Try one of these 10 movies for your upcoming Thanksgiving

Tired of the sudden bombardment of Christmas movies already filling up channel slots in November? Thanksgiving appreciation is in order, and Christmas can take a backseat. Here are 10 Thanksgiving-themed movies to brighten Thanksgiving break.


  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

This list wouldn’t be complete without a Charlie Brown movie, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving surely takes the cake for one of the best Peanuts comic adaptations. The movie simply captures the feeling of Thanksgiving and is a whole-hearted, funny experience if you somehow haven’t seen it before. The movie follows the classic cartoon and comic character, Charlie Brown, and shows how he whips up an emergency Thanksgiving meal when Peppermint Patty, his friend, invites the gang over to his house. If an authentic experience is what one needs, an original VHS tape playing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on a Sony tube TV, while there is a fireplace crackling in the background, maybe with some hot chocolate and popcorn, would make an out-of-this-world moment that families on Thanksgiving will never forget.

  • Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987)

Planes, Trains, And Automobiles is a comedic journey that will not only make you laugh this Thanksgiving season, but also warm your heart. The plot begins with Neal Page, an executive advertising producer, who wishes to travel home after a business meeting in Chicago within a two-day period before Thanksgiving. Along his trip, he meets Del Griffith, a traveling shower ring salesman, who is also trying to arrive home for the holidays. Together they travel across the country through many means of transportation (hence the name of the film) and get into many forms of comedic antics that many other films of the time period simply couldn’t capture as well as Planes, Trains, And Automobiles. This 1987 holiday heart-warmer is a great film to watch and is a really great film for the entire family.

  • Turkey Hollow (2015)

If The Muppets strike your fancy, another Jim Henson masterpiece, Turkey Hollow, will surely fulfill that puppet-filled, fantasy-type itch. The movie takes place in an elusive town called Turkey Hollow, which has no electronics present within the town, where a recently divorced man named Ron Emmerson takes his children during the Thanksgiving holidays. The children, when bored due to the lack of electronic entertainment, try to find the lost local legend of Turkey Hollow, simply named, “The Howling Hoodoo.” While searching for the mysterious creature, they encounter magical beings with an unknown species type and realize the illegal crimes of a local farmer who illegally hunts the creature and turkeys for the holidays in Turkey Hollow. The children must stop the farmers and save the magical creature of Turkey Hollow. Overall, the film is a decent movie experience and is an excellent fantasy-type movie for Thanksgiving.

  • Grumpy Old Men (1993)

Need a film that will make all generations of the family laugh? Grumpy Old Men is a film that gets great marks on that requirement. The film has comedic skits that will get the kids, parents and grandparents to chuckle, yet the movie is heart-warming, similar to Planes, Trains, And Automobiles, at the same time. The movie is about a neighborhood feud between two elderly neighbors, which worsens when a female resident arrives on the suburban street. As the rivalry between the two elder neighbors grows, the romantic interest between the main characters and the female character gets vastly stronger, which only builds upon the cinematic tension within every comedic skit between scenes. Grumpy Old Men is a movie treasure-trove filled with witty and old-fashioned comedy that still retains its hilariousness to this day. 

  • The Big Chill (1983)

The Big Chill has been a film stuck in the subconscious of modern pop culture, in more ways than contemporary pop culture enthusiasts think. And, the movie takes place during the Thanksgiving holiday, which makes this film a great choice for this list. The movie revolves around a character named Alex, who has unfortunately committed suicide. A group of friends who have broken up, once again come together to attend the funeral of Alex and once again see each other after many years of steep distension. The friends of Alex spend the weekend confronting truths, regaining lost friendship bonds, and confronting their fears and distensions with Alex, all in one heartfelt film. The Big Chill also has an excellent soundtrack mixture, dripping with 1980s nostalgia, and nicely confronts the controversial topics of the time period without dispersing the audience. The early 1980s movie is a great watch, even if one doesn’t watch it during the holiday season (but please do so if the holiday mood is needed).

  • The Ice Storm (1997)

Similar to the movie, The Big Chill, The Ice Storm is a film that brings characters together through desperate situations; although unlike The Big Chill, this Thanksgiving movie does not bring characters together by a funeral. Instead, characters are brought together by an ice storm. A basic synopsis for this film can be explained like this: A family continues to boil with extreme distension during Thanksgiving break, when the daughter of the family, Wendy is having sexual affairs at a younger age, and the father of the family, Ben, is cheating on his wife. Angry at each other, the family is soon stuck inside their house during a terrible ice storm (hence the name of the film), and must work out their differences before losing their sanity. The movie has a simple plot, but is beautifully executed, and will surely bring the family together during the upcoming holidays.

  • Pieces Of April (2003)

Don’t let the name contradict this list (April is a character within this Thanksgiving movie, not the month). Pieces Of April takes place in an apartment in New York City, where a woman named April Burns lives with her boyfriend, a long distance away from their families. After discovering her mother has a severe case of breast cancer, April decides to host an emergency Thanksgiving dinner in her small apartment, where comedic and dramatic antics occur. The piece is nicely filmed for a movie released in 2003, and Pieces Of April has a great plot, despite how simple it sounds initially. The movie is short and sweet, and it reflects more than just the power of the holidays, but also the power of family. The film might invoke some deep family member gratitude from your parents, siblings and other family members, and will fill up your heart this Thanksgiving.

  • Home For The Holidays (1995)

No this is not a Christmas movie, despite the Christmas-sounding title. Home For The Holidays is another emotional, heartfelt, holiday heart-warmer, which is perfect for this list. The movie stars the character Claudia Larson, a rambunctious teenager, who returns to her childhood home for Thanksgiving to meet with her dysfunctional family members, who she has not seen for a long while. Although, the whole experience transforms from awful to suddenly hopeful, when Claudia meets an attractive young man who her brother brings as a friend along for the holiday dinner. Crazy skits ensue, 

and that is what brings this movie its comedic charm; through its romantic and dramatic, yet comedic qualities. Home For The Holidays is a great late 1990s movie to sit back and relax to, but it has enough charm and comedic quality to make watchers chuckle as they sit back.

  • Holidaysburg (2014)

Holidaysburg is another Thanksgiving comedy, although it has character stereotype comedic antics like the film, The Breakfast Club. The movie begins with four college students from different backgrounds and personalities, who were once friends in childhood, meet up again and decide to arrange a Thanksgiving dinner to catch up. They soon discover how much has changed for each of them and how their lives have affected others over the course of many years. The movie is a nice “coming-of-age” flick and will likely gravitate toward the young adults of the family households planning to watch this movie. The characters within Hollidaysburg are interesting and diverse, and support a wide array of typical movie character types. While having a similar premise to The Big Chill, Hollidaysburg still has a unique plot and differs from many holiday movies. A good watch for a cold autumn day that needs warming up.

  • Avalon (1990)

Out of all of the other nine movies in this list, Avalon is the only true historical piece, beginning on Thanksgiving in the early 20th century. It follows a family of immigrants travelling to the United States and learning about the cultural and generational gaps within the United States, including the tradition of Thanksgiving. Avalon was a highly praised film, and was actually based off of a true family genealogy (the director’s genealogy, Barry Levinson). With those who have a family of history buffs or those who simply want an enjoyable period piece around the Thanksgiving holiday, the 1990 classic Avalon will fulfill those specific requirements.


That’s 10 great movie experiences to lighten family gatherings this Thanksgiving holiday. Allow these films to warm hearts and cheer family members throughout the many hours of entertainment in this holiday list, and remember to have a great holiday break with family.

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