When parades get boring, fire up the best Thanksgiving movies you can stream

Christine Persaud
Digital Trends
best thanksgiving movies
best thanksgiving movies

With bellies full of turkey, stuffing, and all the fixings, and your fix of family fun (more like drama and awkwardness, right?), sometimes the most satisfying way to end a night is to park your butt on the couch, unzip your jeans or throw on your stretch pants, and put on a good movie.

Of course football is a must for viewing during the festive holiday. But if you’re looking for something else to fill the hours this Thanksgiving, check out these great Thanksgiving-themed movies that are sure to bring the laughs, tears, or maybe even a bit of both, as you recall their greatness.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

When it comes to Thanksgiving-themed movies, no list would be complete without this comedy, starring Steve Martin as uptight marketing executive Neal Page and the late John Candy as traveling salesman Del Griffith. In a perfect odd couple pairing, Neal finds himself stuck with Del while trying to get home from New York City to Chicago in order to spend Thanksgiving with his family. As the name implies, they find themselves attempting every mode of transportation possible, as one thing after another continues to go hilariously wrong.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

What holiday would be complete without some good ol’ Charles Brown? In this primetime animated TV special that’s perfect to watch with the whole family, Charlie attempts to host a Thanksgiving dinner for his friends, but it doesn’t quite go as planned. Thankfully, all’s well that ends well when (spoiler alert) the holiday is retored to success with a fantastic dinner at Charlie’s grandma’s house (er, condo). Even Snoopy and Woodstock get to serve up some delicious eats of their own.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Yes, yes, we know this iconic film is first and foremost a Christmas movie, but you may remember it actually begins at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, when Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) is forced to stand-in for a drunken Santa at the last minute — and that makes it a great bridge straight into the holiday season. Kringle’s unconventional methods win hearts of the people, but the department store begins to worry when he begins to express that he really is Santa. Is he delusional? Mentally ill? Or, could it be that he really is the true Mr. Claus?

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Scent of a Woman (1992)

While looking for some quick work over the Thanksgiving weekend to help pay for a flight home, New England prep school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) happens upon Frank Slade (Al Pacino), a retired and blind Army Ranger Lieutenant Colonel who suffers from alcoholism and is in a dark place. In a sweet turn of events, the two help each other through their own respective issues, and an unlikely bond forms. This film is an absolute classic, and Pacino was widely praised for his performance.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Son in Law (1993)

Perhaps the only watchable movie Pauly Shore has graced with his presence, the film begins as Thanksgiving break arrives on a California State campus. College student Rebecca Warner (Carla Gugino) feels pity for her lonely resident advisor Crawl (Pauly Shore) and invites him to come with her to visit her family in South Dakota for the holiday. The clash of cultures between farm life and California dude is evident. And when Rebecca looks to Crawl to help save her from a marriage proposal she doesn’t want, his quick thinking leads to her family thinking that Crawl is, in fact, the unlikely son-in-law to be. Of course, the fabricated romance eventually turns into a real one. While its a bit cliched, it’s a hilariously cute story that leads up to the opposites attract ending.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

OK, so this isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving movie. It’s a dated rom-com about an online chat relationship (back when online chatting was just becoming a “thing”) where the two people conversing, Meg Ryan as Kathleen “Shopgirl” Kelly and Tom Hanks as Joe “NY152” Fox, don’t realize they actually know each other, and are, in fact, rivals of sorts. As a text-based romance blossoms, a real one bears fruit as well. Once Joe realizes his true love for Kathleen, he has to eventually reveal that it was he she had been talking with all along. So where does Thanksgiving fit in? The Thanksgiving theme comes in when Kathleen wrongly enters the cash-only line at a grocery store during the holiday, and Joe sweeps in to calm the frustrated patrons and charm the cashier into making an exception, just this one time. Because it is, after all, the holidays, and Rose is such a pretty name.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Dutch (1991)

Long before he found new life as ornery-but-loveable patriarch Jay Pritchard in Modern Family, Ed O’Neill proved he had acting chops that stretch far beyond Married … With Children in this film about new family members learning to get along — whether they want to or not. O’Neill plays Dutch Dooley, a successful, working-class guy who is charged with picking up his girlfriend’s son, Doyle Standish (Ethan Embry), from prep school for the Thanksgiving holiday. Little does Dutch know, not only is the kid spoiled rotten and impossibly stubborn, but he’s also pretty brilliant, coming up with all kinds of mayhem to derail Dutch’s simple task. The two end up on a wild adventure as they make their way cross-country, and somewhere along the way, they begin to understand one another. It’s a fun flick, and offers plenty of laughs.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

The Blind Side (2009)

This touching biographical sports drama is based on Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Tim McGraw and Sandra Bullock), who adopted high school football star and foster kid Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). Oher later went on to become an NFL star lineman. But it all began when Leigh Anne found Michael roaming the streets at night and invited him to sleep on their couch for the night, then to the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. What started as a thoughful invitation for a holiday meal turned into a lifetime as part of the family. Football, food, and acceptance? That’s what Thanksgiving is all about?

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Garfield’s Thanksgiving (1989)

Great to watch with the kids, this animated classic based on the comic strip exemplified the chubby feline’s worst nightmare come to life: after a vet visit, Garfield (voiced by Lorenzo Music) is put on a strict diet by the veterinarian and his owner Jon at the worst time possible – the day before Thanksgiving! No delicious turkey, scrumptious sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie? In the end, Garfield gets to chow down after all, and get some revenge on his pup pal Odie (Gregg Berger) who was in charge of keeping the snacks away from the cat.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

National Lampoon’s Holiday Reunion (2003)

This may not be one of the top-billed National Lampoon’s films starring Chevy Chase – rather, it’s a cheesy TV movie starring Judge Reinhold. But it also starred Bryan Cranston as mullet-wearing hippie Woodrow Snider – need we say more? Reinhold’s character, suburban family man Dr. Mitch Snider, reluctantly has Thanksgiving dinner with Woodrow, his long-lost cousin that he may just wish he’d never found. It’s as if that one weird uncle that always attends Thanksgiving is the one hosting, and you had no idea just how weird he was! While it may not stack up with the biggest hits in the National Lampoon’s films, it will stir of some fun and  a few laughs.

Watch it now on:

Amazon

Home for the Holidays (1995)

Thanksgiving is all about family dysfunction and awkward meals, right? This film has all that in spades. Single mother Claudia Larson (Holly Hunter) returns home for Thanksgiving dinner after having just lost her job, and her daughter Kitt (Claire Danes), who decided to stay back, advised of her intentions to go “all the way” with her boyfriend over the holiday. Great. Despite plenty of familial tension, and a mysterious new person at the dinner table, an unexpected love story emerges.

Watch it now on:

Amazon