Christmas specials are a dime a dozen, almost making us forget that there are other holidays around that time. Thanksgiving movies are not as common, sure, but they still exist! After all, who doesn’t like to see movies on Thanksgiving weekend? It’s just such an untapped market!
Some of these are for the whole family, while others are for more mature audiences, but it’s honestly a matter of opinion. Some are dramas, others are musical cartoons and there’s everything in between.
Miracle on 34th Street
Look, I know what you’re thinking; if the whole thing is about someone who thinks he is Santa Claus, then it is clearly a Christmas movie. Still, the opening scene is New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, so I am counting it.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
This is probably the first movie many of you thought of when I suggested a Thanksgiving movie. These plucky, little Peanuts have had a monopoly on holiday specials for at least four decades. They even had an Arbor Day special.
Addams Family Values
I’m still not sure why a summer camp puts on a Thanksgiving play in the first place, but this still ends up making a really good scene. Added to that, it’s nice to know that we have a good reason to watch America’s favorite family even after Halloween.
Hannah And Her Sisters
It starts on Thanksgiving. It ends on Thanksgiving. I even think there’s yet another Thanksgiving dinner in between. They might as well just call this movie, Thanksgiving.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
When people talk about coming home for the holidays, it normally refers to Christmas vacations, but people still make trips the month before for Turkey Day. This 1987 John Hughes comedy might exaggerate the stress of coming home, but who are we kidding? Not by much…
The Mouse on the Mayflower
Rankin-Bass created our childhoods with their various stop-motion Christmas specials, with a few New Years or Easter show here and there. If you thought they forgot about Thanksgiving, you’d be wrong. As with many of the company’s specials, this story about a Thanksgiving churchmouse was a Japanese co-production, with the help of Toei Animation.
The Blind Side
Sure, most of the movie is not about Thanksgiving, but one of the film’s most well-known scenes involves the family coming together for a Thanksgiving dinner in the dining room. Besides, it is a movie about football, so it is still appropriate for Thanksgiving.
This movie, for better or for worse, at least tried to be the big-budget, animated Thanksgiving film we never knew we needed, so it should get a mention on this list, even if whoever worked on it clearly never entered a Chuck E. Cheese in their life!
Pieces of April
While many of the examples on this list are aimed for families to watch together as they gather together for the holiday, this one is for older viewers. Besides, people who are used to formal Thanksgiving dinners probably would want to try a Thanksgiving dinner at an NYC apartment at least once in their life. And stopping for doughnuts. And stopping for bagels.
The Star Wars Holiday Special
Okay, it is usually remembered as a Christmas special. Technically, it is a Life Day special. But it originally aired near Thanksgiving, so I am going to count it. While even the most die-hard fan might be deeply ashamed of this special’s existence, where else can you see Bea Arthur sing about closing a tavern with a bunch of aliens?