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An American Christmas Carol (1979)

Henry Winkler , Dorian Harewood , Eric Till  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)


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An American Christmas Carol
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Product Details

  • Actors: Henry Winkler, Dorian Harewood, Susan Hogan, Cec Linder, R.H. Thomson
  • Directors: Eric Till
  • Writers: Charles Dickens, Jerome Coopersmith
  • Producers: Edgar J. Scherick, Gary Smith, Jon Slan, Stanley Chase
  • Format: Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image / Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (320 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00001O2G7
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,098 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An American Christmas Carol" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

A new version of the all-time family favorite starring Henry Winkler. It is Christmas Eve 1933, and the townspeople of Concord, New Hampshire, are trying to hold onto their Christmas spirit in the face of the Great Depression. But old Mr. Benedict Slade is ruining what Christmas hope the town has left by mercilessly repossessing their prized goods. Alone in his apartment, Slade is visited by three ghosts--Christmas Past, Present and Future--who take him on a fantastic journey through time that will show him the tragic consequences of his actions if he doesn't mend his ways forever! Adapted from Charles Dickens' classic story "A Christmas Carol."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars grey October 19, 2001
Format:DVD
Henry Winkler proves his acting ability in this American version of the Dickens classic. One will actually forget that he was 'The FONZ' and will be amazed at his transformation from nice guy to mean guy back to nice guy. The general feel of this movie, though, is grey. That's the best way to describe it. But then, it was a bleak grey time in American history, with the Great Depression and all. When Dickens originally wrote the book, it was a grey time in England's history as well, so the subdued feeling one gets while watching this 'modern' version fits in well with the spirit of the original story.
A nice twist (sorry, Oliver!) to a true classic.
By the way, for my money, the finest original version out there is the George C. Scott version followed closely by Alistair Sim.
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48 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best christmas movie i have ever watched. October 31, 1999
By A Customer
Format:DVD
IT WAS 1979, CHRISTMAS JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS AWAY FLICKING THROUGH THE CHANNELS, I STOPPED ON CITY TV, CHANNEL 79, AS IT WAS KNOWN AT THAT TIME. I STARTED WATCHING THIS MOVIE CALLED AN AMERICAN CHRISTMAS CAROL WITH HENRY WINKLER, EVER SINCE THAT NIGHT IN DECEMBER 1979. I HAVE ALWAYS TAKEN TIME WATCH THIS FANTASTIC MOVIE, I BOUGHT THE VIDEO, NOW I WILL BUY IT ON DVD. I THINK ITS THE BEST VERSION OF CHARLES DICKENS CHRISTMAS CLASSIC SCROOGE....
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite "Christmas Carol" December 23, 2002
Format:DVD
"A Christmas Carol" may well be the most-adapted Christmas story in literature, with version ranging from whimsical to musical to deadly serious. This particular version, starring Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade (a.k.a. Scrooge) is my favorite.
The movie translates Dickens' classic story from 19th century England to Depression-era New England. The result is very effective. For me, an American born to parents who grew up in the Depression, the 20th century setting made the story feel very real. The writers and director made excellent decisions in their choice of sets. Three notable examples were the New England furniture factory as the setting for Slade's youth, the newly-conceived idea of consumer credit as the source of his subsequent wealth and avarice, and the choice of an African-American as the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come ("You must be Future," Slade declares, cowering before him).
Winkler's performance is brilliant. He captures the essence of Slade perfectly, and makes the gradual transformation from miser to redeemed man seem natural and believable. The scene at the Thatcher (a.k.a. Cratchit) household at the end of the film never fails to bring tears to my eyes and those of my family. The supporting cast performs ably as well, making this a Christmas classic that one can watch every year.
"An American Christmas Carol" debuted in 1979, midway through Winkler's popular "Happy Days" television series run. After a few years of reruns, it disappeared from view until recently, when it became available on DVD and video. I heartily recommend it for your holiday DVD collection.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Tale Revisited November 6, 2003
By A Customer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Awesome. If you like Christmas, then you'll like this movie. Just as the original by Dickens, it teaches us the true meaning of Christmas. I have been hooked since seeing this movie as a young adult and it still delivers. I enjoy the American twist on Dicken's story. You won't get a Victorian town in England, but you will get a simpler America and the American entrepreneurial spirit. Henry Winkler gives a commendable performance and the supporting cast works well. All in all, a must see for Christmas.
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30 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting contrast to more traditional versions December 11, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
If you already have (and love) the Alistair Sim version (Scrooge, 1951), the Reginald Owen version (1938) and Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol (no, I'm not kidding, it's beautifully done), this will be an interesting film for comparison.
Two good points stand out for this version of Dicken's classic Christmas story:
1) Since it is an adaptation, set in a different time and place from the original (Depression-era New England), deviations from the text and basic plot-line, are not as bothersome as they are in the films that adapt the story in "Dickensian" England.
2) Henry Winkler, who, at the time, was playing against his well-known Fonz character, gives an excellent characterization to the Scrooge-like Benedict Slade.
George C. Scott and Albert Finney give detailed performances as Scrooge in their version, and the films that feature them have good production values -- and, in the case of the Finney version a couple of good songs -- but the deviations in text in the Scott version and the added material in the Finney version (Scrooge in hell -- what?) are both unnecessary and more than a little annoying.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heart gripper November 9, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
First time i saw this movie was 1985 on television. Henry Winkler was excellent! Actually, the whole cast was great. I spent 17 years trying to locate this movie. You won't find it in a video store, at least where i live. And they don't show it on regular t.v. anymore. It is a MUST HAVE if you collect christmas movies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Chrismas Carol- Henry Winkler January 17, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
One of the best "Scrooge" movies, a very creative adaptation.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent... December 23, 2002
Format:DVD
Like many other reviewers, I first saw this as a kid on television in '79 and Henry Winkler's "Fonzie" persona was still so much a part of the cultural fabric that it was somewhat shocking to even think of him, much less see him, as anything else.
However, I was transfixed by this adaptation on the Dickens story and was genuinely moved by Winkler's ( Benedict Slade ) transformation at the end. Winkler is simply superb: believable, funny, dramatic, and imminently likable even as the curmudgeon. The supporting cast is wonderful as well even though most of them, with the possible exception of David Wayne, will be unknown to most viewers. The actor who plays Thatcher (the "Cratchit" character in the Dickens novel) does a wonderful job of being as compassionate as the role demands without being too "soft".
The actors playing the roles of Mr. Brewster and Helen Brewster also hold their own and give Winkler solid performances to react to even with limited screen time.
The movie looks and feels like I would imagine turn of the century and Depression era New England to look and feel like to an outsider: quaint, majestic, proud; yet tired and despairing.
My only problem with the movie, and this is REALLY nitpicking, is that they simply made Winkler look too old for the latter Slade ("Scrooge") part. the movie does an excellenet job of letting us know when things are happening, even in the Christmas Past scenarios, e.g., we know Slade and Helen broke up around 1917 because of the backdrop of the war effort (WW I). The contemporary story is set in 1933 and Slade looks like he has aged forty years instead of only 16 or so. He looks MUCH older than his contemporaries. However, maybe they intended to achieve this effect to accentuate his gnarliness.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Christmas Carol
I enjoyed this movie because it was much easier to relate to than the original English classic version. I had watched parts of it on TV many years ago.
Published 11 days ago by Sharon Metz
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Purchasing
I received the dvd in perfect condition and relatively quick. The seller delivered as promised!

