Is there a list of the finest Thanksgiving movies? Do not rely on movies to provide you the answers. Each Thanksgiving weekend, the studios hope for a big spike in ticket sales. For some reason, there is a rush to the movies when people see movies that involve stuffing bread in a chicken’s bum, bringing family together to discuss politics, and reducing holiday cheer to just a few days in November. Gosh, what a mystery.
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There’s no shortage of Thanksgiving-themed TV shows, but there isn’t as much interest in Thanksgiving-themed movies. Surely a few days spent crying over the loss of loved ones and sipping spiked apple ciders isn’t enough to delight the masses? C’mon, suits! This year’s Thanksgiving holiday has brought out a handful of bold filmmakers who have produced some smoky-hot feature films for you to enjoy. It’s Thanksgiving, and these are the best Thanksgiving movies ever made, which essentially means most of the only Thanksgiving movies ever created (sorry, Dutch).
1. Addams Family Values (1993)
“Family” is one of the most beloved television programs of all time, but this sequel is the crowning achievement of the series’ history. A nanny (Joan Cusack at her most withering) is hired by Morticia and Gomez to keep Wednesday and Pugsley in line, and they ship them off to torment other teens at a summer camp. A performance about Thanksgiving is required of the death-obsessed kids at sleepaway camp, which gives them an opportunity to educate their privileged peers about the true origins of the holiday. Christina Ricci’s funny family picture addresses the crimes committed against indigenous people in our country in a way that few Thanksgiving movies or holiday specials do. Every word of the Wednesday deadpan will have you in stitches.
2. Free Birds (2013)
The story of two turkeys who travel back to the 16th century to save their heads from the chopping block is a fun one to see with kids this Thanksgiving. Everyone will have a good time with the low-budget Chicken Run pranks. Then you and your nerdy-ass cousin will spend the rest of the night debating time travel logic. It’s Thanksgiving, so there’s no rush to start new lives or earn back one’s dignity.
3. Funny People (2009)
For his third collaboration with the Sandman, Judd Apatow teamed up with his old friend the Sandman for a little ironic, James L. Brooks-ian investigation of comedy, disease, and death. Moreover, this film is unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and Sandler’s character, a famous comic stricken with terminal disease, is caustic, scathing, and alive in ways he’s never been on screen before. Somber but comforting, it’s a movie about friendship, complete with its own Friendsgiving moment, that makes you feel like you’ve come home. Sandler, a risk-averse comic who appears to use most of his films as vacation packages for his friends and family, has decided to star in a film this strange, messy, and intimate, and it’s exciting to think that.
4. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Three Thanksgivings is a film about three sisters’ relationships and the romances they have throughout their lives, starring Mia Farrow, Barbara Hershey, and Dianne Wiest. In spite of the fact that the vacation is merely a marker for the cast’s relationships, the picture remains one of cinema’s most adored screenplays, which it earned Best Screenplay for in 1987, making it a classic to watch after dinner.
5. Home for the Holidays (1995)
In this cute, quirky Thanksgiving comedy, Jodie Foster directs a family that meets to feast, only to argue through every course of the feast. There is no shortage of disagreements at Foster’s dinner table about politics, social standards, and who is dating whom. Seeing Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. in this film is worth the trip.
6. The Humans (2021)
An adaptation of Stephen Karam’s Tony Award-winning play about a young couple hosting Thanksgiving in their new, decaying New York City apartment was written and directed by the film’s writer-director. The Humans may sound like a lighthearted family comedy, but it’s actually a harrowing, horror-like depiction of a dysfunctional family dinner table where broken dreams and shattered relationships are all that come together. A stellar cast, including Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, Amy Schumer, Jayne Houdyshell repeating her stage role, Richard Jenkins, and June Squibb—as well as the apartment itself, which creaks and cracks like it’s haunted—helps round out the film’s spooky atmosphere. It’s the kind of sappy Thanksgiving movie you’d expect.
