45 Best Thanksgiving Movies the Whole Family Will Love
In honor of this year’s celebration, we compiled a list of the best Thanksgiving movies to watch after consuming a metric ton of savory stuffing and mac n’ cheese. Because the only activity we feel like doing after eating our second (OK, third) piece of Thanksgiving pie is parking ourselves in front of the TV to enjoy some quality entertainment. From A Family Thanksgiving to like You’ve Got Mail, keep reading for the top picks.
1. 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' (1973)
This 25-minute animated film tugs on our heartstrings the way only a true classic can. Watch Charlie Brown learn the meaning of Thanksgiving alongside the motley crew that is the beloved Peanuts gang. Jimmy Ahrens, Todd Barbee and Christopher DeFaria star with Bill Melendez and Phil Roman as co-directors.
2. 'The Big Chill' (1983)
Yes, we will take any opportunity to watch young Jeff Goldblum. This is the movie to stream if you’re feeling philosophical about the passage of time with all your besties at an orphan Friendsgiving. Goldblum stars alongside Tom Berenger, Glenn Close and William Hurt in the Lawrence Kasdan film
3. 'Dutch' (1991)
Before his Modern Family days, Ed O’Neill starred in a funny Thanksgiving movie about a guy trying to appease his girlfriend by driving her son from Atlanta to Chicago in time for the holidays. Ethan Embry, JoBeth Williams, Christopher McDonald, Ari Meyers and Elizabeth Daily star in the film. Revel in the early ’90s charm.
4. 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' (1987)
This John Hughes-era classic centers on a road trip to Chicago gone terribly wrong. The star-studded film, which includes Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins and Kevin Bacon, will definitely put any hellish holiday travel experiences into perspective. Trust us.
5. 'Scent of a Woman' (1992)
Relish all that is New York City during the holidays in this Oscar-winning drama about a young man who’s tasked with watching over a curmudgeonly Army veteran. The nearly three-hour-long movie stars Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, James Rebhorn, Gabrielle Anwar and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Little-known fact: All moms love this movie.
6. 'Tower Heist' (2011)
Josh (Ben Stiller) is the manager of a high-class apartment complex. When one of his residents steals part of his retirement fund, he’s determined to seek revenge by plotting a heist in the days leading up to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick also star in the film, which was directed by Brett Ratner.
7. 'You've Got Mail' (1998)
There’s not one, but two Thanksgiving scenes in one of our all-time favorite rom-coms. This is Nora Ephron at her best and the perfect picture of a moment in time (the late ’90s). The ensemble cast includes Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Jean Stapleton, Heather Burns and Dave Chappelle. Remember the “You’ve got mail” notifications? Were we ever so young?
8. 'Home for the Holidays' (1995)
With a stacked cast of celebrities, including young Robert Downey Jr. and Dylan McDermott, this movie will make you feel better about your own family’s dysfunction. Believe us, your clan has nothing on this group of misfits. Holly Hunter, Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning also appear in the Jodie Foster-directed film.
9. 'Free Birds' (2013)
This is the one to watch if you’ve got little kids running laps around your living room post-turkey. Lull them into a calmer state with this animated buddy comedy. With voice performances by Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler and George Takei, there’s plenty for adults to appreciate here as well.
10. 'Miracle on 34th Street' (1947)
Although it has come to be known as a Christmas favorite, this story actually opens at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. When a department store Santa Claus claims to be the real thing, a doubtful six-year-old, Susan (Natalie Wood), discovers that dreams do come true, if you just believe.
11. 'Hannah and Her Sisters' (1986)
This comedy-drama, which stars Princess Leia Carrie Fisher, tells the story of three sisters from a show business family who come together for three consecutive Thanksgivings. What do they bring with them? A whole lot of emotional and personal baggage.
12. 'Pieces of April' (2003)
We are totally here for young Katie Holmes, who plays a rebellious woman hosting her mother for Thanksgiving in her tiny New York City apartment. If you’re playing host for the first time, this movie will help put any missteps into perspective.
13. 'Krisha' (2015)
Trey Edward Shults’s directorial debut tells the story of his aunt Krisha Fairchild, who celebrates Thanksgiving with her family after years of estrangement. While the movie stars his real-life aunt, the actual plot is somewhat fictionalized.
