Produced by Jim Henson Productions and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, A Muppet Christmas Carol is the Muppet-fied version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Using Muppets as its characters, the movie tells the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), a surly money-lender who hates the joys of Christmas and takes it out on other people, including his worker-bee staffers. The first Muppet film to be produced following the death of Muppets creator Jim Henson in May 1990, the movie is directed by Brian Henson (his directorial debut) from a screenplay by Jerry Juhl.
The film was a modest box office success and received mostly positive reviews from critics and audiences alike. Released in 1992, it was the first theatrically-released Muppets movie since 1984’s The Muppets Take Manhattan and the first to be produced by The Walt Disney Company, which would eventually acquire the entity in 2004.
How to Stream ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ – Exclusively on Disney+
The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the classic Disney Christmas movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+. On top of that, it’s one of the usual Christmas movies on TV that won’t actually be on cable TV this year.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Muppet Christmas Carol and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “The Muppet Christmas Carol”
- 5. Start streaming
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’: Overview
Release Date: December 11, 1992
Creators: Director and Producer Brian Henson, Producer Martin G. Baker, and Screenplay Writer Jerry Juhl; Based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, Meredith Braun, and Robin Weaver
Synopsis: The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve.
How Long Is ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’?
The Muppet Christmas Carol has a runtime of 86 minutes.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Plot
The Muppets perform the classic Charles Dickens holiday tale, A Christmas Carol, with Kermit the Frog playing Bob Cratchit, the put-upon clerk of stingy Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine). Other Muppets, including Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Rizzo, Fozzie Bear, and Sam the Eagle, weave in and out of the story as Scrooge receives visits from spirits of three Christmases throughout time. They show him the error of his self-serving ways, but the miserable old man seems to be past any hope of redemption and happiness.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Cast
Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge
Caine plays the classic Dickens character, Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy businessman who takes his anger of Christmas out on everyone around him. The British actor is a film icon with over 70 years in the business. He’s a six-time Academy Award nominee with two wins for Best Supporting Actor for the movies Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules. He’s also well known for his role as Alfred in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.
Dave Goelz as The Great Gonzo, Charles Dickens, Robert Marley, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Betina Cratchit, and Zoot
Goelz is one of The Jim Henson Company’s principal puppeteers. He was hired by the company in the early ’70s. Jim Henson and Frank Oz convinced Goelz to work on The Muppet Show where he became one of the company’s best “muppeteers,” developing classic characters like Gonzo and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. He also worked on Henson’s Fraggle Rock and voiced characters in The Dark Crystal and its Netflix prequel series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Steve Whitmire as Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit, Rizzo the Rat, Beaker, Bean, Belinda Cratchit, Beetle, Lips, and Pig Gentleman
Whitmire became the second performer of Ernie and Kermit following the death of Jim Henson. In addition to The Muppet Show and Sesame Street, he also worked on Fraggle Rock. After 39 years as a Muppet performer, he was dismissed by The Muppet Studio in 2017 citing “unacceptable business conduct.”
Frank Oz as Miss Piggy as Emily Cratchit, Fozzie Bear as Fozziewig, Sam the Eagle as Headmaster of Junior High Graduates, Animal, George the Janitor, Horse and Carriage Driver, and Vegetable Salesman
Oz began his career as a puppeteer performing the Muppet characters of Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, and Sam Eagle in The Muppet Show, and Cookie Monster, Bert, and Grover in Sesame Street. Like many of the other voice actors and puppeteers, he handles multiple characters in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Oz is also the voice of Yoda as last seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and will appear in Rian Johnson’s upcoming Knives Out.
Jerry Nelson as Robin the Frog as Tiny Tim Cratchit, Jacob Marley, Ghost of Christmas Present, Lew Zealand, Ma Bear, Mouse, Mr. Applegate, Penguin, Pig Gentleman, Pops, and Rat
Nelson is another go-to puppeteer for the Henson Company. He’s known for his wide range of characters and singing abilities, having performed characters on Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and various specials. He also voiced the High Priest/Dying Emperor on The Dark Crystal. He sadly passed away on August 23, 2012 due to complications from prostate cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema.
Steven Mackintosh as Fred, Scrooge’s nephew
Mackintosh has a small role as Scrooge’s nephew Fred who invites the miser to Christmas dinner only to have the invitation be rejected. The actor is known for starring in the Underworld franchise and was most recently seen in Rocketman.
Meredith Braun as Belle, Scrooge’s neglected fiancée
The Ghost of Christmas Past reminds Scrooge of the time he chose money and work over his fiancée Belle. She ultimately left him when he was a young man. Braun doesn’t have too many film credits to her name, but she’s performed in many West End productions like The Phantom Of The Opera, Les Miserables, and The Secret Garden.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Songs and Soundtrack
The movie’s songs were written by Paul Williams in addition to the score provided by Miles Goodman. The performances are all done by the Muppet characters in addition to Caine. Two tracks, “Room in Your Heart” and “Chairman of the Board” were recorded but never filmed. The soundtrack album peaked at number 189 on the Billboard 200 chart and was digitally re-released by Walt Disney Records in 2012.
“When Love Is Gone,” a song performed by Meredith Braun’s Belle, was cut from the theatrical release by then-Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg. The song focuses on Belle as she laments that Scrooge’s love of money has replaced his love of her.
“They thought it would slow down the action for 5-year-olds,” said Braun. “That was the reason.”
