The American holiday, Thanksgiving, is always a lot of fun. You eat well, get to spend time with friends and family, watch some NFL football, maybe do a little Black Friday shopping and watch a lot of themed Thanksgiving movies. After entering a self-induced food coma, it’s time to relax on the couch. Over the years, Thanksgiving has provided a great backdrop for lots of great films. Here are some of the best Thanksgiving movies to watch with the whole family. Most of these movies are on Netflix streaming or Amazon Prime, so settle in and enjoy your turkey holiday.
01) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
This 1987 John Hughes directed comedy follows Neal Page (Steve Martin) on his struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving, with an obnoxious shower ring salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy), as his companion. Soon, each man realizes he isn’t quite the easy-going-peach-of-a-guy he assumed he was. And we figure out that what started as a comedy offers a few redemptive lessons, too. For example, caring for a nearly total stranger. It’s enough to make us feel a little smarmy and wistful — which is just the right mood for a family Thanksgiving movie. There’s a surprise “Keyser Soze-like” ending which I won’t give away in case you haven’t seen Planes, Trains, and Automobiles yet.
02) Home for the Holidays (1995)
With a starlit cast, including Iron Man (aka Robert Downey Jr.), Dylan McDermott and Anne Bancroft, the film Home for the Holidays takes the viewer on a cinematic journey that explores the stresses of a mother’s holiday family gatherings. The build-up full of endless family drama has Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) losing her job, kissing the guy who used to be her boss, dealing with her annoying yuppie sister (Cynthia Stevenson) and brother-in-law (David Strathairn), coping with her father’s senility (Charles Durning) and her bitter chain-smoking mother (Ann Bancroft), surviving her aunt’s (Geraldine Chaplin) inappropriate remarks, and managing with her 15-year-old daughter (Claire Danes) who insists on spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend and trying to lose her virginity. As this extended family gathers around a turkey dinner, the antics increase and some unlikely heroes save the weekend from total disaster.
03) Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The plot for Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is simple: A poor boy wins the opportunity to tour the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. But as he soon realizes, the visit is really a test of his character. This classic film is directed by Mel Stuart and features Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson.
04) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Unprepared for guests, it’s up to Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock to help throw together a Thanksgiving dinner and make the night a success. As the gang gathers around a ping-pong table for their unique meal, the true meaning of Thanksgiving shines through. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an Emmy-award-winning animated Thanksgiving movie and required viewing for all ages.
05) Scent Of A Woman (1992)
Al Pacino got an Oscar for his performance in Scent of a Woman. He plays the character, Frank Slade, an abrasive, womanizing, blind drunk who needs someone to look after him when his family goes away for the long Thanksgiving weekend. The job goes to a tormented, naïve student, Charles (Chris O’Donnell), who gets himself in over his head. However, unbeknownst to Charles, Slade plans to live out his fantasies during the weekend and kill himself. He whisks Charles off to Manhattan, rents a room at the Waldorf hotel and lives it up.
The Best Thanksgiving Movies: Did We Miss Any?
What did you think of our list of the best Thanksgiving movies? Did we miss any of your favorites? Please let us know in the comments section below.