Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is a cynical television programming executive. He has found great success and wealth but only by becoming cold-hearted and cruel.
His ruthless concentration on his career has cost him his true love, Claire Phillips (Karen Allen). It has also alienated him from his brother James (John Murray), and ruined any chance of having a happy and fulfilling life. Frank overworks his assistant Grace Cooley (Alfre Woodard), forcing her to constantly break plans with her family and neglect her mute son Calvin. When a disturbing TV commercial that Frank personally produced is criticized by timid yes man Eliot Loudermilk (Bobcat Goldthwait), Frank responds by firing him on Christmas Eve.
When Cross is given the task of heading up a live Christmas Eve broadcast of A Christmas Carol, his life begins to mirror the story he's producing. The decomposing corpse of his mentor, media mogul Lew Hayward (John Forsythe), comes to tell him the error of his ways, and to announce the impending visitation of three ghosts. Adding to Frank's stress is his boss, Preston Rhinelander (Robert Mitchum), who takes the liberty of hiring an assistant, Brice Cummings (John Glover), who is transparently after Frank's job.
The Ghost of Christmas Past (David Johansen) appears as a New York City cab driver and takes Frank back to his childhood in 1955, to his late teens in 1968 when he had his first job at the TV station, in 1969 for his anniversary with Claire, and 1971, the year in which he chose his job as "Frisbee the Dog" over her. The sequence shows how Frank gradually became the man he is in the present.
The Ghost of Christmas Present (Carol Kane) then appears as a life-size pixie who delights in hitting Frank; she shows him how Grace's family lives in poverty because of his stinginess, and also how much his brother misses him.
After the second ghost's visit, Eliot Loudermilk, drunk and angry, storms the office with a shotgun and tries to murder Frank. The Ghost of Christmas Future, a seven-foot-tall ghoul with a TV screen for a face, appears and shows Frank a future in which Calvin has ended up in a mental hospital, Claire has become as cold and uncaring as he is, and only James and James's wife attend his cremation.
Frank finally sees the error of his ways and begs for a second chance. He awakens back in his office, right as the live broadcast is wrapping up. The reformed Frank rehires Loudermilk at a considerable salary increase, steps in front of the rolling studio cameras (enlisting Loudermilk to hold the control room hostage), and delivers a monologue about spending Christmas with the people you care about instead of watching TV. Calvin urges him to add Tiny Tim's phrase, "God bless us, everyone", finally breaking free of his mute condition. Claire appears in the studio and Frank reconciles with her, sharing a romantic kiss as Grace and the cast and crew sing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart".
Scrooged is a 1988 American comedy film, a modernization of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The film was produced and directed by Richard Donner, and the cinematography was by Michael Chapman. The screenplay was written by Mitch Glazer and Michael O'Donoghue. The original music score was composed by Danny Elfman.