Top 10 Movies About Thanksgiving (Video Edition)

Thanksgiving is a holiday often treated much differently than Christmas. Maybe it is because it is an American holiday rather than a religious one, but Thanksgiving movies tend to have a much different tone than upbeat Christmas flicks. Here are the Top 10 Thanksgiving movies of all time and you may be surprised to see what they are all about: incest, violence, adultery, depression, homelessness, and genocide are just a few of the joyous subjects in these movies. If your favorite didn't make the cut, add it to the talk backs below. Happy Thanksgiving!


The best Thanksgiving movie of all time is in a class all it's own. PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES ranks as one of the funniest (and most depressing) comedies of all time. John Candy and Steve Martin are perfect as the odd couple forced to travel home together. Countless movies have imitated this film and paled in comparison. It may not be kid appropriate but once they have passed out from all the pie and you and the other adults are left drinking coffee and chatting, throw this movie on and laugh your asses off. Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Ang Lee's 70s set drama is one of the best films of the last 20 years and is also yet another depressing movie set during Thanksgiving. Maybe it is because the holiday signifies a time for families to get together after being apart for long periods of time and therefore provides an opportunity to air all grievances, but it is bumming out my tryptophan high. THE ICE STORM is a devastating drama and features a truly sad character death, but a must see for movie fans.

#3 - DUTCH

Marketed as Ed O'Neill's big screen debut after success as Al Bundy on MARRIED...WITH CHILDREN, DUTCH was an abysmal failure with critic and at the box office. But, as John Hughes movies tend to do, it has lived a second life on home video. The movie is a road trip featuring O'Neill and Ethan Embry as the son of Dutch's wife. Coming home from military school, their bonding is interrupted by attempts to get rid of one another. The movie goes deep into a dark place but comes back up with a happy ending.


Jodie Foster's second film as director is a nice little comedy drama starring Holly Hunter that many may have overlooked. Featuring a nice performance from Robert Downey Jr as Hunter's gay brother, this is another one of those Thanksgiving movies that is meant to make you feel like any family get-togethers are hell and it is your job to suffer through them in the name of love. While I cannot imagine that everyone has Thanksgivings as bad as this one, it is part of the reason they make fun movie settings. Claire Danes, Charles Durning, and Dylan McDermott round out the cast, but Downey steals the show as he always tends to do.


While I think that SCENT OF A WOMAN is a tad overrated, the Thanksgiving dinner scene itself is great. Bradley Whitford's reveal of how Al Pacino's Frank Slade went blind is a tense moment. You get the feeling that Pacino truly became Slade as he is apt to do for any of his roles. But, there are few roles that are as lasting as this one. The movie may be a little over-sentimental, but Pacino is great.


GRUMPY OLD MEN reteamed the classic duo of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon to great effect. The pair have amazing timing and play off of one another beautifully. Seeing them go at each other is bound to make you smile and the movie is set right at the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perfect watching for the entire holiday season, you will definitely be thankful for this movie.


Woody Allen's movie is sandwiched between two Thanksgiving dinners and what transpires over the time in between. Mia Farrow and Barbara Hershey and their relationship with Michael Caine's character serve as the focal point for the story which weaves comedy and drama in one of Woody Allen's best films. The holiday itself is ancillary to the story, but the events at the festivities at the start and end of the film tie the entire story together. Definitely a great flick but not one to have on if you want your family to enjoy the cranberry sauce.


Remember when there was hope that Katie Holmes would bust out of her good girl image from DAWSON'S CREEK and turn into a quality actress? PIECES OF APRIL was one of her first attempts to do just that. A nice little indie also starring Derek Luke, Patricia Clarkson, and Oliver Platt, PIECES OF APRIL is a nice movie about a realisticly portrayed family coming together at the holidays despite their differences. Not as sickly sweet as some holiday movies, this is definitely a happy look at a modern Thanksgiving.


Another dark Thanksgiving movie about a family stuck together during a hurricane. At the center is Parker Posey giving a great performance as Jackie, the Kennedy assassination obsessed woman with psychological issues and a sexual obsession with her brother. As the film plays out, we learn a lot of dark secrets about the family, all carried by a phenomenal Posey. Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook also appear in supporting roles. Not a feel good movie but still a damn good one.

#10 - SON IN LAW

Yes, I am including a Pauly Shore movie on this list. This will probably be the last time this will happen, but I have a soft spot for SON IN LAW. From Carla Gugino looking hot to the fish out of water humor, SON IN LAW is an easy way to waste a couple of hours with a smile on your face. Definitely not the best movie ever made, but having Pauly Shore in the cast pretty much guaranteed that wasn't going to happen. Still, this is my favorite of his movies.

Honorable Mention - THE NEW WORLD

THE NEW WORLD is the perfect movie to watch during Thanksgiving because, while it predates the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock, it does give us the origin story for English settlers in North America and their interactions with the tribes that populated the land far before any White people. Come to think of it, the slaughter of Native Americans may not be the best way to celebrate the positive nature of the holiday, but it is a damn beautiful movie.

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