The scene and song were included in home-video releases, but oddly isn’t on the most recent Blu-ray; according to director Brian Henson, the print has been lost and Disney is currently looking for it.
The tracklist for the official release (below) includes both unreleased tracks and Belle’s deleted ballad.
1. Overture – score
2. Scrooge – Cast
3. Room in Your Heart – Bunsen & Beaker
4. Good King Wenceslas – score
5. One More Sleep ’til Christmas – Kermit
6. Marley and Marley – Statler and Waldorf
7. Christmas Past – score
8. Chairman of the Board – Sam the Eagle
9. Fozziwig’s Party – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
10. When Love Is Gone – Belle
11. It Feels Like Christmas – Ghost of Christmas Present
12. Christmas Scat – Kermit & Robin
13. Bless Us All – Robin & Cast
14. Christmas Future – score
15. Christmas Morning – score
16. Thankful Heart – Scrooge
17. Finale – When Love Is Found/It Feels Like Christmas – Cast
18. When Love Is Gone – Martina McBride
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ at the Box Office
The Muppet Christmas Carol grossed a total of $27.3 million in North America. It was seen as a modest box office success having banked its box office total against a $12 million budget. Its performance is likely due to the fact that it was competing against such heavy hitters as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Disney’s Aladdin.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
While it’s far from the first reboot of Charles Dickens’ tale, The Muppet Christmas Carol is funny and heartwarming, and serves as a solid intro to the story for young viewers unaware of its origins. Seventy-five percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, many critics laud the movie for its sentimentality and excellent puppetry.
Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian wrote, “There may be some people who can watch Kermit the Frog’s nephew Robin give his heart-wrenching performance as Tiny Tim in The Muppet Christmas Carol without choking up. I am not among them.”
Michael Caine also received many kudos, bringing a true actor’s spirit to the live action scenes of the film. “Caine carries this Christmas Carol throughout — at least from an adult viewpoint. But somehow, Kermit makes a touching Cratchit, as voiced by Steve Whitmire,” said the Hartford Courant‘s Malcolm Johnson.
Some even touted that The Muppet Christmas Carol was the puppets’ best ever. “This is the Muppets’ finest film. Its mashup of slapstick, songs, and literary adaptation is suitably anarchic, but crucially it gets Dickens right,” said Simon Kinnear of Total Film.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Trailer
The Muppet Christmas Carol trailer shows viewers exactly what’s in store for this Muppet-y retelling of the Charles Dickens classic.
‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. Sir Michael Caine Considers Scrooge To Be One of His Most Memorable Characters
Actor Michael Caine was dead set on getting the part of Scrooge right. Before production began, Caine told producer and director Brian Henson, “I’m going to play this movie like I’m working with the Royal Shakespeare Company. I will never wink, I will never do anything Muppety. I am going to play Scrooge as if it is an utterly dramatic role, and there are no puppets around me.” Henson replied “Yes, bang on!”
In fact, Caine loves the film just as much as its fans do. “I watch it all the time with the kids, I think it’s the funniest of the lot. But then I would, wouldn’t I?” he told GQ in 2016. “And I see it every year, because it’s on television every year at Christmas. I just saw it in the TV Guide. It’s a good, fun film for kids. And of course it can never grow old, unlike me.”
2. ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ Was the First Muppet Movie Following Jim Henson’s Death
Following the death of creator Jim Henson, the role of Kermit the Frog was passed down to puppeteer Steve Whitmire who was incredibly nervous about taking over the iconic character. The night before he recorded Kermit’s songs for the movie, he dreamed he met up with Henson and told him how uneasy he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and nailed the songs that would eventually make up the Christmas movie.
“He stopped, and there was a thoughtful gesture Jim would do where he would take both of his index fingers and put them under his chin, and he did that and thought and he said, ‘It will pass,'” Whitmire recalled. “Which is exactly what Jim would have said. You would have to really know Jim to know this, but that’s exactly what he would have said. Then he turned and he said, ‘I’ve really got to run…’ and he took off out the door. I woke up and I felt great. I remembered this dream and I went in the next day, I did the work, and it was smooth, it worked fine, and I felt great. Just that little bit of encouragement. I really think he showed up for me.”
3. The Movie Includes A Traditional Franchise Trademark in the Background
At the conclusion of the song “One More Sleep ’til Christmas,” Bob (Kermit the Frog) is seen standing alone in the street as a shooting star streaks across the sky. In many (but not all) of the Muppet movies, a shooting star goes across the sky at some point when Kermit is on screen. This was first established in The Muppet Movie in 1979, but shooting stars can also be seen in Muppets from Space, Muppet Treasure Island, and Kermit’s Swamp Years, among others.
4. George Carlin Was Considered for the Role of Ebenezer Scrooge
Best known for his stand-up comedy, George Carlin had made big-screen appearances in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, and The Prince of Tides. Ultimately, he didn’t land the role of Scrooge. Aside from the comedian, English actors David Hemmings, Ron Moody, and David Warner were also considered.
5. The Set Was Tricky for the Film’s Non-Muppet Actors
The Muppet Christmas Carol‘s sets were built to accommodate the Muppeteers; they were elevated to leave room for puppeteers to walk around below the faux streets. For its human actors, planks and platforms were put in place, but their movements had to be extremely precise. Promotional behind-the-scenes clips of the production exist where you can see how tricky the foot placement issue was. Despite this, Caine still loved his time on set and called it “very fun.”