7. Krisha (2016)
If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a large family gathers around one table for Thanksgiving, Krisha is for you. Home for the Holidays, on the other hand, is a Thanksgiving film that depicts the true meaning of the holiday: a meticulous, existential horror. At times, the movie feels like it’s being shot by Terrence Malick in Peru, floating around a suburban Texas home. Having not seen her kid or her sister in years, the protagonist, an alcoholic, returns sober, gentle, and eager to get her life back on track. However, when has anyone ever gotten back to normal after a Thanksgiving meal?
8. The Last Waltz (1978)
At Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco on November 25, 1976, The Band made musical history. The legendary lineup included Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, Muddy Waters, and Eric Clapton. Fortunately, Martin Scorsese was there as well. While they may be tipsy from the red wine, folk-obsessed old-timers are not wasted when they praise this picture as one of the greatest concert films of all time. If you don’t know about it, you’re missing out.
9. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
George Seaton’s imaginative story of Kris Kringle, and the trial to prove he’s the genuine deal, is an homage to the transformational power of believing in something great. Subliminal Macy’s marketing be damned. This movie has a lot of star power, but it’s Edmund Gwenn as Kris who remains so pure and happy that you might believe he is Santa by the end. To Kill a Mockingbird and 12 Angry Men are two of the best courtroom dramas ever made, but you won’t think of this movie as one since you’ll be too engrossed in the movie’s twinkling.
10. Pieces of April (2003)
If it weren’t for the connection to Thanksgiving, novelist Peter Hedges’ independent Thanksgiving film would have been lost to history. As a well-off suburban family’s rebellious daughter, Katie Holmes stars as the Lower East Side tenement apartment cook who wants to put on a lavish Thanksgiving dinner. In the middle of a family road vacation that includes everything from Krispy Kreme donuts to roadkill incidents, April had a breakdown over how to cook the turkey. We’re sure there are a few good moments in here….
11. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
In order to explain why Steve Martin and John Candy’s road movie is one of the greatest Thanksgiving-themed comedies of all time, we’ve devoted 4,000 words to the subject.
12. Scent of a Woman (1992)
For a Thanksgiving weekend flick, Al Pacino won an Oscar. Al Pacino stars as Frank, a grumpy and blind ex-army officer who hires a prep school student (Chris O’Donnell) on a scholarship to take care of him over the vacation in Martin Brest’s 1992 drama. Frank, on the other hand, has a different scheme in mind: he wants to take them both to New York City for one last hurrah before committing suicide. Even though it’s an over-the-top holiday drama, it’s packed with plenty of luxury and follows an unusual pair of friends.
13. Spider-Man (2002)
For Thanksgiving dinner, Sam Raimi’s comic-book characters Norman Osborn and Peter Parker retire to Aunt May’s house after the Goblin and Spider-Man fight for the second time. Because of this,Spider-Man is now a Thanksgiving film.
14. Thanksgiving (2007)
Eli Roth’s faux trailer for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse—the turducken of horror movies—is the closest Turkey Day will get to Black Christmas. This will help you forget about the jerk who stole your drumstick by watching it over and over again.
15. Tower Heist (2011)
On the eve of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Brett Ratner’s Thanksgiving caper film, which tells the narrative of the staff of a high-rise home who plan a heist after discovering their Trump-like CEO conned them all in a Ponzi scheme, takes place. Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Gabourey Sidibe round out the cast in a way that’s unexpectedly amusing.
16. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
“But will they work out?” has always been one of the hallmarks of great rom-coms, but Nora Ephron’s classic film is also the ideal autumnal film.
Adaptation of Ernst Lubitsch’s 1940 rom-com based on
To Meg Ryan, Ephron gives Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan an opportunity to chat like they’re clicking out their words on a keyboard, while the leaves in New York City begin to turn and snow begins to fall around them in Ephron’s adaptation of a 1937 Hungarian drama Hanks intervenes for Kathlee in the Zabar’s Thanksgiving cash-only checkout line and the cashier says “Happy Thanksgiving back,” which is one of the movie’s most memorable moments. Even if the jokes from the chat rooms are a bit old, this film perfectly captures the feeling of coziness and coziness that you long for throughout the holiday season.