, and David Johansen and Carol Kane as the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, add layers of humor and heart.

Cinematography and Visuals

“Scrooged” is a visual treat, blending the glitz of 80s television with the eerie, otherworldly elements of the ghostly visits. The special effects are a fun mix of spooky and silly, perfectly matching the film’s tone. The cinematography captures the frenetic energy of Frank’s life and the surreal nature of his ghostly journey.

Comedy and Tone

This film is dark comedy gold. It’s a holiday movie that’s not afraid to be a little mean, a little weird, and a lot funny. The humor ranges from slapstick to satire, all delivered with Murray’s signature dry wit. Amidst the laughs, there’s a genuine story of redemption that hits all the right emotional notes.

Soundtrack and Score

The soundtrack is a festive blend of holiday classics and 80s pop, setting the perfect backdrop for both the film’s comedic and heartfelt moments. Danny Elfman’s score adds a whimsical, slightly spooky layer to the film, enhancing its fairy-tale-like quality.


In conclusion, “Scrooged” is a Christmas movie for those who like their holiday cheer with a side of sarcasm. It’s a film that proves even the coldest hearts can warm up (with a little ghostly intervention). So, if you’re tired of the same old holiday sap but still want a feel-good story, “Scrooged” is the perfect blend of snark and sentiment. Just remember, it’s not the ghosts of Christmas you need to worry about – it’s the ones of Christmas parties past.

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