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Best Thanksgiving Movies

11 classic comedies and dramas to make your Turkey Day complete, and where to watch them

Trailers for 11 Tasty Thanksgiving Movies

Click the hamburger symbol at the top right side of the video to chose a trailer.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Steve Martin is an uptight, ultrasuccessful exec whose trip home from New York to Chicago gets rerouted for bad weather, so he's stuck traveling with hyper-talkative traveling shower-curtain-ring salesman John Candy. Based on a real, massively delayed homecoming in filmmaker John Hughes’ prior life as an ad man, it's one of the most inspired pairings in cinema history, matching Martin's precision and emotional remoteness with Candy's vulnerability and sheer kindness. Hughes regarded Candy as his “simpatico” soul brother, closer than any other actor (he wrote 25 screenplays for him), and this is one of few movies to do him justice. The Thanksgiving finale will make you go “Awww!” Better Call Saul's Michael McKean is good as a martinet cop, too.

How to watch: Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango Now, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, Netflix, Vudu

Pieces of April (2003)

Katie Holmes is irresistibly adorable as a young New Yorker putting on a Thanksgiving dinner for her wacky relatives (mom Patricia Clarkson, dad Oliver Platt, sister Alison Pill) even though she's a dreadful chef and she needs the help of many members of her multiethnic apartment building to pull it off. Screenwriter Peter Hedges’ What's Eating Gilbert Grape made Leo DiCaprio a star, and he gives Holmes one of her best roles ever. But what's even better is Clarkson as Holmes’ irascible mom, who's dying of cancer, totally peeved about it, and very aware that she has carte blanche to behave as badly as she wants to this holiday. This film helped made Clarkson a star in midlife.

How to watch: Amazon, Apple TV, YouTube, Google Play, Hulu, iTunes, Vudu

What's Cooking? (2000)

In Gurinder Chadha's pleasantly messy, Robert Altman-like multifamily drama, four clans gather to bond and feud over Turkey Day. Mercedes Ruehl is the standout as a Latina teacher who's replaced a faithless husband with a new boyfriend she introduces to her family — but her son has invited her husband, too. Brilliant Alfre Woodard tries to make peace between her conservative husband and leftist son, as her mother-in-law snipes about her cooking. A Vietnamese immigrant matriarch (Joan Chen) struggles to keep her kids from becoming all-American punks, and a Jewish lesbian (Kyra Sedgwick) introduces her folks to her beloved (Julianna Margulies). As one character wisely observes, “I guess you can't call it a family if someone isn't speaking to someone else."

How to watch: Amazon, Apple TV, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu

Addams Family Values (1993)

Christopher Lloyd, who plays Uncle Fester, said the A-list cast of this Charles Addams classic really felt like a family making this film, and you can feel the warmth, even when Fester's fiancée (immortal comedian Joan Cusack) keeps trying to drop a radio into his bath, or when Wednesday (Christina Ricci's star-making role) tries to guillotine her kid brother, Pugsley, and scandalize the grossly chipper Camp Chippewa kids with a less-than-sentimental Thanksgiving play. Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia are the most loving, bizarre couple you ever saw, and Paul Rudnick is the cleverest screenwriter in Hollywood. Better than the first Addams Family film, or the classic show.

How to watch: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008)

At first, it seems this Hallmark takeoff on a Louisa May Alcott short story will be too sweetly sentimental, but when a budding writer (Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany) writes to her rich grandma (Jacqueline Bisset) to say they're too poor to buy a Thanksgiving turkey after her father's death, the snooty socialite granny comes to dinner — to the horror of her estranged, widowed daughter, the writer's mom (Helene Joy). Bisset gives the sentimental tale just the nasty tang of clashing classes it needs.

How to watch: Apple TV, iTunes, Philo

The House of Yes (1997)

"I'm going to go baste the turkey and hide the kitchen knives!” says Mom (marvelous Genevieve Bujold), but in a family like this, that won't keep problems at bay this Thanksgiving. It's 20 years after JFK's death, and Mom's deranged daughter Jackie-O (Parker Posey in the role that won her first Sundance Film Festival award) is totally obsessed with the pillbox hat-wearing first lady. Also, she's got a thing for her brother (Freddie Prinze Jr.), whose befuddled fiancée (Tori Spelling at her best) is about to find out what she's marrying into.

How to watch: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu

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The Blind Side (2009)

Sandra Bullock kept turning down the role of a rich Christian lady whose poor adopted son (Michael Oher) becomes a top college football hero, but once she took it, she got the Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award. She should've known that there are no bad movies made from nonfiction books by Michael Lewis (MoneyballThe Big Short) — the film was also a surprise nominee for best picture, and it earned over $300 million. The Thanksgiving scene is a sure heartwarmer.

How to watch: Amazon, Fandango Now, Apple TV, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu

Funny People (2009)

George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is a stand-up comedian with a billion dollars, countless meaningless flings with gorgeous women, and not a single true friend to his name. So when he gets a fatal illness with one year to live, he hires a neurotic young comedian (Seth Rogen) to be his joke-writing caregiver of sorts. Whom else is he going to invite to Thanksgiving dinner? Though there's industry-satirizing humor, Sandler mainly proves what a fine dramatic actor he is. And since Sandler used to be roommates with the film's screenwriter, Judd Apatow (Knocked Up), the jokes feel as real as the relationship.

How to watch: Amazon, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, Fandango Now, Apple TV

Home for the Holidays (1995)

Jodie Foster is as great a director of genius actors as you'd expect, and few holiday films have balanced sweet and sour themes more ably. Divorced, newly unemployed mom Holly Hunter spends Thanksgiving with infuriating parents Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning, praying her daughter (Claire Danes) doesn't fulfill her ambition of losing her virginity over the holiday. Geraldine Chaplin plays eccentric Aunt Glady, and Robert Downey Jr. is tops as Hunter's tart-tongued gay son.

How to watch: Amazon, Fandango Now, Apple TV, YouTube, Hulu, GooglePlay, Vudu

The Ice Storm (1997)

Missed the chance to have wife-swapping key parties on a waterbed surrounded by brownish-orange shag rugs with Jonathan Livingston Seagull on the bedstand? Ang Lee (Oscar winner for Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain) brings Thanksgiving 1973 back to life in a cool, sad, haunting drama. Kevin Kline cheats on wife Joan Allen with neighbor Sigourney Weaver as the youngsters (Elijah Wood, Christina Ricci and Tobey Maguire) misbehave, judge their elders and face an unexpected tragedy.

How to watch: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu, Apple TV+, Fandango Now

Grumpy Old Men (1993)

There was never a better feuding-buddy team than heroically grouchy Walter Matthau and oversensitive kvetch Jack Lemmon, here playing Minnesota guys who bicker inseparably all their lives, and much louder this Thanksgiving thanks to the stunning object of their jealous affections: Ann-Margret. Not sure these two would be her sole romance options, but it makes the comic courtship battle between the ice-fishing rivals sizzle.

How to watch: Amazon, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu

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