In the world of cinema, Thanksgiving is the stepchild to Christmas. According the faithful VideoHound Golden Movie Retriever, there are more than 250 movies about Christmas, while there is only 20 about Thanksgiving. Ask anyone to name some Christmas classics and you will hear films like It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Carol, to name just a few. Certainly, Thanksgiving deserves its own classics — films that families can enjoy each year after they have stuffed themselves with turkey and pumpkin pie:
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)
Prolific director and writer John Hughes gave Christmas the Home Alone films, but he didn’t forget Thanksgiving. This film, starring John Candy and Steve Martin, is very similar to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — it is very funny (plenty of slapstick, silly humor) with an underlying sweetness and sentimentality. And just like many of the favorite Christmas movies, it seems to get better with age. Sadly, John Candy passed away seven years after making this film, but he left us with a cherished, truly lovable character, Del Griffith, that had a lot of heart.
Home for the Holidays (1995)
While Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is aimed at a younger audience, this is a smart, witty, yet sensitive and serious, dramedy for adults. Directed by Jodie Foster, the film stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey, Jr. Charles Durning, Anne Bancroft, and Charles Durning. This movie is relatable on many levels — focusing on the parent-children relationships, the sibling rivalry, the memorable Thanksgiving dinner, and so forth. Charles Durning and Robert Downey have terrific fun with their roles.
Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade (2012)
A Family Thanksgiving (2010)
An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008)
Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower (2006)