This Christmas Eve, I recommend the all time best version of A Christmas Carol, the film from 1951 starring Alistair Sim (known as simply Scrooge in the U.K.). To me there are two reasons this is the very best filmed version of the classic story- one, it includes the most from the actual book, and two, Alistair Sim's Scrooge really is the screen's greatest. I think that Sim is the main reason that most who watch this movie think it stands the test of time so well- he's so nasty, so mean, so very miserable at the beginning, that you wonder how this man could ever win you over with his transformation, and then he does it. Somehow, Sim makes that transformation real and more wondrous than in any other telling of A Christmas Carol. You believe his joy and his total conversion to a charitable, giving man through all the little nuances in his performance- once you see this film, you realize having that character down so completely is the most important part of telling this story, no matter how it's done. The ghosts, the Cratchits, all the rest of it isn't nearly as essential as having the perfect Scrooge- he's the essence of this tale, and Alistair Sim captured him in a way that had never been done, before or since.
Original 1951 Trailer: