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Release Date: October 6th, 2009 Movie Release Year: 1966

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966)

Overview -

This joyous, heart-tickling holiday event based on Dr. Seuss' beloved book and featuring the voice of Boris Karloff has delighted viewers of all ages since its 1966 debut. The fun begins when the grumpy, grouchy, Yule-hating Grinch plots to ruin the Who's Christmas. Can he steal their holiday spirit by stealing their holiday treats? Or does Christmas...perhaps...mean a little bit more?

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Video Resolution/Codec:
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH
Special Features:
Who's who in Whoville
Release Date:
October 6th, 2009

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


How do you review a classic?

Sure a little while ago I reviewed Ron Howard's 'Grinch' here at High-Def Digest, but that was a little easier. It has its flaws, yes, but it isn't without its charms. When you draw out a short children's book into a 90-minute film you're bound to run into some rough spots here and there.

'Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas,' animated film is a classic in every sense of the word. It's fun, family friendly, and has become as much a Christmas icon as 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.'

So I ask again, how do you review something so iconic and memorable that it has been fused into the psyche of every American?

I think I've come up with a solution. You don't review it. What's there to review? Instead I'll just heap on the praise that most everyone else would. I love this animated film. I adore every 26 minutes of it. It's short, it's sweet and it's full of that Seussian charm that only the good doctor can provide.

Boris Karloff's narration and Grinch voice are unforgettable. His voice carries the same baritone resonance that it had when the film premiered in 1966. The music includes some of the most memorable Christmas melodies ever devised.

What's not to love about this simple cartoon with tons of heart, the stalwart direction of legendary Chuck Jones, and its Christmas spirit that penetrates every heart during this season?

I can't think of anything I'd want changed or would want different. It's perfect as is.

In the world of animation the Grinch has staying power. We can revisit this classic every year, and it never gets old. It's one of those rare animated films that parents can sit down and watch with their kids, because they remember watching it as kids with their own parents. Handed down generation after generation, the Grinch has stuck around, continuously teaching us the true meaning of Christmas in a way that transcends the passage of time. Fifty years down the road, I expect to see 'Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas,' still going strong, being played in houses the world over.

Video Review


The Grinch and Whoville have never looked better. With a 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the 1080p/VC-1 encoded video is nearing pristine quality. For how old the source is, it looks to be in excellent shape, much brighter and better looking than its older DVD counterparts. Colors are bright and vibrant. Blues and reds may be a tad bit over saturated, but it's nothing to get too bent out of shape about. Blacks are deep and inky, for the most part. The Grinch's cave is one of the better dark scenes. Contrast is nicely balanced. Source noise, of which you would expect a fair amount, rarely pops up during the 26-minute runtime. Artifacts are non-existent. There's a very fine layer of grain, but it doesn't detract from the viewing. Instead it adds a film-like look to the entire production.

Audio Review


With only a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track, this presentation of the 'Grinch' sounds exactly how you would expect. I think Warner did a good thing by not trying to force an unnatural sounding surround experience and just sticking with a front-centric presentation that gives you everything you would want from this film. The 2.0 isn't all that engaging, but it does provide a clear and concise platform for dialogue, and a more than adequate soundstage for the film's varied musical numbers. All in all, this is a proficient 2.0 audio presentation.

Special Features


Well, we've come to expect this haven't we? A classic catalogue release with a few good extras, but none ported over to HD.

  • Dr. Seuss and the Grinch – From Whoville to Hollywood (SD, 15 min) - Charting the course of Dr. Seuss and his Christmas tale, this feature shows where it started and how it all led to the animated film.
  • Songs In The Key Of Grinch (SD, 8 min) - Thurl Ravenscoft (voice of Tony the Tiger) and composer Albert Hague, reminisce about creating the memorable music for this Christmas classic.
  • TNT's How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Special Edition (SD, 19 min) - Oh how I miss Phil Hartman. Seriously, the world is worse off without him. Mr. Hartman takes us on a trip down memory lane showing us basically a making-of featurette.
  • Grinch Pencil Tests (SD) - A short slide show on prototype drawings of the Grinch.
  • Song Selection (SD) - This nice little feature allows you to skip to any of the songs in the movie.
  • Who's who in Whoville - Text bios of some of the people involved with the film, like Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones, and Dr. Seuss.

Final Thoughts

'Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas' has never looked better, plain and simple. It might be hard justifying a near $20 price tag for a movie that clocks in at just under a half an hour though. Even with the somewhat steep price for this catalog title, it still comes highly recommended, especially during the current holiday season.