Top 5 Thanksgiving Films

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! After you stuff yourself with turkey and have a few glasses of champers, settle in with the fam with one of these Thanksgiving classics.

Home for the Holidays


Who doesn’t love a mid-1990s classic? I know I do. And one directed by Jodie Foster with Holly Hunter in the lead and Robert Downey Jr playing her brother is particularly appealing. The plot follows Claudia Larson who is not having a good start to the holiday season: she loses her job, makes out with her soon-to-be former boss, and her teenage daughter tells her she will be spending Thanksgiving with her boyfriend…who she’s also planning to lose her virginity to. So big city gal Claudia reluctantly heads home to spend the holidays with her eccentric family—and learns to appreciate them in ways she never knew existed.


Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

The laughs come hard and fast in this classic from one of the best 1980s directors, John Hughes. The film brings two paragons of comedy, Steve Martin and John Candy, together: the former is a man desperately trying to get home for Thanksgiving and the latter is chatty salesman who he bumps into on his journey. But above being absolutely hilarious, this is a tender film about unexpected friendships.


Pieces of April

Pieces of April

An indie surprise, Pieces of April stars Katie Holmes in the title role as a rebellious, wayward daughter who is hosting her family for Thanksgiving in her tiny apartment in a poor part of New York. But here’s the thing: April has never gotten along with her family. Scenes showing April experiencing one disaster after the next as she tries to cook dinner with scenes of her family driving from Pennsylvania are interchanged in this bittersweet film that ultimately underlines the important of making an effort.


Hannah and Her Sisters

Hannah and her sisters

Woody Allen at his best in this offbeat Oscar-winning drama-comedy about interfamily relationships. The film begins with a Thanksgiving Day party and we are introduced to three sisters: Lee, Holly, and Hannah. We learn about their lives, jobs, and relationships. But after the party is over and normal life resumes, Hannah’s husband falls in love with Lee, who leaves her awful partner, and Holly starts dating a former husband of Hannah’s. The affairs evolve and the film culminates in a Thanksgiving two years later, where things look very different indeed. Allen’s films are famous for their dialogue and nuanced characters and this is on top of my list.


Free Birds

Free Birds

One the kids and the adults will like. This charming animation follows two turkeys, Reggie and Jake, who go back in time to change the course of turkeys being on the Thanksgiving menu. In 1621 at the Plymouth colony, Reggie and Jake find themselves in the middle of a turkey clan’s struggle for survival…and like in all good Thanksgiving films, find friendship in the midst of it all.


Wild Card: ThanksKilling


If you love horror, good. If you love ridiculous horror, even better. I have to confess, I haven’t watched this one but now that I’ve discovered it, I surely will be. You won’t believe the plot: a homicidal turkey goes on a killing spree targeting college students. What’s more, the graphics for the turkey are so bad they look deliberate and the film’s tagline—“Gobble, gobble, motherfucker”—is the best/worst tagline since Samuel L Jackson’s “Get these motherfucking snakes of this motherfucking plane.” The film is so ‘bad,’ it hasn’t even got a rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which makes me want to watch it ever more.


Title image source:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *