Henry Winkler as Benedict Slade.

An American Christmas Carol is a 1979 made-for-TV movie. It is a reworking of A Christmas Carol, set in the United States. It stars Henry Winkler as a Scrooge-like character named Benedict Slade.

Among the differences apart from the obvious, Slade's ghostly former partner flatly calls where he is for Hell, speaking of a place where actions in life echo back rather than simple fire and brimstone. Also, Slade confiscates in his early miserly phase a copy of A Christmas Carol signed by Dickens, which he tears apart for the value of the leather in its binder. His past includes working for an old-fashioned furniture manufacturer who he helps to displace by using cheaper modern methods of lesser quality. Besides the traditional scene of his unmourned death, the most heartbreaking moment for him comes when he sees his lost love married and happy with the children that might have been his own.

Among his deeds upon reforming is to rebind and restore the copy of Dickens, giving it back to the debtor he took it from, and finding a bitter orphan like he himself once was, and taking him as ward and apprentice.


Actor/actress Character
Henry Winkler Benedict Slade
David Wayne Mr. Merrivale
Chris Wiggins Mr. Brewster
R.H. Thomson Mr. Thatcher
Kenneth Pogue Jack Latham
Gerard Parkes Mr. Jessup
Susan Hogan Helen Brewster
Dorian Harewood Matt Reeves
Tammy Bourne Sarah Thatcher
Chris Cragg Jonathan Thatcher
James B. Douglas Sam Perkins
Arlene Duncan Mrs. Jennie Reeves
Linda Goranson Mrs. Doris Thatcher
Derrick Jones Harry Barnes
Cec Linder Auctioneer
Sylvia Llewellyn Latham's secretary
Jefferson Mappin Joe
Mary Pirie Mrs. Brewster
Sammy Snyders Young Benedict Slade
Ruth Springford Mrs. Tidings
Justine Tell Young Helen


The movie was first released on VHS by Vestron Video in 1983, and later by UAV Corporation in 1991, and by Goodtimes Home Video in 1996. It was then released on DVD for the first time by Image Entertainment in 1999. A new DVD release and Blu-ray debut were released by Shout! Factory on October 9, 2012.


  • Winkler was, at the time this movie was filmed and shown, internationally known as the iconic Arthur "Fonzie'" Fonzarelli on the hit ABC sitcom Happy Days. Concerned and frustrated that he would be forever typecast as the Fonz, he sought out this role to show that he was more than just the one character. To this end, he even turned down the role of Danny Zuko in the film version of Grease, which in the DVD commentary for An American Christmas Carol, he states he later somewhat regretted, while still enjoying the role of Slade.
  • The writer, Jerome Coopersmith also wrote another Christmas feature years prior for Rankin/Bass titled Twas the Night Before Christmas.

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