14. 'What's Cooking?' (2000)
The movie introduces viewers to four different families who are celebrating Thanksgiving. Although they stem from diverse backgrounds, they share many of the same trials and tribulations, including irreversible kitchen mishaps. Joan Chen, Julianna Margulies, Mercedes Ruehl, Victor Rivers and Douglas Spain star.
15. 'The Oath' (2018)
Chris (Ike Barinholtz) and Kai’s (Tiffany Haddish) dysfunctional relationship is put to the test when they refuse to sign a loyalty oath to the president. Their lack of cooperation results in an, er, interesting family dynamic during Thanksgiving dinner.
16. 'A Family Thanksgiving' (2010)
All hell breaks loose when Claudia (Daphne Zuniga) is pressured by her sister into baking a homemade pie for Thanksgiving. The comical plot will make you think twice about assigning gender roles during the holidays.
17. 'The House of Yes' (1997)
It’s Thanksgiving Day in 1983, and Marty (Josh Hamilton) is preparing to introduce his fiancée, Lesly (Tori Spelling), to his less-than-average family. The sexual innuendos and eerie comments will make your in-laws appear like a walk in the park.
18. 'Garfield's Thanksgiving' (1989)
Just because he’s a lasagna lover doesn’t mean Garfield (voiced by Lorenzo Music) is opposed to indulging in a juicy turkey. Join the animated cat as he attempts to cook Thanksgiving dinner alongside Jon and Odie.
19. 'For Your Consideration' (2006)
The mockumentary follows three actors, who are starring in a brand-new film called Home for Purim. When the film generates Oscar buzz, the studio decides to rename the movie Home for Thanksgiving, since the first title seemed “too Jewish.” The cast includes Catherine O’Hara, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey and Schitt's Creek star Eugene Levy.
20. 'An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving' (2008)
Based on the short story by Louisa May Alcott (Little Women), this moving flick tells the story of a widow named Mary (Hélène Joy) and her three children. Mary tries to host a noteworthy Thanksgiving for her family, despite the fact that she can't afford to put turkey on the table.
21. 'Sweet November' (2001)
When Sara Deever (Charlize Theron) randomly meets Nelson Moss (Keanu Reeves) at the DMV, they immediately hit it off. And so when she later invites him to spend the month of November with her, he agrees. But little does he know that she will take him on the journey of a lifetime.
22. 'National Lampoon's Holiday Reunion' (2003)
If you think your family is dysfunctional, just wait until you meet the Griswolds. The conservative family travels to Idaho to spend the holidays with their free-spirited relatives, and hilarity ensues.
23. 'The Last Waltz' (1978)
In the mood for a documentary post-feast? Check out this critically-acclaimed concert film that follows the Thanksgiving farewell show of the American-Canadian rock group, The Band. (They’re known for hits like “Up on Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In,” “Rag Mama Rag,” “Life Is a Carnival,” “Time to Kill” and “Ophelia.”)
24. 'The Ice Storm' (1997)
When an ice storm hits during Thanksgiving break, a small town is forced to confront its neighborly issues, including affairs and broken relationships. Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tobey Maguire and Elijah Wood star in the movie.
25. 'Funny People' (2009)
After being diagnosed with leukemia, a movie star named George Simmons (Adam Sandler) returns to his stand-up comedy roots. If George’s Thanksgiving toast doesn't inspire you to appreciate the holidays, then nothing will.
26. 'Son-in-Law' (1993)
Introducing every parent’s worst nightmare: When a country girl meets a party boy while away at college, her family is forced to put on a brave face for the Thanksgiving break.
27. 'Addams Family Values' (1993)
The widely popular sequel picks up right where the original movie left off, with Gomez and Morticia sending their kids to summer camp as recommended by the family’s new nanny, Debbie. But this new member of the family may be the most sinister one yet.
28. 'The New World' (2005)
The movie follows the mythical love story of Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher). Focusing on the founding of Virginia’s Jamestown settlement, it’s the ideal Thanksgiving flick for the entire family.
29. 'The Blind Side' (2009)
Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw star in this sports drama film, which is based on a true story. A homeless teen is taken in by a wealthy family and learns that love and hard work can make your dreams come true. Not only is it a feel-good story, but it will also help fill the void of Friday night football.
