Thanksgiving is a time of family, food, gratitude … and Netflix! Let’s be honest: In between all the hosting, cooking and catching up, our small screens are part of the family — from that early morning cup of coffee with the Macy’s Day Parade to everyone’s favorite dog tale to football and more football and more football. What you may not have realized is that Netflix has a cornucopia of Thanksgiving-related movies streaming, which is the perfect, easy addition to your holiday TV lineup. So whether it’s to get you in the mood before Thanksgiving or bring the family together between kickoffs, cozy in with these Thanksgiving movies streaming right now on Netflix.
Free Birds (2013)
Thanksgiving vibe: Grandchild-friendly cartoon turkey fun!
The plot: A fun watch with younger kids, this irreverent animated comedy follows two turkeys — voiced by Woody Harrelson, 60, and Owen Wilson, 52 — on a mission to change the course of Thanksgiving history. The birds time travel back to 1621, just before the first Thanksgiving, and must avoid capture by hungry pilgrim Myles Standish as they try to prevent turkeys from ever landing on the Thanksgiving table.
Watch it: Free Birds
Thanksgiving vibe: Holiday rom-com high jinks
The plot: This rom-com will resonate with anyone who has ever had to answer invasive questions about their love lives during a family holiday. Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey play two strangers who decide to act as each other’s “holidates,” or plus-ones for holiday family functions in order to avoid probing questions about their singlehood. The complications around the arrangement come to a head around Thanksgiving.
Watch it: Holidate
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Lady Bird (2017)
Thanksgiving vibe: Handling generation gaps at the holidays
The plot: This coming-of-age dramedy, directed by Greta Gerwig, follows headstrong teenager Lady Bird (Saoirse Ronan) as she navigates her senior year of high school and the ups and downs of her relationship with her mother (Laurie Metcalf, 66). One of those downs comes during Thanksgiving, when Lady Bird chooses to spend the holiday with her friend Danny and his wealthy family instead of her own, hurting her mother’s feelings. A great multigenerational watch.
Watch it: Lady Bird
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Basketball or Nothing (2019)
Thanksgiving vibe: Pause to reflect on the deeper stories of Indigenous lives in America
The plot: In the spirit of honoring the real history of Thanksgiving and November as Native American Heritage Month, stream this heartfelt Emmy-nominated docuseries about a Navajo Nation basketball team. The six-part series follows the Chinle High School boys’ team — who play “rezball,” a looser, faster-paced style of hoops — on their quest to win the Arizona state championship.
Watch it: Basketball or Nothing
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Thanksgiving vibe: Cooking overload
The plot: If you’re the type of person who feels the pressure to achieve perfection on the Thanksgiving table, you might relate to this comedy (or change the turkey feast to a taco feast!). Jon Favreau, 55, stars as the titular chef, who quits his high-pressure job at an upscale Los Angeles restaurant after a fight with a critic. Trying to figure out his next move, he decides to open a food truck with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), best friend (John Leguizamo, 57), and son (Emjay Anthony).
Watch it: Chef
August: Osage County (2013)
Thanksgiving vibe: Family drama at the dinner table
The plot: Written by Tracy Letts and based on his 2007 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, this film takes family dinner table tensions and ratchets them up to tragicomic extremes. The death of their father brings three sisters — played by Julia Roberts, 54; Juliette Lewis; and Julianne Nicholson, 50 — and their significant others home to rural Oklahoma, where they’re subject to the cruel assessments of their acerbic matriarch, played by Meryl Streep, 72.
Watch it: August: Osage County
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Thanksgiving vibe: Football and family dysfunction
The plot: While this romantic dramedy is not about Thanksgiving, its plot does revolve around football and family dysfunction. Bradley Cooper plays a man who moves back in with his parents (Jacki Weaver, 74, and Robert De Niro, 78) in Philadelphia, as he tries to get his life back on track after getting treatment for bipolar disorder. He meets a widow (Oscar-winning Jennifer Lawrence) who offers to help him reconnect with his ex-wife if he enters a dance competition with her. Let the film’s game-day “crabby snacks” (crabmeat and orange cheese on an English muffin) and “homemades” (homemade spaghetti) inspire your Thanksgiving spread.
Watch it: Silver Linings Playbook
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Thanksgiving vibe: Their Turkey Day is crazier than yours
The plot: This adult comedy captures the chaos that unexpected guests can bring to an intimate celebration. Malin Akerman (Billions) and Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), play two best friends recovering from a divorce and a breakup, respectively, who are just hoping for a low-key Thanksgiving. Those plans begin to spiral out of control, however, when they decide to invite a new boyfriend and a mutual friend and her family.
Watch it: Friendsgiving
Lauren Vespoli is a Brooklyn-based freelance culture writer and audio producer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine and Vox.