addams family values thanksgiving
Source: Paramount

10 Thanksgiving Movies You Can Stream Now to Celebrate Our Most Tragically Overlooked Holiday

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Apr. 26 2020, Updated 10:58 p.m. ET

I look forward to watching my favorite Thanksgiving movies each year the way some friends look forward to bingeing on holiday films. Call me weird, but I’ve always preferred Turkey Day, with its emphasis on friendship, food, and feeling grateful for our bounty. 

If you’re looking to give the underdog holiday its due, fight the Christmas creep with these movies with Thanksgiving scenes dedicated to turkey, stuffing, and awkward family dinners.

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1. ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ (1987)

thanksgiving movie planes trains automobiles
Source: Paramount

This is the definitive Thanksgiving movie and by far the one I absolutely must watch every year. Starring Steve Martin and John Candy, this hilarious comedy follows an uptight businessman (Martin) struggling to get home for Thanksgiving and Dell Griffith (Candy) the traveling salesman who becomes the thorn in his side and unlikely travel companion when their flight to Chicago is canceled.  This film legitimately never gets old and never fails to make me laugh and shed a tear or two at the heartwarming ending.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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2. ‘Home for the Holidays’ (1995)

thanksgiving movies home for the holidays
Source: Paramount

If your family puts the fun in dysfunctional, Home for the Holidays is your Thanksgiving jam. Holly Hunter stars as a woman whose life is kind of falling apart when she goes… home for the holidays. The movie also stars Claire Danes as her daughter, Kitt, Robert Downey Jr. as her brother, Anne Bancroft as her mom, and a very, very in his prime Dylan McDermott as her brother’s friend.

Available with subscription on Hulu; rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu

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3. ‘Pieces of April’ (2003)

Pieces of April
Source: United Artists

Every family has a black sheep and this movie is for that person. It’s also easily the best thing Katie Holmes has ever done besides give birth to Suri Cruise. In this, Katie plays April, a girl living in a ramshackle New York apartment and estranged from her family. When she learns her mom has terminal cancer, she and her boyfriend host her family for Thanksgiving, despite having no clue how to cook and the saddest efficiency kitchen ever. Katie’s performance as April is one of her finest and the always amazing Patricia Clarkson is flawless as her cold and bitter mother.

Available with subscription on Hulu; rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play and Vudu

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4. ‘Addams Family Values’ (1993)

addams family values thanksgiving
Source: Paramount

OK, so this technically isn’t a Thanksgiving movie because it takes place mostly at a summer camp. However, it counts for the Thanksgiving play in it. For some strange reason, the counselors decide July is the perfect time to put on a play about the First Thanksgiving. Despite being white AF, Wednesday is cast as Pocohontas, and she uses the opportunity to provide some real talk about what happened to the First Nations of North America, while also enacting some sweet revenge on her camp tormentors. 

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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5. ‘The Ice Storm’ (1997)

thanksgiving movies the ice storm
Source: Fox Searchlight

Want to get super depressed after dinner? Put on The Ice Storm! It’s got everything: dysfunctional families, infidelity, the Watergate scandal, and (spoiler) a sad accidental death. But seriously, it’s a really good Ang Lee film with career-defining performances by Christina Ricci, Tobey Maguire, and Elijah Wood, plus Kevin Klein and Sigourney Weaver are fantastic.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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6. ‘Sweet November’ (2001)

thanksgiving movies sweet november
Source: Warner Bros

Is it treacly and maybe not the best showcase of Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron’s talent? Oh, absolutely. But I still have a tender spot in my heart for this movie about a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who convinces an uptight ad exec to shack up with her for the whole month of November and let her teach him to appreciate something other than making money.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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7. ‘The House of Yes’ (1997)

thanksgiving movies the house of yes
Source: Miramax

Well, if your clan’s credo is “if you can’t keep it in the pants, keep it in the family,” you’ll love The House of Yes, Born out of the ‘90s indie movie boom, this flick based on a play takes place during a Massachusetts family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Josh (Josh Hamilton) has been living away from his family in NYC and brings home his fiancée (Tori Spelling), much to the dismay of his mentally ill twin sister, Jackie O, played by indie darling Parker Posey. Honestly, I don’t want to tell you anymore than that because you just kind of have to see it.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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8. ‘Free Birds’ (2013)

thanksgiving movies Free Birds
Source: Reel FX Creative Studios

A solid family choice, this animated film involves turkeys traveling back in time to try to change the course of history by stopping the first Thanksgiving from happening. Unfortunately, they encounter some hungry Pilgrims along the way. Voice talents include Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, Woody Harrelson, and living meme George Takei.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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9. ThanksKilling (2008)

thanksgiving movies thankskilling
Source: In Broad Daylight Films

If family films really aren’t your thing, maybe you’re more into a campy, low-budget comedy-horror movie about a killer turkey demon thing terrorizing a bunch of college students home for Thanksgiving. Dubbed "cheerily awful" by The Boston Globe, it’s definitely not in danger of winning any awards but it might be fun if your faculties are somewhat compromised.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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10. Son-in-Law (1993)

thanksgiving movies son in law
Source: Hollywood Pictures

This criminally underrated Pauly Shore comedy co-stars Carla Gugino as a farm girl who went away to college and changed a lot while away from her rural family. On Thanksgiving break, she brings home her dorm’s RA (Pauly), who has nowhere else to go. At dinner, she tells her family he’s her fiancé to thwart an imminent proposal from her high school boyfriend. It’s not Shakespeare or anything, but it’s a fun fish-out-of-water story that got a bad rap because critics in the '90s hated joy and laughter I guess.

Rental available on: Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu

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