5 Plot Point Breakdown: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

By December 7, 2011March 8th, 2020Five Plot Point Breakdowns

Screenplay Genre: Animation / Short / Comedy

Movie Time: 26 minutes


In the little town of Whoville, the Whos joyously prepare for Christmas. The Grinch (Boris Karloff), who lives in a snowy mountain cave above Whoville, hates Christmas and wishes there was something he could do to make it stop. (00:03:33)

2. LOCK IN (End of Act One)

When he imagines all of the wonderful times that the Whos will have on Christmas morning, especially the happy singing, the Grinch is doubly set on destroying things for them—and he gets a mean, grinchy idea on how to go about it. (00:07:32)


After braving a perilous sled journey, the Grinch, in his improvised Santa outfit, gleefully begins stealing Christmas with his reindeer-costumed dog as an accomplice.(00:12:04)

4. MAIN CULMINATION (End of Act Two)

Cindy Lou Who (June Foray) asks him why he, Mr. Sandy Claws, is stealing Christmas. The Grinch craftily lies that he is going to take it all to his shop to make it even better than before. He sends her back to bed and finishes stealing all of the Whoville Christmas. (00:16:10)


But just as he’s about to dump Christmas off the top of the tallest peak, he hears all of Whoville singing. For all the work he did to destroy it, Christmas came anyway. Once the Grinch realizes that this is because Christmas doesn’t come from a store—it’s a state of mind—his heart grows three sizes. He rushes back to Whoville and passes out all the presents personally and celebrates merrily with all the Whos. (00:22:22)

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