30. 'Grumpy Old Men' (1993)
If you think you’ve dealt with your fair share of frenemy experiences, wait until you watch this classic Thanksgiving movie about two neighbors competing for the attention of a lucky lady. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau irrefutably prove your rivalries are mild at best.
31. 'Turkey Hollow' (2015)
When the Emmerson family visits Turkey Hollow, they attempt to track down the town’s elusive legend: the Howling Hoodoo. Mary Steenburgen, Jay Harrington and Graham Verchere star in the Lifetime film.
32. 'Autumn in New York' (2000)
Playboy Will’s world is turned upside down when—one autumn day in New York City—he meets Charlotte. Is the 21-year-old free spirit the answer to his commitment issues? Guess you’ll have to watch the flick to find out.
33. ‘Dan in Real Life’ (2007)
It's probably not the first movie that comes to mind when you think of turkey-themed films, but it definitely has that festive feel. In the movie, a widower and single parent named Dan Burns (Steve Carell) falls in love a charming woman named Marie. The only problem? She also happens to be his brother's new girlfriend.
34. ‘American Experience: The Pilgrims’ (2015)
Want to brush up on your history? Look no further than American Experience: The Pilgrims, an eye-opening documentary that reveals the story of the "First Thanksgiving" and explains the founding of the first English colony in New England.
35. ‘Alice's Restaurant’ (1969)
The classic cult movie is actually an adaptation of Arlo Guthrie's folk song, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree." Guthrie stars as himself in the film, where he decides to visit a close friend named Alice for Thanksgiving dinner. But after he litters, he gets into some trouble with the law.
36. ‘Soul Food’ (1997)
The title itself already suggests that it's a great choice for post-Thanksgiving entertainment—although you might want to watch this one after the kids are asleep. In the movie, which stars Vanessa Williams and Vivica Fox, a family struggles to continue their 40-year tradition of Sunday family dinners when the matriarch falls into a coma.
37. ‘Crooklyn’ (1994)
This classic '70s film tells the coming-of-age story of nine-year-old Troy Carmichael, who lives with her tight-knit family Brooklyn. Fun fact: The story is loosely based on the experiences of Spike Lee, the film's director and producer.
38. ‘Hollidaysburg’ (2014)
After completing their first semester at college, a group of old friends return home for Thanksgiving break, where they reflect on all the ways that they've changed since high school.
39. ‘Annie’ (1982)
It may not be a movie about Thanksgiving, but it'll probably have the entire family singing "Tomorrow" faster than you can say "pumpkin pie." Join the happy young character as she embarks on new adventures with her dog, Sandy.
40. ‘Curly Sue’ (1991)
There's a lot more to Curly Sue (Alisan Porter) than her abundance of dark curls. Follow the homeless six-year-old and her pal, Bill Dancer (Jim Belushi), as they pull off the ultimate cons to help make ends meet.
41. ‘The Turkey Bowl’ (2019)
Businessman and former high school quarterback Patrick Hodges (Ryan Hansen) gets tricked into returning to his hometown for Thanksgiving weekend. When he arrives expecting a funeral, he learns that his old buddies need his help finishing a football game from 15 years ago, known as “The Turkey Bowl.”
42. ‘An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving’ (2008)
When Tilly (Tatiana Maslany) sees that her mom can barely afford to put food on the table for Thanksgiving, she pens an exaggerated letter to her wealthy grandmother, Isabella (Jacqueline Bisset), and asks for help. But when Isabella arrives, Tilly’s mom isn’t too thrilled.
43. ‘Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade’ (2013)
Emily Rogers (Autumn Reeser) takes pride in coordinating Chicago’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade, but when the city hires a wealthy consultant to handle the finances, she worries that he will ruin the tradition. Can they work together to pull off a successful production?
44. ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ (2018)
You won't spot any turkeys or Thanksgiving decor, but this charming romantic comedy has all the makings of a cozy fall film. Set in 1946, the movie follows a writer who bonds with a resident on the island of Guernsey after exchanging letters.
45. ‘She's Gotta Have It’ (1986)
We know, we know. Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It feels like a rather odd choice, given that it follows a sexually liberated Black woman who tries to juggle three different men. However, there’s one iconic Thanksgiving scene, where Nola (Tracy Camilla Johns) invites all three of her partners over for dinner. That alone earns this classic a spot on the list.