Everyone loves a horror movie on Halloween and a charming, feel-good flick on Christmas, but what are the best Thanksgiving movies? Before the big meal, a lot of families watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or NFL football match-ups, but what about after dinner, when your belly is full of pumpkin pie and you’re ready to relax? Although there aren’t very many Thanksgiving-themed movies, we’ve rounded up a list of the best – as well as several films that are related to Thanksgiving.
The Best Thanksgiving Movies
The whole family will enjoy this comedy, which stars Steve Martin as a man desperately trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. When a snowstorm disrupts his plans, he’s forced to seek refuge with a traveling salesman played by John Candy. Hilarity ensues!
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Just 25 minutes long, this animated TV special shows the Thanksgiving festivities of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang. While it’s not as iconic as A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s undoubtedly one of the best Thanksgiving movies. It features food and football and it’s sure to give you the warm fuzzies.
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Three sisters – played by Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and Dianne West – come together for three Thanksgivings in a row. Thanksgiving dinners begin and end the movie, but between the festivities, a lot of family drama occurs. Written and directed by Woody Allen, the film has been praised for its smart script and fantastic cast (which also includes Michael Caine, Carrie Fisher, and Maureen O’Sullivan).
Home for the Holidays (1995)
Directed by Jodie Foster, this comedy centers on a woman named Claudia (played by Holly Hunter) who returns to her hometown for Thanksgiving. Her dysfunctional family (portrayed by Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, and Robert Downey Jr.) remind her why she left in the first place. If you’ve ever found it difficult yet rewarding to come together with family at the holidays, you’ll appreciate this film.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Over Thanksgiving weekend, a prep school student (Chris O’Donnell) takes a job caring for a blind retired army lieutenant (Al Pacino, who won his first Academy Award for this film). At its core, this is a story about an unlikely friendship between two strangers.
Looking for another film set during Thanksgiving about an unlikely friendship? You might enjoy this film, which features Ed O’Neill as the titular Dutch, who agrees to drive his girlfriend’s son from his prep school to Chicago for Thanksgiving. As they stumble through a series of mishaps, they form a lasting bond.
What’s Cooking? (2000)
This film depicts Thanksgiving as it’s celebrated by four diverse families: one Vietnamese, one Latino, one Jewish, and one African American. The unrelated comedic tales, all set in Los Angeles, show how Americans vary in the food and traditions they embrace on Thanksgiving.
- The Blind Side (2009): This film’s all about family and football – ideal for Thanksgiving day. Plus, it features an Oscar-winning performance by Sandra Bullock.
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947): Yes, it’s technically a Christmas movie, but this holiday classic does begin at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- Avalon (1990): Centering on a Polish-Jewish family that immigrates to the U.S. in the 20th century, this film features a very memorable Thanksgiving scene filled with family drama.
- Addams Family Values (1993): A great pick for families, this sequel features a scene in which Wednesday Addams plays the role of Pocahontas in a Thanksgiving play at school.
- Rocky (1976): In this iconic American sports drama, Rocky and his beloved Adrian go on a date on Thanksgiving.
- The Ice Storm (1997): Looking for some drama? This film centers on two dysfunctional families who come together when a storm hits over Thanksgiving weekend.
- Grumpy Old Men (1993): Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are neighbors with a long-standing rivalry in this film, and they compete for Ann-Margaret over the whole holiday season.
- You’ve Got Mail (1998): This charming romantic comedy spans from fall until spring and includes a scene in which the two leads (Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan) run into each other while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Chicken Run (2000): Yes, it’s about chickens – not turkeys – but this is a great family-friendly flick about chickens trying to escape from the farm where they’ve been raised. It was developed by the creators of the acclaimed British stop-motion series Wallace and Gromit.
When you’re thinking about all the things you’re grateful for this year, don’t forget about movies! They make us laugh, they make us cry, and they bring us together. This holiday season, consider gathering your family and friends to watch some of the best Thanksgiving movies together.
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