Best Thanksgiving movies of all time

Many iconic Thanksgiving films are brushed off by other seasonal holiday flicks

While everyone looks forward to Halloween and Christmas movies year-round, Thanksgiving-themed holiday flicks come and go without much attention paid to them. Here are just a few of the hidden gems that are buried within the genre, ranging from rom-com to nostalgic old-time comedies.

Grumpy Old Men

Set in Wabasha, Minn., two grumpy old men throw themselves into the feud of a lifetime when a new woman moves next door just before Thanksgiving. Filled with relatable references and slight raunchiness, ‘Grumpy Old Men’ is an all-too-realistic look into many of our lives forty years from now.

Quote: “Looks like Chuck’s taking old one-eye to the optometrist.”

Garfield’s Thanksgiving

Garfield is one of those childhood shows that most grow out of sooner rather than later in their life, but the Thanksgiving special is too good to pass up on this time of year. It’s childish, lighthearted and offers a trip down memory lane. While it may not be as iconic as Charlie Brown and his gang of misfits, it’s worth the rewatch from time to time during Thanksgiving festivities.

Quote: “Oh, woe is me. I’ve been put on a diet, and I’m gonna die.”

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

When this film was made, the writer’s room had to have envisioned ’Die Hard’ but better. There’s nothing more iconic than Kevin James with a mustache on a Segway. The comedy is sure to get at least one laugh out of everyone watching, as well as pump everyone up for Black Friday deals the following day.

Quote: “Safety never takes a holiday.”

What’s Cooking?

By far the most culturally forward-thinking on the list, ‘What’s Cooking’ offers a comedic insight into various celebrations of the holiday. Set in Los Angeles, four families, each of different ethnicity, gather for one memorable Thanksgiving dinner. As the audience explores the celebrations of Latino, Jewish, African and Vietnamese families’ traditions for the celebration, they witness more friction than they could have imagined possible.

Quote: “Why do you want to make the turkey taste like everything else we eat?”


One of the newer films on the list, ‘Friendsgiving’, offers everything from “that one funny girl from ‘Two Broke Girls’” to making everyone in the room say “We should throw our own Friendsgiving!” Available on Netflix and clocking in at a short hour and 30 minutes, the film is hilarious and unique from most other Thanksgiving-themed movies.

Quote: “That’s the whole point of Thanksgiving Molly: Sugar and regret!”

Tower Heist

With an all-star cast including Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Casey Affleck, Matthew Broderick and more, ‘Tower Heist’ offers one of the funniest Thanksgiving-themed films on the list. As the crew of poor, down-on-their-luck men try to “eat the rich”, they take just about every misstep possible along the way, proving for a hilarious and wild ride.

The film has everything from Thanksgiving robberies, carjackers, hijinks and much, much more. On top of all of that, the film is one of Michael Pena’s breakout roles, as he steals the spotlight every time the camera’s on him.

Quote: “He’s been arrested a bunch of times. He pays no income taxes. He’s got 2 Doberman Pinschers. So let’s show him some respect, OK?”

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Last, but most certainly not least, is arguably the most classic Thanksgiving short of all time. ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ offers a quality family flick that not only distracts the kids but throws the parents deep into nostalgia from their childhood. Clocking in at a short 25 minutes, it’s perfect to watch with the whole family before Thanksgiving dinner as the turkey is almost cooked to perfection.

Quote: Charlie Brown: “We’ve got ANOTHER holiday to worry about. It seems Thanksgiving Day is upon us.”

Sally Brown: “I haven’t even finished eating all of my Halloween candy!”

Linus van Pelt: “Sally, Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. Ours was the first country in the world to make a national holiday to give thanks.”

While it may be colder than preferred to kick the leaves around and enjoy the outdoors in Fargo, there are still plenty of movies to pass the time around the holiday. Truly, there’s nothing better than clipping those Black Friday coupons with the family as Paul Blart gives one of his many inspirational speeches.

Leave a Reply