Celebrate Thanksgiving with festive films

Aubrey Shanahan

If I asked you what your favorite Christmas movie was, it probably wouldn’t take you very long to come up with an answer. Personally, I think “Elf” is the best Christmas movie ever, but there is an incredible selection to choose from if you disagree. Perhaps “It’s a Wonderful Life” is more your speed, you love the crazy antics of “Christmas Vacation,” or you prefer some of the classic claymation specials from the 1970’s. You could likely come up with a favorite Christmas movie for every genre if you had some time to think about it.

Now, if I asked what your favorite Thanksgiving movie is, it would take you much longer to decide on a film, if you could even think of any that fit the bill.


To save you some time, here are some quality examples of the often forgotten Thanksgiving movie:

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

This is probably the most popular and obvious choice for the holiday, but it’s definitely worth watching. The full special is available on YouTube, so there’s no excuse not to see it this year. Pass the tradition on to younger relatives; they’ll thank you for it later.

Home for the Holidays

Holly Hunter and Robert Downey Jr. star in Jodie Foster’s second full-length directorial effort. It’s a little-known, yet well done film about family and Thanksgiving.

Grumpy Old Men

You honestly can’t go wrong with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, as fans of “The Odd Couple” will know. While it is not really a family movie, it is hilarious and heartwarming as well as a great way to spend time with your parents and siblings before the actual holiday arrives.

Hannah and Her Sisters

Woody Allen delivers a film about complex family relationships. While it’s not directly about Thanksgiving, it begins and ends during the holiday dinner, following the stereotype of family dysfunction during the season.

Pieces of April


A very low budget film, Pieces of April is a stunning example of less being more. The great performances of the cast, including Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt and Alison Pill, make this movie believeable and emotive.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Steve Martin and John Candy. What more do you want? This is a hilarious movie with a lot of heart. It’s the perfect film for the family to gather around and watch after your feast and the tryptophan starts to kick in.

Now, I promised quality, but if you’re looking for something outside of the traditional genres of comedy or drama, there are several horror films about this holiday.

“ThanksKilling,” (a trilogy) “Blood Freak,” “Home Sweet Home” and “Feast” are all examples, but again, I can’t promise that any of these are of high caliber. Nor would I recommend them as an after dinner activity.

Collegian A&E Writer Aubrey Shanahan can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @aubs926.