If you're a fan of Chrismas Carol movies, this one is a good one to have... Read more
Published 13 days ago by P. Flogaus
5.0 out of 5 stars Different
I love the Dickens story and this is a Depression-era take on that classic. Winkler is very good as the cranky Mr. Scrooge.
Published 1 month ago by Leila G.
3.0 out of 5 stars Very fast delivery
I really can't complain about the shopping experience; that was great. I loved this movie when I originally saw it but like so many things in life it wasn't so good the second... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Beansisme
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fonz By Way of Dickens
I always loved this version of a Christmas Carol. It's quite well done and original. A nice diversion from the standard fare. Winkler is wonderful.
Published 1 month ago by Chad Parlett
5.0 out of 5 stars Fonzie as Scrooge
Henry Winkler is a fine actor and this version of the famous story is proof positive. He does and excellent job as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Duggan
4.0 out of 5 stars Dickens with a twist
I am a big fan of Dickens and love "A Christmas Carol". I have a collection of most versions. This is not the Alistair Sims classic but is well done in a U.S. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Salter
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Christmas Carol
This was one of my favorite holiday movies as a kid. Although it is tailored after Charles Dickens “Christmas Carol”, this movie has some distinct differences which actually make... Read more
Published 2 months ago by irish eyes
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it.
An American Christmas Carol...based on the classic by Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Carol." Now that I've written something, you need to cut down the word number... Read more
Published 2 months ago by ThePhantomShadow
4.0 out of 5 stars HENRY WINKLER DOES GREAT
HENRY WINKLER DOES A GOOD JOB PUTTING AN AMERICAN SPIN ON SCROOGE. I NEVER THOUGHT FONZE COULD PULL IT OFF BUT HE DID A FINE JOB. Read more
Published 2 months ago by frieda revels
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