If you’re trying to find the perfect movie to watch on Thanksgiving, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve all been there – you’re overstuffed, tired, but not quite ready to nap. Just waiting around for “pie o’clock” doesn’t sound too appetizing, but finding a nice movie to watch with the family can be a great way to relax, especially if it’s one most of you have seen before.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best Thanksgiving movies to watch during the holiday. They range from stone-cold classics where the plot actually revolves around Thanksgiving to more Thanksgiving-lite fare that still scratches that itch. So pick one from our selection below and you won’t regret it.
“Planes, Trains and Automobiles”
Streaming on Paramount+ and FuboTV
One of the best comedies ever made, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” is the quintessential Thanksgiving movie. Steve Martin and John Candy play strangers forced to hitch rides together as Martin races to make it home in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Misadventures ensue, but writer/director John Hughes infuses the 1987 film with a hefty emotional core that’ll have you laughing and tearing up in equal measure.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
Streaming on Apple TV+ for free
The classic. The GOAT of Thanksgiving programming. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” is a delight from start to finish, and it’s streaming for free right now on Apple TV+. It originally aired on CBS in 1973 and won an Emmy award, going on to solidify its place in our collective consciousness with the image of Lucy holding the football for poor Charlie Brown.
“You’ve Got Mail”
Streaming on HBO Max
Technically “You’ve Got Mail” takes place over the course of many seasons, but there is a memorable sequence that does take place on Thanksgiving Day in which Tom Hanks’ Joe Fox is seen at the supermarket on the holiday. This Nora Eprhon rom-com is a cozy watch for any occasion, though, as Hanks and Meg Ryan play rivals – he, the head of a Big Box book store and she, the owner of an indie children’s bookstore – who, unbeknownst to each other, are becoming friends online. Yes, the AOL stuff is dated, but the chemistry of Hanks and Ryan endures.
“Meet Me in St. Louis”
Filmmaker Vincente Minnelli’s 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis” is a wonderfully vibrant film, made all the more enjoyable by the fact that it’s divided up into seasons – including a swell autumn section complete with Thanksgiving dinner. Judy Garland stars as one of four daughters of the Smith family, and the film charts a year in their lives in St. Louis leading up to the 1904 World’s Fair.
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Streaming on Disney+ and Prime Video
Nothing says family like a handful of foxes running for their lives. Wes Anderson’s first-ever stop-motion animated feature is a delightful family-centric film, as the Roald Dahl adaptation follows a fox (voiced by George Clooney) who struggles to keep his friends and family out of harm’s way. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” has some of the best/funniest eating scenes in recent memory, for those doubting its Thanksgiving inclusion here.
“Home for the Holidays”
Streaming on FuboTV
Director Jodie Foster’s 1995 film “Home for the Holidays” stars Holly Hunter as a young woman who reluctantly travels to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with her dysfunctional family. Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Claire Danes and Dylan McDermott co-star.
Streaming on PlutoTV
For those who think of football when they think of Thanksgiving, you can’t go wrong with the 1993 inspiration film “Rudy,” starring Sean Astin.
Nothing says Thanksgiving like Bob Odenkirk bursting through the door and exclaiming, “My little women!” in Greta Gerwig’s masterful 2019 adaptation of “Little Women.” Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and Timothée Chalamet co-star.
“Hannah and Her Sisters”
If you’re looking for something more dramatic, the 1986 film “Hannah and Her Sisters” is a swell choice. The story charts the intertwined lives of an extended family over the course of two years, including romantic and familial relationships, with the Thanksgiving holiday serving as a backdrop for major milestones.
“Miracle on 34th Street”
Both versions are streaming on Disney+.
There’s no better film to ring in the Christmas season on Thanksgiving than “Miracle on 34th Street,” which begins with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Take your pick between the 1947 version or the 1994 remake – they’re both excellent.
Streaming on Netflix, Hulu and FuboTV
Okay this one’s a stretch but there is a scene in Sam Raimi’s 2002 film “Spider-Man” in which Willem Dafoe serves Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker a turkey! So if you’re really looking to go big on the whole “Thanksgiving movies” thing and want to throw a blockbuster into the mix, the first “Spider-Man” movie counts. And it holds up tremendously well as a colorful, vibrant take on the teenaged superhero.