Everybody knows the traditional Christmas and Halloween movies that are enjoyed every year around the world, but Thanksgiving is a holiday that finds itself sadly underrepresented when it comes to festive movies. Regardless, there are still several classic films where Thanksgiving plays a role in the story.
In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Reddit users have recently shared some of their favorite Thanksgiving movies, or at least those which feature the holiday to some extent. These are the films that get audiences into the Thanksgiving spirit more than any others.
The Big Chill (1983)
Stream On HBO Max
The Big Chill is a classic ’80s comedy featuring some of the biggest actors of their generation, including legends such as Jeff Goldblum, Glenn Close, and William Hurt. The ensemble brings this festive story of family and friendship to life with plenty of hilarious jokes and touching relationships.
Redditor starsinthineyes concurs that there are “so many great actors” in The Big Chill, elevating it way beyond its simple script and turning it into a hilarious viewing experience that many audiences revisit every year when they need a holiday treat.
Black Friday (2021)
Rent On Apple TV+
Although Black Friday technically comes after Thanksgiving, there’s still a lot of festive spirit in Casey Tebo’s chilling horror feature from last year. The story follows a group of toy store employees as they’re forced to protect each other from a horde of infected shoppers.
Redditor ohadi_nacnud_3 names “Black Friday” as the perfect movie for Thanksgiving, even though it’s certainly not a traditional one. Black Friday is a great holiday-themed horror for fans of the genre, keeping spirits light despite its dark themes.
Alice’s Restaurant (1969)
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Possibly the oldest Thanksgiving movie that audiences are still interested in, it’s unbelievable how effortlessly Alice’s Restaurant has aged. Arthur Penn’s classic adventure is filled with laughs and charming performances that hold up immaculately today, with many families citing this film as their annual Thanksgiving watch.
Reddit user typical_humanoid admits that Alice’s Restaurant is “one of the few […] movies dedicated to the holiday.” Whilst Thanksgiving movies might not be as popular as those surrounding Christmas or Halloween, that has allowed Alice’s Restaurant to maintain its popularity and status for a long time.
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It’s more of the atmosphere than the story that makes Dutch a Thanksgiving movie for many audiences, with the cold weather and tender family moments causing Reddit user ohanonymousone to view the film as perfect Thanksgiving viewing.
“I always try to watch Dutch at Thanksgiving”, they write. The film follows Ed O’Neill’s character as he’s forced to spend time with his girlfriend’s son, and their growing relationship elevates the film to ‘comfort movie’ status for many.
James And The Giant Peach (1996)
Stream On Disney+
Henry Selick’s James and the Giant Peach recounts the story of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale, bringing it to life with a unique animation style and a surprisingly heartfelt screenplay. The fall atmosphere and family values make this a perfect family movie for Thanksgiving evening.
Reddit user dense-pea-1714 agrees that James and the Giant Peach is “a perfect thanksgiving movie”. It might not directly reference the holiday, but this Disney movie features many meals audiences would love at Thanksgiving.
Stream On Hulu
Son-In-Law tells the story of a country girl named Rebecca, who invites her outgoing friend Crawl to her family Thanksgiving meal in an attempt to pose as her fiancé. It’s a hilarious comedy of errors, but the charming characters and family atmosphere keep it exciting every year.
Redditor herecomedatmoonboi names Son-In-Law as “one of my favorite Thanksgiving movies”, and it’s also one of the few films that directly takes place on the holiday. Pauly Shore and Carla Gugino shine in the lead roles, forging a dynamic that’s entertaining from start to finish.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
Stream On Prime Video
For many audiences, Fantastic Mr. Fox is not only Wes Anderson’s most rewatchable film to date, but it’s also the perfect movie to capture that Thanksgiving spirit in late November. The fall atmosphere and orange color palette fit the holiday well, and Anderson’s style is perfect for family viewing.
Reddit user thekoreanbanana argues that whilst Thanksgiving is often “overshadowed” by the other holidays toward the end of the year, Fantastic Mr. Fox is one of the few movies that “make[s] you feel thankful” in the spirit of the holiday.
Funny People (2009)
Stream On Starz
The holiday spirit might not be as obvious with Funny People, but Reddit user carefreeliving13 still recommends the film because it takes place over the Thanksgiving period. In fact, what is arguably the movie’s funniest and most iconic scene takes place over Thanksgiving dinner.
Funny People is one of Judd Apatow’s classic 2000s comedies, boasting a cast of talented actors and actresses such as Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, and Adam Sandler. Like many of Apatow’s stories, it’s clear that every member of the cast is having a blast on-set – which makes the viewing experience even more entertaining.
Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987)
Stream On Paramount+
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of the most famous Thanksgiving movies out there, and there’s good reason for that. Not only does it feature a standout cast with hilarious performances, but it’s also stood the test of time as an important family story that resonated with many audiences.
Reddit user m_e_n_n_o calls it a “great movie”, and there’s no doubt that plenty of other movie fans agree. The film remains one of John Hughes’ most underrated projects of all, cementing the director as one of the most influential of his time.
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Anybody looking for something a little more unconventional to watch on Thanksgiving shouldn’t look any further than Thankskilling, a holiday-inspired slasher about a homicidal turkey that hunts down college students during the winter.
It’s a pretty absurd premise for a film, but director Jordan Downey does a great job of blending comedy into the story to ensure that it never takes itself too seriously. Redditor 1894win names “Thankskilling” as one of the greatest movies for the holiday, likely because of how unexpected and untraditional it is.
NEXT: 10 Timeless Thanksgiving Movies To Watch During The Holidays