The Best Thanksgiving Movies

Every year, countless movies and specials are watched in celebration of holidays like Halloween and Christmas, but what about Thanksgiving? There are more than enough spooky movies to watch throughout October, and there’s always an endless amount of holiday films to binge in December. However, Thanksgiving needs some recognition; there needs to be more attention given to flicks that celebrate the major holiday between Halloween and Christmas.

You might be thinking to yourself, “but wait, there aren’t any Thanksgiving movies.” You’d be wrong. There may not be quite as many as there are for other holidays, but they do exist. Sure, random low-budget rom-coms have inflated the list of Thanksgiving movies a bit, but others are out there. Here’s a list of just some of the best movies to watch in preparation of Turkey Day.

Free Birds (2013)

From the folks who brought the world Monster House, Free Birds is an animated comedy following two turkeys who travel back in time to stop turkey from being eaten on the first Thanksgiving so they may live without fear in the future. It’s a surprisingly creative and wild ride, and is shockingly unpredictable. That being said, it offers big laughs and even bigger heart. It’s fun for members of the whole family to enjoy on Thanksgiving day.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles for Thanksgiving has become an annual tradition for a lot of people, and for good reason. It stars the always hilarious Stece Martin and John Candy as their characters share misadventures while traveling home for Thanksgiving. The film was also directed by the iconic John Hughes who’s no stranger to outstanding holiday films. Thanksgiving is literally the MacGuffin of the movie, making it a perfect way to celebrate the holiday.

Tower Heist (2011)

Tower Heist is a heist comedy film starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick , and quite a few other household names. Employees of an exclusive apartment building are screwed out of their pensions by their exceedingly rich boss, so they recruit a renowned criminal to help them break into his suite to take what’s theirs. This may not sound like a Thanksgiving story, but the movie’s big heist takes place on Thanksgiving and even uses the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade as a major plot element. If Die Hard counts as a Christmas movie, then Tower Heist is absolutely a Thanksgiving movie.

ThanksKilling (2007)

Thanksgiving is a pretty big holiday in the United States, which, for some reason, means there needs to be a slasher film centered around it. ThanksKilling features a Thanksgiving turkey going on a murderous rampage. It’s even more ridiculous than it sounds, and it’s an absolute blast to watch. This one is a must-see for fans of films like The Room or Birdemic: Shock and Terror. It’s definitely an eclectic way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving may technically be a TV short, but it’s often THE program people watch for thanksgiving outside of the parade and football. It’s such a beloved classic that Snoopy and the rest often find themselves on whatever Thanksgiving decorations people manage to find in stores. It’s funny, wholesome, and a delight to watch for audiences of all ages. It teaches a touching lesson on togetherness, making it a perfect Thanksgiving special.

Addams Family Values (1993)

The Addams Family is always kooky, creepy, and wildly entertaining to see regardless of the version or media. That being said, Addams Family Values, which is a direct sequel to 1991’s The Addams Family, is not a Thanksgiving movie. It takes place over the summer (the kids literally go to a summer camp), and no one sits down for a Thanksgiving feast. The reason it makes this list, though, is obvious. This film is often watched around Turkey Day because of the Thanksgiving play they put on at the summer camp and Wednesday’s iconic speech about what really happened between the pilgrims and the Native Americans. Why do they put on a Thanksgiving play during the summer? Probably because the camp counselor, Gary, is a weirdo, and part of the joke is that other people outside of the Addams Family are just as odd but in other ways. Though this may not technically be a Thanksgiving movie, if watching it allows you to celebrate the holiday in your mind, then it is a Thanksgiving movie to you. 

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