Top Five: Thanksgiving Movies

A Charlie Brown Thankgiving
Courtesy of ABC

Fast-forward to the hour after Thanksgiving dinner, when the plates are empty, the football is bad, and the family is on hour three of a deadlocked political debate. At this point, we all need a little break. So grab yourself some pumpkin pie and escape to the other room, because we’ve put together a list of movies guaranteed to put you in the Thanksgiving spirit!

5. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
“Silver Linings Playbook” is not a Thanksgiving-themed movie, but it really feels like one. This “romantic dramedy” follows Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) as he tries to put his life back together after a long-term stay in a mental health facility for bipolar disorder. While living with his parents in Philadelphia, he begins a tumultuous friendship with a depressed widow named Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), and the two get caught up in a convoluted dancing-meets-football-meets-gambling scheme concocted by Pat’s eccentric, Philadelphia Eagles-loving father. While there may be no turkey, “Silver Linings Playbook” has enough football, “homemades,” and family chaos to make you thankful for your own family.

4. You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Nora Ephron’s romantic-comedy “You’ve Got Mail” has just the right combination of romance and Thanksgiving magic to make it the perfect movie to cry at on Turkey Day. In one of the film’s most iconic scenes, Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), who runs a major chain bookstore, comes to the rescue of independent bookstore owner Kathleen (Meg Ryan) in the midst of a Thanksgiving grocery shopping dilemma. While professionally at odds, the two—unbeknownst to either one—maintain an intimate, anonymous correspondence with an Internet chat. Curl up with some leftovers and a warm blanket to watch Joe and Kathleen fall in love amidst the craziness of the holiday season.

3. Home for the Holidays (1995)
Not to be confused for the 1972 horror film of the same name, “Home for the Holidays” is a moving, dramatic take on the holiday. After losing her job, Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) travels to Baltimore to spend Thanksgiving with her parents. As her teenage daughter hints at losing her virginity back home in Chicago, Claudia is suddenly caught up in a hectic whirlwind of family secrets, dramatic confessions, and a hilarious incident involving three relatives, a football, and a garden hose. Heartfelt even in its most theatrical moments, “Home for the Holidays” is above all else a film about the importance of family.

2. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
A trip home for Thanksgiving isn’t the beginning of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” It’s the entire premise. The film tracks the insane journey of Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (John Candy) as they try to get home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving. The advertiser and travelling salesman bicker every inch of the way as they hail taxis, board airplanes, and rent cars—all to no avail. The characters’ increasing bad luck and desperation makes this 1987 John Hughes film a great Thanksgiving comedy, but the real Turkey Day masterpiece is...


1. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Gather around the television to watch ABC’s annual rerun of America’s quintessential Thanksgiving movie! Enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday season with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the whole Peanuts gang as they (attempt) to kick footballs, cook dinner, and retell a children’s version of the first Thanksgiving. The animated holiday special is best enjoyed in between the October and December reruns of its counterparts “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” respectively. Don’t be like Peppermint Patty—kick it back to the ’70s with this beloved animated classic!