Old School Americana & Nostalgia


The 5 Best Thanksgiving Movies to Watch This Turkey Day

The 5 Best Thanksgiving Movies to Watch This Turkey Day

Thanksgiving movies get no love. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas favorites like leftover turkey, they’re largely overlooked. However, the list of films celebrating Turkey Day is slowly growing, with a great mix of zany comedy and depressing drama… just like many family get-togethers.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite films that celebrate the fall family holiday.

5. ‘Addams Family Values’

1993’s Addams Family Values is set during summer. However, it makes the Thanksgiving movies list because of a key scene. Sent to painfully boring summer camp, Christina Ricci’s Wednesday performs in a strangely timed Thanksgiving pageant. Rather than the typical pilgrim gathering, her Pocahontas unleashes a scene of revenge, complete with flying limbs and buckets of stage blood gushing in a late-night horror host-worthy orgy of carnage.

4. ‘Rocky’

The original Rocky takes place over several months. Still, a standout scene involving the late Burt Young and a Thanksgiving turkey pushes this film onto the list. When Paulie was first introduced, he was a dark, gritty character. He was borderline abusive towards Adrian, Rocky’s love interest. One scene involves Paulie having a meltdown over Adrian ruining a turkey by overcooking it. The scene ends with a livid Paulie tossing the burnt bird out the front door.

3. ‘Hannah and Her Sisters’

This 1986 Woody Allen comedy-drama explores the lives of a dysfunctional family. It’s framed by the Thanksgiving holiday, with Hannah’s journey coming full circle two years later. Despite Allen’s signature urbane wit, the film’s theme is actually about giving thanks.

2. ‘Planes, Trains & Automobiles’

Sometimes it’s all about the journey, not the destination. Planes, Trains & Automobiles, the 1987 John Hughes classic, builds up to Thanksgiving with a series of traveling misadventures. Steve Martin and John Candy have lightning-in-a-bottle chemistry as they live every holiday traveler’s worst nightmare. Winter blizzards, flight cancellations, lost wallets, rental car mix-ups… all that and more befalls our besieged heroes as they race home to make Thanksgiving dinner. Still, the heart of the film reminds us that it’s important to be thankful for a family to come home to.

1. The Best Thanksgiving Movie… ‘Home for the Holidays’

Jodie Foster’s 1995 directorial gem is a dysfunctional Thanksgiving masterpiece. Holly Hunter stars as a single mom reuniting with her feisty blue-collar family over cranberry sauce, gravy, and booze. The cast is stacked with grounded performances from Robert Downey Jr, Claire Danes, and Steve Guttenberg. Veteran actors Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning anchor this all-too-realistic portrayal that will have you chuckling and nodding in recognition of your own family gatherings.

Below is a decidedly NSFW clip from the film that showcases the disastrous Turkey Day dinner.