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Scrooged Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 25

    out of 100

    USA Today

    Scrooged is so monumental a mess that even rabid Bill Murray fans - the ones who'll stand in line to see it despite critics' inevitable bashings - will wonder how it went so wrong. [23 Nov 1988, p. 9D]

  • 25

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Scrooged is one of the most disquieting, unsettling films to come along in quite some time. It was obviously intended as a comedy, but there is little comic about it, and indeed the movie's overriding emotions seem to be pain and anger.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    Scrooged works in fits and starts. The mundane demands of the sentimental story keep interrupting what are, essentially, revue sketches, a few of which are hilarious.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Gene Siskel

    The film works very well, providing lots of laughs, in its first half, setting up the Bill Murray character and his callousness. For a Christmas Eve special he wants to staple antlers on a mouse. [25 Nov 1988, p.A]

  • See all Scrooged reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

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.).

  • 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?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: Frank learns some valuable lessons about what is important in life. The humor focuses on the shallowness, greed, and sensation of commercial television.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Frank Cross/Ebeneezer Scrooge does indeed revert to being a nice guy, regretful of the bad choices he's made. Minorities are represented by Frank's hardworking black secretary (and her mute son) among the stand-ins for Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Cartoonish gun violence, as a disgruntled, drunken employee goes crazy with a rifle. Frank shoots a spirit, causing puffs of dust and mice to exit the wounds. Machine-gun bullets, incendiaries, and explosions at the North Pole, in a parody of an action-hero Christmas show. One rotting, zombie-style ghost with detachable eyes and other body parts, including an arm that snaps off creakily. Frank is kicked in the crotch, tossed around, dropped out a window, and generally bullied by ghosts. Peripheral characters hit by falling props and stage sets. In hallucinatory visions a man catches fire. Another character is found frozen to death.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Non-explicit flashback scene of heroine Clair in a bathtub, with the attendant revelation that she and Frank lived together (and discuss the Kama Sutra together) without benefit of marriage. A busty beauty on a Christmas TV show, with comments about being able to see her nipples. Reference to prostitution, AKA "paying for women," and a double-entendre gag about "beaver." A very mild homosexual innuendo.

  • language false2

    Language: "Damn," "goddamned," "bitch," "hell," the s-word, "butt," "bastard." 

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Tab soda drink shown. Real-life products and entertainment icons mentioned, including Ginzu knives, Ovaltine, The Six Million Dollar Man, "Little House on the Prairie," "Gilligan's Island," etc.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Alcohol in abundance, in restaurants and at banquets. A ghost cabbie drinks and drives. Heavy executive-boardroom drinking (on which Frank blames a lot of his ghost visions). Mention of drug problems and cigarette smoking.